Guidelines, Laws, & Standards

This page links to guidelines, laws, and standards for health literacy and plain language. You can find information about committees and government agencies in the Organizations & Committees section of Health Literacy Basics.

The following guidance and standards can help you make your health information accurate, accessible, and actionable.

  • Communication Guidance
  • Material Assessment Tools
  • Plain Language Materials & Resources
  • Web Communication Guidance


The Federal Plain Language Guidelines
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 continue to revise The Federal Plain Language Guidelines to provide updated advice on clear communication.


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 2010 requires federal agencies to train staff and use plain language when they communicate with the public.


  • National Health Education Standards
    The Joint Committee on 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.
  • National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards
    Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health
    CLAS Standards can help organizations address the cultural and language differences between the people who provide information and services and the people they serve. The principal standard is to provide effective, equitable, understandable and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy and other communication needs.