Promoting Health Literacy Through Easy-to-Read Materials

MLA Course
Listing Archived: Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Primary contact information...
NNLM SEA, University of Maryland, Baltimore
Health Sciences and Human Services Library
601 W. Lombard St
Baltimore MD , 21201-1512
United States
Terri Ottosen is the primary contact.
Phone: 410-706-2855
Fax: 410-706-0099
Resource URL:
Region: Mid-Atlantic

Description: This class will discuss the basics of health literacy, including practical tips and resources and the frequent disconnect between information providers and information seekers. The success of "plain language" initiatives and the importance of text, type, graphics, "white" space, and layout for maximum readability will be covered. Several tools used to evaluate the readability of print materials and patient literacy levels (e.g., Fry, SMOG, REALM, TOFHLA) will be introduced. Participants will have the opportunity to review print materials and websites for their adherence to easy-to-read principles. Websites developed by the National Library of Medicine and other reputable organizations will be introduced. Participants will be motivated to use health information materials to promote increased levels of health literacy in the populations they serve.

Experience Level: Beginning
CE Contact Hours: 3, 4, or 6
Professional Competencies: Health Sciences Information Services
Subject: Consumer Health
Course Type: Face to Face, e-Learning, Specialization, RML Offerings - Face to Face and Online Class

Educational Objective: At the conclusion of the class, participants will be able to: •Understand various definitions of health literacy and its importance to patient care. •Identify factors which may contribute to low levels of health literacy. •Be aware of the role of cultural competency in health literacy. •Use basic principles of "plain language" to review, evaluate, select, and/or rewrite materials which adhere to easy-to-read principles. •Identify key players in health literacy awareness and advocacy.


Welcome and Introductions - 15 minutes
Agenda - 4 hour class

What is Health Literacy? - 45 minutes
Internet Resources - 45 minutes
Break - 15 minutes
Writing/Examining materials - 45 minutes
Assessment Exercise - 30 minutes
Testing for Readability/Testing Exercise - 30 minutes
Wrap-up/Questions/Evaluations - 15 minutes 

Need for This Course: Health literacy includes not only finding and understanding health information, but acting on that information to make appropriate health decisions. For many who struggle with basic literacy, health-related tasks such as understanding patient care instructions, reading prescription labels, keeping appointments, and signing consent forms become extremely difficult. In addition, low health literacy has very tangible associated costs, including poor disease management, increased percentage of repeat hospital visits, and incorrect medication use.

The instructional methods used include Lecture, Discussion, Hands-on Exercises, and Problem-based.

Participant Materials: Handout of resources covered, copy of PowerPoint presentation, variety of print materials for evaluation purposes

Facility Requirements: Computers (individual, if possible), Internet access, projection screen for instructor

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