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Leaders Talk About Health Literacy

Many people say if only senior leaders would speak up, then we would make progress on improving health literacy. Read what they’re saying about health literacy.

Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., Surgeon General , Vice Admiral (VADM)

	Vice Admiral (VADM) Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A. "Build the Great American Community"
April 22, 2015

"First, we will combat misinformation with clear communication. Whether e-cigarettes or the latest diet fad, marijuana or the measles, we will give the American people the best information so they can make good decisions for their own health."

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, A.B., B.A., Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS)

	Secretary Sylvia Mathews BurwellMinority Health Month: Making Progress on Health Disparities
April 13, 2015

"If we want health equity, we need to make health literacy a priority. That's why HHS has launched a campaign to bring people from "Coverage to Care," to connect people to the care they need; teach them how to understand their benefits and their bills; and give them the tools to make healthier decisions."

Howard Koh, M.D., M.P.H., former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health

Howard Koh, M.D., M.P.H., former U.S. Assistant Secretary of HealthLiteracy to Move Beyond the Cycle of Costly Crisis Care 
Health Literacy Out Loud #77, May 8, 2012

"It was amazing to me as a provider and physician the range of responses I got. Some people had a very clear, scientific understanding of their condition, particularly cancer. Others would go on the internet and read information that was either of high quality or not and come in absolutely terrified. I came to respect that each person is different. Each patient situation is different, and the patient's level of understanding about their options differs greatly as well. This is at the heart of health literacy in my view as a clinician, starting where the patient is and going from there."

Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., former U.S. Surgeon General

	Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A.Improving Health By Improving Health Literacy
Public Health Reports, issue 6, 2010

"As clinicians, what we say does not matter unless our patients are able to understand the information we give them well enough to use it to make good health-care decisions. Otherwise, we didn’t reach them, and that is the same as if we didn’t treat them."

Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., former U.S. Surgeon General

Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., Former U.S. Surgeon GeneralHealth Literacy: A National Priority 
Journal of General Internal Medicine, August 2006

"The poor state of health literacy in America is a crisis. It is an underlying cause of disparities. It is also a source of extensive disempowerment and perpetuates preventable disease."

 

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