Health Literacy Resources
These resources will help you find more information about health literacy.
- America's Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information
This issue brief summarizes key findings and presents some policy implications of the first ever National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL).
- Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion
(Source: Institute of Medicine 2004)
The Institute of Medicine issued its report in 2004 on the body of knowledge that applies to the field of health literacy, and recommended actions to promote a health literate society.
- Roundtable on Health Literacy
(Source: Institute of Medicine 2011)
The mission of the Roundtable is to advance the field of health literacy by translating research findings into practical strategies that can be implemented. To achieve this mission, the Roundtable discusses challenges facing health literacy practice and research, and identifies approaches to promote health literacy in the public and private sectors.
- Funded health literacy research from the National Institutes of Health (2011)
The National Institutes of Health sponsors a health literacy research program announcement. This web page lists the funded research projects.
- Health Literacy Interventions and Outcomes: An Updated Systematic Review
(Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 2011)
This report updates a 2004 systematic review of health care service use and health outcomes related to differences in health literacy level and interventions designed to improve these outcomes for individuals with low health literacy.
- Proceedings of the Surgeon General's Workshop on Improving Health Literacy
(Source: Office of the U.S. Surgeon General 2006)
This report summarizes presentations on the state of the science as of 2006 in the field of health literacy from a variety of perspectives, including those of health care organizations and providers, the research community, and educators.
- PubMed Search
This pre-populated search allows you to see the latest research on health literacy indexed by the National Library of Medicine.
- The Health Literacy of America's Adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy
The Health Literacy of America's Adults is the first release of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) health literacy results. The results are based on assessment tasks designed specifically to measure the health literacy of adults living in the United States.
Special Population Groups
- Improving Health Literacy for Older Adults – Expert Panel Report 2009 [2.4 MB, 56 pages]
This report summarizes the presentations and discussions of an expert panel convened by CDC to address concerns about the barriers for older adults to understand and use health information and to identify opportunities for health professionals to better meet the health communication needs of older adults.
- Developing Materials to Match the Health Literacy Skills of Older Adults
This section will provide tools and resources to help public health professionals improve their communication with older adults by focusing on health literacy issues.
- National Health Education Standards
The National Health Education Standards (NHES) are written expectations for what students should know and be able to do by grades 2, 5, 8, and 12 to promote personal, family, and community health. The standards provide a framework for curriculum development and selection, instruction, and student assessment in health education.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Literacy Web Pages
The commitment of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' to health literacy is evidenced by the various agencies who contribute to the science and practice of health literacy. Links to those agencies' Web site on health literacy are below.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Health Literacy and Cultural Competency
- Food and Drug Administration Strategic Plan for Risk Communication
- Health Resources and Services Administration: Health Literacy
- Indian Health Service: Welcome to Healthcare Communications
- National Institutes of Health: Clear Communication: A NIH Health Literacy Initiative
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, HHS: Health Literacy Improvement
- Office of Minority Health, HHS: Cultural Competence
Links to health literacy activities in countries other than the U.S. and in international organizations are below.
- Canada, The Center for Literacy
- Canadian Public Health Association Health Literacy Portal
- England, Health Literacy Group
- Health Literacy New Zealand
- Ireland, MSD/NALA Health Literacy Initiative
- Maastricht University European Health Literacy Survey
- United Nations Economic and Social Council
- Page last reviewed: August 27, 2012
- Page last updated: February 12, 2014
- Content source:
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