Communication strategies

Practicals ways to clearly communicate your health message.

Online Games and Health Teaching: For People of All Ages, Abilities, and Savvy (HLOL #205)

Nick Bowman Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University. He has published over 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts on the uses and effects of video games and other interactive media. Bowman is the incoming editor of Journal of Media Psychology and completed a Fulbright program in Taiwan studying persuasive applications of virtual reality.

In this podcast, Nick Bowman talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Online games. There are many types–all sharing the basics of rules and goals.
  • People of all ages, abilities, and levels of techno-savvy can benefit from online games. These include managing stress, improving cognitive abilities, and opportunities for interaction and socialization.
  • Games as tools for health communication. Examples include exercise programs, health education, and digital interventions to improve focus and concentration.

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Especially relevant to this podcast is Chapter 36, “Technology: Interactive Media.”

Read the transcript of this podcast

Writing Legal Notices to Help Readers Act in Their Best Interest (HLOL #204)

Barbra Kingsley, PhD is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of the Kingsley-Kleimann Group and Chair of the Center for Plain Language. Barbra Kingsley is an expert in information design and plain language with a deep understanding of how individuals, particularly vulnerable populations, use print and online information. She believes that clear communication not only invites understanding but also breaks down barriers so that all people can thrive.

In this podcast, Barbra Kingsley talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Legal notices and readability. Why contracts, privacy notices, and other such documents can be very hard for most readers to understand and act on.
  • Plain language is more than wording. It also includes a document’s structure, design, and use of numbers.
  • Recommendations about how to create and test plain language materials—even when working with limited time and tight budgets.

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Especially relevant to this podcast is Chapter 28, “Plain Language.”

Read the transcript of this podcast

Health Literacy and Health Equity (HLOL #203)

Janet Ohene-Frempong MS, is a plain language and cross-cultural communications consultant with decades of experience in patient/provider communications. Her accomplishments are many. They include leading workshops, keynoting conferences, writing and editing plain language projects, and consulting with a wide range of clients on health-related topics. Janet Ohene-Frempong has deservedly received numerous accolades and awards for her excellent work.

In this podcast, Janet Ohene-Frempong talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Health literacy is not only about communicating in ways that others can understand but also including skills, actions, and other information to help people stay alive and live as well as possible.
  • Health equity is about giving everyone the same chance regardless of their skin color, money, education, living situation, and other life experiences.
  • Tips and strategies for communicating about health in equitable ways. This goes beyond clarity to include crafting messages with the audience in mind, being nonjudgmental, and considering people’s situational realities. In other words, being “open to their otherness.”

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Especially relevant to this podcast is Chapter 41, “You: Empathy and Humanity.”

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Communicating Complex Health Messages in a Complex World (HLOL #202)

Glen Nowak Ph.D. is Professor of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and Director of the Grady College Center for Health and Risk Communication. Nowak has provided senior-level leadership on communicating about topics that include infectious disease, public health risks, and immunizations for government agencies, public health programs, and research projects. These include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the International Association of National Public Health Institutes. Glen Nowak has also authored, or co-authored. numerous peer-review journal articles.

In this podcast, Glen Nowak talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why it so complicated to communicate public health messages. With issues that include uncertainty, competing priorities, and ever-changing recommendations.
  • Ways to address myths, hype, and hearsay that might conflict with core messages.
  • How to learn about and address the interests and needs of your audience. In other words, “Seeing the world through their eyes.”

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Especially relevant to this podcast is Chapter 13, “Talking with Patients About What They Learn from the Media.”

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Creating Materials to Meet Urgent Health Needs (HLOL #201)

Iris Feinberg, PhD is the Associate Director of the Adult Literacy Research Center at Georgia State University. She is a health literacy researcher and research assistant professor in the Department of Learning Sciences. Dr. Feinberg and a team created the easy-to-read booklet about COVID-19, “Answers to Coronavirus Questions.”

In this podcast, Iris Feinberg talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Communicating about an urgent medical matter in ways that meet the cultural, linguistic, and literacy needs of a very diverse audience.
  • Refuting myths and explaining truths in an era of rampant misinformation.
  • Creating an effective booklet by working closely with the community, using principles of plain language, and incorporating health literacy strategies throughout.

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Especially relevant to this podcast is Chapter 21 that focuses on “Know Your Audience: Literacy.”

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Health Literacy Out Loud: 200 Episodes of Listening & Learning (HLOL #200)

Adam Weiss brings years of experience in podcasting, online video, and live broadcasting with a specific focus on scientific and medical content. He has hosted, launched, or produced podcasts for clients that include the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the American Institute of Physics, and the Western Veterinary Conference. One of his early projects was starting the podcast series for Boston’s Museum of Science.

Adam has been the Health Literacy Out Loud podcast editor since Helen started this series in 2008. In honor of its 200th episode, Helen and Adam discuss:

  • Podcasts keep growing in popularity. Reasons why audio podcasts offer an accessible, affordable, conversational, and convenient way to listen and learn.
  • Health literacy keeps growing, too. How HLOL podcasts have helped raise health literacy awareness and shared strategies to communicate more clearly. This information can benefit professionals, patients, families, and the public.
  • Lessons learned from producing 200 HLOL podcasts. Includes taking a risk to try something new, partnering with others who bring needed skills, identifying what does and doesn’t work, and celebrating success all along the way.

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Especially relevant to this podcast is Chapter 33 that focuses on audio media

Read the transcript of this podcast

Integrating Health Literacy into Clinical Research (HLOL #199)

Sylvia Baedorf Kassis MPH, CYT focuses on many aspects of clinical research. Her work includes understanding the experience of research participants and incorporating their insights into study processes. Among her many accomplishments, Sylvia and her team created a health literacy website especially for clinical research stakeholders. This is part of a larger initiative from the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials (MRCT) Center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard.

In this podcast, Sylvia Baedorf Kassis talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Clinical research and health literacy. Why it is important to consider each of those topics separately as well as look at them together.
  • Challenges faced when communicating with the public or patients about clinical research studies. These challenges include explaining unfamiliar concepts, defining complex terms, and communicating in a range of formats.
  • Tips and recommendations for all listeners who communicate in a variety of ways.

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Chapter 8 is especially relevant to this podcast. It is about decision aids and shared decision-making.

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Patient-Oriented Discharge Summaries: Helping Patients Easily Understand Their Transition from Hospital to Home (HLOL #198)

Shoshana Hahn-Goldberg, PhD is a scientist and project lead at the University Health Network’s OpenLab in Canada. She works with a multi-disciplinary team to discover and create solutions to issues in the health system using techniques that span design, research, and operational modeling. Shoshana Hanh-Goldberg manages the Patient Oriented Discharge Summaries (PODS) project that is being used at over 20 hospitals in Ontario, Canada.

In this podcast, Shoshana Hahn-Goldberg talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • PODS. What this discharge tool is, why it was needed, and how it helps.
  • Creating this form with those it is designed to help. That includes working closely with people who have language barriers and limited health literacy.
  • Using plain language and health literacy principles throughout. That includes a conversational tone, limited number of topics, clear headings, interactive checkboxes, icons, and plenty of space for patients to write notes.
  • Ways to access and adapt PODS for use in your own setting.

More ways to learn:

 

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Chapter 12 is especially relevant to this podcast, “Forms and Other Reading-to-Do Documents.”

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My Life, My Story: An Initiative to Help Tell Each Patient’s Story (HLOL #196)

Susan Nathan, MD is a Geriatrician and Hospice and Palliative Medicine physician at VA Boston Healthcare System. She is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and adjunct Instructor in Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Nathan is the site director for the My Life, My Story Project at VA Boston.

Thor Ringler is a poet and a therapist. He is the national program manager for My Life, My Story and works as a writer-editor at the VA hospital in Madison, WI. Ringler has an MFA in Poetry and an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy.

In this podcast, Susan Nathan and Thor Ringler talk with Helen Osborne about:

  • My Life, My Story. What this initiative is, why it got started, and who is involved.
  • How-to tips to make this happen. Including who does the interview and write-up, how long it takes, and examples of questions to ask.
  • Real-life stories about the impact of this program on providers and veterans.

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Chapters especially relevant to this podcast include “Stories” and “You: Empathy and Humanity.”

Read a transcript of this podcast.

Encouraging Healthy Food Choices with Traffic-Light Labels and Choice Architecture (HLOL #195)

Anne Thorndike MD, MPH is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an internist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Much of her work focuses on individual and population-level behavioral interventions to prevent cardiometabolic disease. Through implementation research, Dr. Thorndike and her team demonstrated the effectiveness of traffic light labels, choice architecture, social norms, and financial incentives to promote healthy food choices in real-life settings, such as worksite cafeterias and supermarkets.

In this podcast, Dr. Thorndike talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • A hospital cafeteria healthy eating program that uses colors, labels, and placement to guide employees, patients, and visitors toward healthier food choices.
  • Research data showing the long-term effectiveness of this program.
  • Lessons learned that can be applied in many settings. These include taking into account many aspects of dietary quality, not just calories. And labeling all foods, not just those that are healthy.

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Chapter 10 is especially relevant to this podcast, “Environment of Care: Entrances, Questions, Signs, and Feng Shui.”

Read a transcript of this podcast

Communicating About Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias (HLOL #193)

Katrien Goethals is Partner at the Institute for the Advancement of Health and Wellbeing: Dementia/Alzheimer’s. She lectures on dementia, facilitates groups for caregivers, and moderates a podcast that is part of a larger project to examine Alzheimer’s and Dementia from a public policy, public relations, and advocacy perspective. In all this work, Goethals brings her perspective as a family member and caregiver and world view from growing up in Belgium.

In this podcast, Helen Osborne talks with Katrien Goethals about:

  • Dementia, a cognitive impairment decline that affects mental functioning. There are many types of dementia that can affect people of all ages.
  • Dementia is a looming, yet under-recognized, public health crisis worldwide. Yet there is no definitive way to prevent or treat dementia.
  • How listeners can help raise awareness, educate, and advocate. Examples from many perspectives including public health, clinical settings, and as family members, caregivers, and friends.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Chapter 19 is especially relevant to this podcast, “Know Your Audience: Emotions and Cognition.”

Read a transcript of this podcast.

PREPARE For Your Care: An Online Tool to Make Medical Decision Making Easier for Patients and Caregivers (HLOL #192)

Rebecca Sudore MD is a geriatrician, palliative medicine physician, and health services researcher. She also is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatrics at UCSF (University of California San Francisco). In addition, Dr. Sudore directs the Vulnerable Populations for Aging Research Core of the UCSF Older Adults Independence (Pepper) Center and co-directs the Innovation and Implementation Center in Aging & Palliative Care. Her research is focused on ways to improve advance care planning and medical decision-making for diverse, vulnerable older adults.

Dr. Rebecca Sudore and her team created PrepareForYourCare.org — an interactive, online advance care planning program to help with this process. In this podcast, she and Helen Osborne talk about:

  • Advance care planning. A process meant to support people at any age or stage of health in understanding their own values and preferences regarding current and future medical care.
  • Examples of problems that often occur along with ways to help patients, caregivers, and families feel more empowered and better able to advocate for themselves and others.
  • prepareforyourcare.orgA free easy-to-read and easy-to-use online tool to help clinicians, community organizations, patients, and caregivers engage in the process of advance care planning. 

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018),by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include 12 (Forms, and Other Reading-To-Do Documents, and 18 (Know Your Audience: Culture and Language).

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Vaccine Literacy (HLOL #189)

Scott Ratzan M.D., M.P.A., M.A., has three decades of pioneering accomplishments in the U.S. and globally in health literacy, health communication, and strategic diplomacy. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives, and serves on the Board of Global Health for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Beyond his many publications and ongoing advocacy, Dr. Ratzan is co-author of the definition of health literacy that was adopted by the US Government and incorporated in the Affordable Care Act. He now taking on the challenge to improve “vaccine literacy.”

In this podcast, Dr. Scott Ratzan talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Vaccine literacy. How it is alike yet differs from health literacy. And why vaccine literacy is needed now.
  • Examples of how vaccine literacy requires a multi-level effort from policy makers and industry leaders, along with caring advocates.
  • Ways we all can help communicate clearly, accurately, and actionably about vaccines.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include 1 (“About Health Literacy”) and 13 (“General Public: Talking With Patients About What They Learn From the Media”).

Read a transcript of this podcast.

Communicating When There Is a Wide Range of Worry (HLOL #185)

Emilie Johnson, MD, MPH, is a pediatric urologist and health services researcher in Chicago, IL. She cares for pediatric urology patients (and their families) at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, and is an Assistant Professor of Urology at Northwestern University. In her practice, Dr. Johnson address the medical and surgical needs of children with a wide range of conditions involving the urinary and genital systems.

In this podcast, Dr. Johnson and Helen Osborne discuss:

  • Communication challenges when a specialist first meets with patients and families about conditions that may or may not be medically concerning.
  • Ways to set a tone of empathy, caring, and respect. One example is inviting patients to share their worries and fears at the beginning of appointments. And only after these are aired, then discussing treatment options and plans.
  • Tools and strategies to increase mutual understanding. These not only include the spoken word but also visuals, diagrams, and primers on terminology.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 5, 8, 17, 24, 41.

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Health Literacy and People Who Are Homeless (HLOL #184)

Samantha Wood devotes herself to serving those who are the most vulnerable and helping them fulfill their life goals. Wood is Senior Housing Stabilization Case Manager at The Haven–a multi-resource day shelter for people who are homeless. The Haven is located in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. Samantha Wood takes pride in serving the area near where she grew up.

In this podcast, Samantha Wood talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Being homeless. What this can be like and why it sometimes happens.
  • The intersection of health issues and people who are homeless.
  • Ways that health systems, clinicians, and others can work with, and walk alongside of, those who are homeless to improve health and health communication.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 5, 19, 24, 41.

Read the transcript of this podcast

Elderspeak (HLOL #182)

Anna I. Corwin Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Saint Mary’s College of California. Trained in Linguistic and Medical Anthropology, Dr. Corwin’s work focuses on understanding how cultural practices and communication shape older individuals’ experiences of their lives, their bodies, and aging.  Much of Dr. Corwin’s research has examined how and why American Catholic nuns age more “successfully” than their lay counterparts, benefitting not only from physical health but also mental and emotional well-being.

In this podcast, Dr. Anna Corwin and Helen Osborne talk about:

  • Elderspeak. Characteristics can include simplified speech and vocabulary, a slower rate, exaggerated intonation, elevated pitch and volume, and collective pronouns. 
  • Why some people use elderspeak. And possible negative outcomes when they do. 
  • Dr. Corwin’s research as a linguistic anthropologist. Stories and lessons learned from her year living with nuns at a Catholic convent.  
  • Examples of effective linguistic tools to try when interacting with people who have aphasia, dementia, or other conditions impeding communication. 

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 11, 14, 19, 22, 24, 31, 41.

Communicating Clearly Takes More Than Simple Words (HLOL #181)

Lauren McCormack PhD, MPSH is Vice President of RTI International’s Public Health Research Division and Adjunct Associate Professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. McCormack’s research bridges the fields of health communication and health policy. It involves developing, testing, and evaluating interventions to promote patient-centered care, patient engagement, and informed decision-making.  An overarching goal is to improve the public’s understanding and use of medical evidence.

In this podcast, Helen Osborne talks with Dr. McCormack about:

  • Helping patients and the public make decisions based on information and evidence. 
  • Targeting, narratives, tailoring, framing, expressing uncertainty, and other communication strategies.
  • Tips for using these strategies in your health related materials. 

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 6, 8, 11, 16, 21, 28.

Read the transcript of this podcast. 

The Opioid Crisis and Health Literacy (HLOL #180)

Alex Hogan is a multimedia journalist at STAT, which is a health and science news site from Boston Globe Media Partners. Hogan produces videos, illustrations and animations with the aim of making often complex topics accessible. In 2017, he produced the short documentary, “Runnin,'” which took an intimate look at the impact of the opioid crisis in his hometown of Somerville, MA.

In this podcast, Alex Hogan talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • The opioid crisis. How it got started, and why it has become such a problem now.
  • The intersection of the opioid crisis, health literacy, and health communication.
  • Ways listeners can help, such as by not using stigmatizing language.

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 13, 31, 36

Read the transcript of this podcast

Plain Language: It’s About Smartening Up, Not Dumbing Down (HLOL #179)

Karen Schriver PhD is President of KSA Communication Design and Research—a Pittsburgh-based consultancy focused on making information clear, compelling, and usable. She helps organizations draw on the latest empirical research so they can write and design more effective people-centered communications. She is a former professor of rhetoric and information design at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Schriver’s book, Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers has been called a landmark in its field. Winner of fourteen international and national awards for her work, Dr. Schriver is writing a new book about ways to reach busy readers through evidence-based information design and plain language.

In this podcast, Dr. Karen Schriver talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Plain language. Includes not only simpler words but also sentence structure, design, and many other ways to help readers find, understand, and use information. 
  • Reluctance and skepticism about plain language (sometimes expressed as concerns about “dumbing down”) from writers and subject-matter experts.
  • Examples and strategies to make a compelling case for using plain language (or, as Helen sometimes calls this approach, “smartening up”).

More Ways to Learn:

  • “Plain Language in the US Gains Momentum: 1940-2015,” by Karen Schriver. Published in IEEE Transactions of Personal Communication, Volume 60, Issue 4. Abstract available at https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8115322/
  • Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers, by Karen Schriver.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1028349.Dynamics_in_Document_Design

For more information, contact Dr. Schriver at kschriver@earthlink.net

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, 21, 28.

Read the transcript of this podcast. 

Visual Metaphors: When Words Alone Are Not Enough (HLOL #178)

Alex Thomas MDand Gary Ashwal MA are co-founders of Booster Shot Media. Alex is a board-certified pediatric allergist/immunologist and a cartoonist/illustrator with more than 20 years’ experience. Gary is a health communication specialist and multimedia producer of healthcare content. With 15+ years of creative partnership, Alex and Gary apply their combined experience to produce comic books, animation, and other visual projects to teach people of all ages about complex health topics.

In this podcast, Helen Osborne talks with Alex Thomas and Gary Ashwal about:

  • Communicating in non-traditional ways as with comics, animation, and whiteboards
  • Examples of using visual metaphors to help explain complex medical concepts
  • Tips for creating and using visual teaching tools in your healthcare practice

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 14, 16, 25, 28, 31, 38, 42

Read this podcast transcript. 

Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science: Using Improv to Communicate with Your Audience in Effective and Engaging Ways (HLOL #176)

The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science is located at Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY. As stated on its website, The Alda Center “empowers scientists and health professionals to communicate complex topics in clear, vivid, and engaging ways.”

Laura Lindenfeld, PhD, is Director of the Alda Center and Professor in Stony Brook’s School of Journalism. As a communication researcher, Lindenfeld helps scientists communicate in direct and engaging ways. Her goal is to advance meaningful, productive interactions with communities, stakeholders, and decision-makers by strengthening linkages between knowledge and action.

Susmita Pati, MD, MPH, is Chief Medical Program Advisor at the Alda Center. She not only is a practicing pediatrician but also a nationally-recognized expert in population health analytics, innovation, and system transformation. Pati knows well how important clear communication is to everyone in healthcare including patients, parents, physicians, and other clinicians.

In this podcast, Helen Osborne talks with Laura Lindenfeld and Susmita Pati about:

  • Alan Alda, and why he founded The Center for Communicating Science.
  • What improv is. And how this acting technique can help scientists and health professionals better communicate spoken and written messages.
  • How empathy, listening, sharing stories, being fully present, and other such skills help build connections with colleagues and the audience.
  • Ways these skills also help professionals rediscover their passion for this work.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 11, 13, 24, 31, 41

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Making Lab Test Results More Meaningful (HLOL #175)

Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, Ph.D.is Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education and Research Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He also is Associate Director of University of Michigan’s Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine. Trained in decision psychology and behavioral economics, Dr. Zikmund-Fisher designs and evaluates novel communication methods to make health data more intuitively meaningful, studies the effects of poor numeracy on the public’s use of health data, and explores the power of narratives in health communications. He developed and teaches graduate courses in health risk communication and designing memorable (“sticky”) health messages.

In this podcast, Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher talk with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why it is important that patients understand lab test results. And why this is so hard for many people to do.
  • How visual cues such as number lines, ranges of relevant values, colors, and harm anchors (with simple words) can help patients not only understand lab results but also figure out what, if any, actions to take.
  • Takeaways from this research that clinicians can use in everyday practice.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 6, 8, 9, 12, 26, 37, 38

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Dream Big: Making a Health Literacy Difference Within an Organization and Beyond (HLOL #174)

Laurie Myers is the Global Health Literacy Director for Merck & Co, Inc. In this role, Myers leads the company’s health literacy efforts globally. Her leadership has helped to improve patient communications in medication labeling, packaging, clinical trial materials, lay summaries, patient education, and more. Myers presents this work at conferences around the world and has authored numerous papers about these accomplishments.

In this podcast, Laurie Myers talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • A commitment to health literacy that originated with professional training, personal experience, and opportunity. And why a passion for this topic continues years later.
  • Advocacy from leaders, lawyers, and colleagues to initiate and implement health literacy programs.
  • Building on success within a large organization to making a difference worldwide.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 1, 4, 8, 27

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Talking About Ticks and Other Environmental Health Concerns. (HLOL #173)

Aaron Frechette’s background is in journalism. Starting as a teenager, Frechette has worked in both radio and newspaper as a reporter and editor. He also is experienced in facilitating public forums about issues that affect the community. Frechette now brings this wide array of communication skills to his work at the Rhode Island Department of Health. In this podcast, Aaron Frechette speaks for himself and his views do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.

In this podcast, Aaron Frechette talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why it’s important to talk with the public about ticks and other environmental concerns. And reasons that doing so can be difficult.
  • Effective strategies to communicate environmental health messages–even when the science is hard to understand, issues may be controversial, and resources are limited.
  • Resources to share, build upon, and use in collaboration.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 13, 27

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Digital Content Strategy: Being Agile When Communicating About Health (HLOL #172)

Leigh Curtin-Wilding, MSc is a content author, strategist, storyteller, and marketing communication professional. Her passion is making health information usable and meaningful for today’s consumer. Leigh serves as director of, and teaches at, Boston University’s online graduate program in Health Communication.

In this podcast, Leigh Curtin-Wilding talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Being agile in health communication, prepared to adapt content to changing conditions, policies, and formats.
  • Understanding the user’s journey that includes actions, emotions, and how they access information.
  • Tips for effective communication including understanding the audience, chunking information, having short bursts of information, and using visuals and good design.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 34, 35, 36, 39

Read the transcript of this podcast. 

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