Health Literacy Tips

Health Literacy Workgroup

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Literacy Workgroup is comprised of all operating and most staff divisions under HHS and has met regularly since 2003. The workgroup has built a strong network of staff committed to using the Department’s unique and important position and resources to improve health literacy. In collaboration with constituents throughout the United States, the workgroup developed the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacyexternal icon in 2010.

The workgroup collaborates to ensure that improving health literacy remains a priority for HHSexternal icon. The workgroup strives to:

  • Create understandable and actionable health information
  • Support and facilitate engaged and activated health consumers
  • Refresh the health literacy science base on a regular basis

Recommendations that came out of CDCs Expert Panel on Improving Health Literacy for Older Adults :

  • Using plain language
  • Trying to simplify or bundle messages so that patients do not get overwhelmed
  • Using multiple channels to disseminate information
  • Working on finding ways to bridge the technological gap for older adults
  • Improving websites to make them more user friendly

To help people use the health literacy skills individuals currently have. Public health professionals can:

  • Create and provide information and services people can understand and use most effectively with the skills they have. See Develop and Test Materials.
  • Work with educators and others to help people become more familiar with health information and services and build their health literacy skills over time. See Collaborate.
  • Build our own skills as communicators of health information. See Find Training webpage for free, online options.

For additional information, visit CDC’s webpage on how to improve health literacy.

Page last reviewed: June 16, 2020