Plain Language Materials & Resources
Plain language makes it easier for everyone to understand and use health information. Although plain language is a familiar idea, many organizations don’t use it as often as they should. The Plain Writing Act of 2010external icon requires federal agencies to train staff and use plain language when they communicate with the public.
Plain Language Resources
- Everyday Words for Public Health Communication
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Everyday Words for Public Health Communication offers expert recommendations from CDC’s Health Literacy Council and other agency communicators on how to reduce jargon and replace problematic terms to improve comprehension.
“Everyday Words” provides:
- Substitute terms,
- Real-life examples of difficult public health passages
- Revised wording
- Tips to reinforce meaning and avoid other common pitfalls
- The Federal Plain Language Guidelinesexternal icon
The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) is a community of federal employees dedicated to the idea that citizens deserve clear communications from government. PLAIN developed and continues to revise The Federal Plain Language Guidelines to provide updated advice on clear communication.
- Plain Language at NIHexternal icon
National Institutes of Health
NIH has established the Clear Communication initiative that focuses on achieving health literacy objectives. Their page on plain language has information about training and links to plain language resources.
- Plain Language Planner (PLP-PC)pdf iconexternal icon
The Plain Language Planner© (PLP) is a tool that translates common medical language into plain language. We are currently working on creating a pocket guide for this resource.The PLP© is also integrated into the Health Communication iOS APPexternal icon and includes more resources. We recently updated this resource to include oncology terms, treatment side effects and Spanish translation!
Plain Language Promotional Materials
CDC is committed to plain language communication with the public. We created these posters to remind staff about plain language techniques. You can use these materials or create your own to promote plain language in your organization. You can find many plain language resources on the federal plain language web siteexternal icon.
These materials are sized for 8.5 X 11. If you want a large poster or small postcard size, please contact us.