Health Literacy Resources
These resources will help you find more information about health literacy.
America’s Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Informationexternal icon
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 Confusionexternal icon
(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 Literacyexternal icon
(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 Healthexternal icon (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 Reviewexternal icon
(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 Literacyexternal icon
(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 Searchexternal icon
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 Literacyexternal icon
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 pdf icon[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 Competencyexternal icon
- Food and Drug Administration Strategic Plan for Risk Communicationexternal icon
- Health Resources and Services Administration: Health Literacyexternal icon
- Indian Health Service: Welcome to Healthcare Communicationsexternal icon
- National Institutes of Health: Clear Communication: A NIH Health Literacy Initiativeexternal icon
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, HHS: Health Literacy Improvementexternal icon
- Office of Minority Health, HHS: Cultural Competenceexternal icon
Links to health literacy activities in countries other than the U.S. and in international organizations are below.
- Canada, The Center for Literacyexternal icon
- Canadian Public Health Association Health Literacy Portalexternal icon
- England, Health Literacy Groupexternal icon
- Health Literacy New Zealandexternal icon
- Ireland, MSD/NALA Health Literacy Initiativeexternal icon
- Maastricht University European Health Literacy Surveyexternal icon
- United Nations Economic and Social Councilexternal icon