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Many organizations and people all have a part to play in improving health literacy in our society.

Training in health literacy, plain language, and culture and communication is essential for anyone working in health information and services. Whether you are new to these topics, need a refresher, or want to train your entire staff, the following courses are a good place to start.

You will also find curricula and materials to help train and educate adults about health, communicating with healthcare professionals, and finding reliable information sources.

Please send your comments and suggestions about other training courses or needs.

Training from CDC

CDC offers five online health literacy courses for health professionals. We recommend that you take the introductory course “Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals” first and “Writing for the Public” second. The other courses can be taken in any order, depending on your interests.  

CDC also offers a consumer and patient communication skill-building module, Good Questions for Good Health. It encourages question-asking and provides strategies for formulating and asking questions before, during, and after medical appointments. The Toolkit includes a presentation, presentation notes, skill building activity, take-home handout, and an evaluation form.

Training from Organizations other than CDC

Culture and Health Literacy Modules

(Source: University of Minnesota School of Public Health 2011)

  • Description: This online course discusses how inequalities in health information contribute to health disparities and what communities can do to close the gap and improve health literacy.
  • Length: Not provided.
  • Continuing Education: Not provided.
  • Cost: Free

Effective Communication Tools for Healthcare Professionals

(Source: Health Resources and Services Administration)

  • Description: The purpose of the course is to improve health care professional’s ability to communicate with patients and overcome barriers that can keep patients from taking their medications properly, unnecessary emergency room visits and hinder full benefit of the quality care you provide. This course also will help you acknowledge cultural diversity, address low health literacy and accommodate low English proficiency.
  • Length: It is estimated to take a total of 5 hours to complete modules 1-5.
  • Continuing Education: Not provided.
  • Cost: Free

Health Literacy and Communication for Health Professionals

(Source: University of Nebraska Medical Center)

  • Description: This inter-professional course will help educate a variety of health professionals about health literacy efforts and improved communication skills. The course consists of 8 modules.
  • Length: 8 weeks of study, 3-6 hours of work per week
  • Continuing Education: Not provided. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.
  • Cost: Free

Health Literacy and Public Health

(Source: New York-New Jersey Public Health Training Center)

  • Description: This training introduces the concept of health literacy, provides strategies for considering literacy when creating public health messages for the general public and provides strategies for considering literacy in direct public health services to the public.
  • Length: Not provided
  • Continuing Education: This training offers 3 Category I CECH in health education; 3 contact hours in nursing continuing education; 3 hours in Category One CME
  • Cost: Free

Health Literacy Workshop

(Source: National Education Association 2001)

  • Description: This online workshop helps educators at all grade levels learn how to build health literacy across curricula areas and where to go for additional training.
  • Length: 1.5 hours
  • Continuing Education: Not provided.
  • Cost: Free

Preventing Adverse Drug Events: Individualizing Glycemic Targets Using Health Literacy Strategies

(Source: HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)

  • Description:  This is an eLearning course that teaches health care providers how to use health literacy strategies to reduce hypoglycemic adverse drug events (ADEs) in patients with diabetes.
  • Length: Not provided
  • Continuing Education: 1.5 CME credits; 1.3 CNE credits; .1 CEU credits; and .1 CPE credits. 
  • Cost: Free

Federal Plain Language Guidelines

(Source: The Plain Language Action and Information Network)

  • Description: These slides offer a self-study option for learning and implementing the Federal Plain Language Guidelines in your work. The five major topics covered are audience, organization, writing principles, writing for the web, and testing techniques.
  • Length: Not provided
  • Continuing Education: Not provided
  • Cost: Free

NIH Plain Language Training

(Source: National Institutes of Health)

  • Description: The NIH offers a free plain language internet-based training that introduces you to the basics of plain language. The goal of this training is to help you learn to organize your ideas, use a clear writing style, and become a more effective communicator.
  • Length: Not provided
  • Continuing Education: Not provided. However, if you are required to complete the training, click on "Login." If you login, you will have an opportunity to print a certificate upon completion.
  • Cost: Free

A Physician's Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care

(Source: HHS Office of Minority Health)

  • Description: This is a self-directed training course for physicians and other health care professionals with a specific interest in cultural competency in the provision of care.
  • Length: Not provided
  • Continuing Education: The training offers a maximum of 9.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits and 9.0 contact hours for nurse practitioners.
  • Cost: Free

Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response

(Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health)

  • Description: This course discusses the behaviors, attitudes, and skills that enable nurses to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.
  • Length: The estimated time to complete this activity is 9.0 hours.
  • Continuing Education: This program is approved for 9.0 contact hours for nurses. For successful completion of this activity and to obtain credit hours, the learner must review the individual modules/content and obtain a minimum passing score of 70%.

Culturally Competent Nursing Care: A Cornerstone of Caring

(Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health)

  • Description: This course discusses the behaviors, attitudes, and skills that enable nurses to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.
  • Length: The estimated time to complete this activity is 9.0 hours.
  • Continuing Education: This program is approved for 9.0 contact hours for nurses. For successful completion of this activity and to obtain credit hours, the learner must review the individual modules/content and obtain a minimum passing score of 70%.
  • Cost: Free

Below you will find curricula and materials not only to help low literacy individuals, but also to help train and educate adults about health, communicating with healthcare professionals, and finding reliable information sources.;

Adult Education Teaching and Training Materials for Health

(Source: National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy 2007)

These materials are designed for adult education teachers and professional development staff. Teaching materials are guides for classroom activities that teachers can use to develop adult students' literacy skills and knowledge of particular content. Training materials are guides for professional development activities, such as study circles, that help teachers develop their own knowledge and skills in a specific area.

An English as a Second Language Health and Wellness Curriculum

(Source: Expecting the best 2009)

Expecting the Best is a program that teaches adults with limited English proficiency about health and wellness through English as a Second Language classes. The program is designed to improve health literacy, functional literacy, and communication skills. It is also expected to strengthen students' ability to seek health care and make sound health-related decisions.

Health Literacy on Wheels

(Source: University of Georgia’s Center for Health and Risk Communication: A National Institute on Aging funded project)

Health Literacy on Wheels is a program that advances interactive health literacy skills in older adults by partnering with Meals on Wheels programs. The toolkit provides materials for implementing the program, including health literacy coach training, videos demonstrating good interactive health literacy skills, print materials such a brochure, notepad, and calendar, as well as an evaluation form.

Helping Older Adults Search for Health Information Online: A Toolkit for Trainers

(Source: National Institute on Aging)

These training materials are designed to help older adults find reliable, up-to-date online health information on their own. The training features three websites from the National Institutes of Health — NIHSeniorHealth.gov, MedlinePlus.gov and Go4Life®. Trainers can use the toolkit with beginning and intermediate students of the Web.

Staying Healthy Curriculum for English Learners and Adult Learners' Handbooks on Women's Health and Coping with Stress

(Source: Florida Literacy Coalition 2010)

Staying Healthy is a curriculum written at a 4th-5th grade reading level and is suitable for high beginning/low intermediate level ESOL learners and above.

World Education Health Literacy Curricula Collection

(Source: World Education)

World Education has collected links to many health literacy curricula for a variety of learners and learning objectives. Two sections include links to curricula for teaching health literacy skills to adult learners and the general public. A third section includes training for literacy and health professionals to better address health literacy in their settings.

 
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