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Goal 7: Increase the Dissemination and Use of Evidence-Based Health Literacy Practices and Interventions

Why this goal is important:

Advances in health care are limited by a failure to translate research findings into practice. Original research may take as long as one or two decades to be put into routine clinical practice. Increasing health literacy research is not enough—especially if the research is not used to create evidence-based interventions or the interventions are not widely disseminated to organizations, professionals, and consumers. The disciplines of communication and social marketing could make significant contributions to shaping research and practice on dissemination activities. The strategies and resources below will help achieve this goal.

For more information, please review the complete text of Goal 7 [PDF - 666KB] in the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. See: Section 3, Goal 7.

Strategies by Stakeholders:

Strategies for Researchers, Academic Organizations and Journals, and Health Information and Library Professionals

  • Actively engage practitioners, community members, consumers, and policymakers in the research process
  • Use participatory approaches to help shape research questions and ensure greater relevance, credibility, and implementation
  • Use a variety of channels and formats to disseminate evidence-based research findings that are appropriate to the target audiences, including health professionals and adult educators
  • Consider developing a health literacy Web site
  • Emphasize dissemination as an essential step in the scientific process and a fundamental part of public health principles
  • Explore new mechanisms to pull together and share data and research findings as they become available
  • Speed dissemination of results of health literacy research to practitioners, communities, policymakers, and researchers in other disciplines
  • Report on findings, such as conditions when evidence-based practices did not work in specific situations or populations
  • Collaborate to develop and disseminate trade and consumer pieces to accompany scientific articles

Strategies for Professional Associations, Advocacy Groups, and Funders

  • Increase funding for dissemination and implementation research of evidence-based health literacy interventions
  • Increase resources for technical assistance, training, and time for researchers, grantees, and health care providers to build the capacity to disseminate and implement evidence-based interventions
  • Provide access to evidence-based information and tools about interventions
  • Develop guidance on how to change practice as a result of research findings
  • Support networks of researchers and practitioners to facilitate learning and changes in practices
  • Encourage members and researchers to report on gaps in evidence-based practices and interventions that did not work in practice
  • Require strategic dissemination plans that go beyond publishing in academic journals


Available Resources for

Researchers, Organizations, Journals, and Health Information and Library Professionals:

Professional Associations, Advocacy Groups, and Funders:

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  • Page last reviewed: May 24, 2011
  • Page last updated: May 24, 2011 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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