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Bridging the Health Literacy Gap Posts

Plain Language is Essential in Public Health Emergencies

This week, Dagny Olivares from CDC’s Emergency Communication team blogs about plain language and public health emergencies. September is National Preparedness Month. Across the country, it’s a time to take stock of how prepared we are to withstand and respond to emergency situations that affect us, our families, and our communities. At CDC, we make Read More >

Posted on by Cynthia Baur5 Comments

Clear, Main Messages – We all Need One

The main message of this week’s post is that every health material needs a clear, main message. The power of a main message is that your readers or listeners can almost immediately say, I know what this is about. When you state your main message clearly AND put it at the beginning, you help your Read More >

Posted on by Cynthia Baur3 Comments

Health Literacy Basics: Who is the Audience and What is the Purpose?

In his book The Checklist Manifesto, Dr. Atul Gawande argues that people, even experts, often skip basic, critical steps that can determine success or failure in a project or task. He proposes that people use checklists to increase the accuracy and consistency of their performance.  Checklists draw our attention to all the elements in a Read More >

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Health Literacy Sessions at National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media

This week marks the Sixth National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media in Atlanta, Georgia. Each August, health communicators, educators, social marketers, media specialists, and other public health professionals discuss the state of the science in communicating about health.   Once again, the conference includes a 3.5 hour workshop on health literacy as part Read More >

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Health Literacy Outcomes and Public Health

How do we know that focusing on health literacy makes a difference?  The passing of Len Doak, co-author of the classic text Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills, places this question in a personal context. The question is also relevant for health research, evaluation and policy. Policymakers, managers, project funders, and professional and administrative staff Read More >

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Task and Structural Analysis of Print Materials

Last week’s blog post discussed insights that connect web usability testing to the challenges people face with health literacy tasks. Finding health information or using health services are some examples.  In web usability testing, end users try to complete standard tasks. Their successes and failures inform changes to the web site. The idea that people Read More >

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Why Usability Matters to Health Literacy

If you want to address limited health literacy and haven’t made Jakob Nielsen’s periodic reports on usability a regular read yet, you should. Usability methods place the person who needs to complete a task or use a product at the center of the design and testing process. Health literacy is also about how people complete Read More >

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Plain Language Policies Can Generate Organizational Changes

How many of you work in organizations that have plain language policies? If you work for a federal executive branch agency, the Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires you to use plain language in public communication.  The law says that federal agencies must train their staff in plain language and report annually on plain language Read More >

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Attributes of Health Literate Organizations Describe How Organizations Should Provide Health Information and Services

Welcome to a re-launch of the CDC Health Literacy blog. The blog is a forum for news, activities and research relevant to health literacy and public health. We aim for weekly posts to keep the information current.   A new contribution to the health literacy field is the Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Read More >

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Anniversary of the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy

Today is one year and one month after the public release of the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. The Health Literacy Workgroup at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sponsored the Action Plan, and we have spent the last year promoting it as a strategic planning tool. The plan has Read More >

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