Helping Others Understand Health Messages (HLOL #56)

Lisa M. Schwartz, MD, M.S., and Steven Woloshin, MD, MS, are general internists at the White River Junction Veterans Administration Medical Center in Vermont. They also are professors of medicine, and community and family medicine, at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire.

Together, they are working to address two important barriers to health communication: 1) many patients and providers are limited in their ability to interpret medical data, and 2) health messages are often exaggerated or incomplete. Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Woloshin have written extensively on this topic and are co-authors of several books including Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics and Overdiagnosed.

In this podcast, they talk with Helen Osborne about:

  • Health statistics, health messages, and health claims. Helping people make sense of what they hear on the news, see on TV, and read in the ads.
  • Three questions to help others better understand health messages.
  • Ways to communicate complicated health messages more simply and clearly.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Woloshin S, Schwartz LM, Welch HG, Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics. University of California Press, 2008. (The book can be downloaded for free from http://www.jameslindlibrary.org/testing-treatments.html
  • Welch HG, Schwartz LM, Woloshin, Overdiagnosed. Beacon Press, 2011.
  • S Woloshin, LM Schwartz, BS Kramer. “Promoting health skepticism in the news: Helping journalists get it right,” J Natl Cancer Institute 101(23): 1596–1599.
  • “Healthy Skepticism,” White River Junction Outcomes Group. Available at http://www.vaoutcomes.org/washpost.php
  • Osborne H, “In Other Words…Working With Numbers,” On Call magazine, June/July 2004. Available at http://healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=3745

Blogging to Communicate the Experience of Illness (HLOL #53)

Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, is the founder and president of Stress Resources based in Concord, Massachusetts. She specializes in stress management, health communication, and holistic healthcare. Pam is an early adopter of social media, especially using it as a tool of health communication. Her graduate research looks at the experience of illness through patient blogging and the use of social media as a means to increase patient engagement.

In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • What blogging is and why it matters to both patients and providers.
  • Ways that blogging reflects the experience of illness and fosters resilience.
  • Practical strategies and resources for those new to blogging.

More Ways to Learn:

There are many ways to contact Pam and learn about her work:

Blogging references and examples include:

Communicating about Health with Older Adults (HLOL #50)

Carolyn Ijams Speros DNSc, FNP-BC, is a nationally recognized expert in nursing and patient education. Throughout her career, she has worked in nursing education, nursing administration, and advanced nursing practice with a focus on systems and strategies in nursing that promote patient education and health literacy. Dr. Speros is Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Memphis and also maintains a practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about communicating with older adults. Topics include:

  • Special learning needs of older adults due to cognitive, psychological, and physical changes associated with aging.
  • Strategies to communicate effectively, even when there is limited time.
  • Respectful ways to assess and confirm that information is understood.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Dr. Carolyn Speros is Associate Professor at the University of Memphis Loewenberg School of Nursing. You can email her directly at csperos@memphis.edu
  • Speros CI, “More than Words: Promoting Health Literacy in Older Adults,” The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. 2009; 14(3). Available at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/717469
  • Speros CI, “Health Literacy: Concept Analysis,” Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2005; 50(6), 633-640.
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective. Part 9: Material for older adults. Available at http://www.cms.gov/WrittenMaterialsToolkit/11_ToolkitPart09.asp#TopOfPage
  • Knowles M, 1990. The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species, 4th ed. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company.
  • Knowles M, 1980. The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Cambridge Adult Education.
  • Osborne H (host), Stuen C (guest), September 8, 2009. Health Literacy Out Loud Podcast #21: Age-Related Vision Loss. Available at http://www.healthliteracyoutloud.com/2009/09/08/hlol-21-age-related-vision-loss/
  • Osborne H, 2005. Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Jones & Bartlett: Sudbury, MA.

Click here for a transcript of this podcast.

Decision Support for Patients Making Life-Changing Choices (HLOL #49)

Jeff Belkora PhD is a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). There he runs the Medical Center’s Decision Services program, helping patients weigh the risks and benefits of their treatment options. Belkora also consults with outside organizations about decision support for patients making life-changing choices. In all this work, Belkora’s focus is on leadership, teamwork, and decision-making.

In this podcast, he talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • How decision support helps patients reflect critically on life-changing choices.
  • Strategies and systems to help patients understand decisions and communicate effectively.
  • Lessons learned that listeners can use in day-to-day practice.

More Ways to Learn:

Using Advertising Principles in Public Health Campaigns (HLOL #48)

Michael Mackert PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Advertising at The University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on using traditional and new digital media to provide health education to audiences of all levels, interests, and familiarity with health. Mackert is an advocate of using advertising principles in public health campaigns. In this podcast, he talks about:

  • Advertising and public health campaigns. How these strategies are alike and how they differ.
  • Ways to use social media and traditional press to promote your public health message.
  • Stories, examples, and practical suggestions you can use right away.

More Ways to Learn:

Universal Design and Health Communication (HLOL #46)

Valerie Fletcher is Executive Director of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD) —a non-profit international educational and design company based in Boston, MA. In this work, she oversees a wide range of projects focused on making the world and the web inclusive and accessible to all.

Valerie started as a textile designer, creating clothing for women as they age. She now applies design principles to physical spaces as well as to communication, information, policies, and attitudes. Valerie’s focus is international, serving as an advisor to the Singapore government as well as to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • What is universal design? How does it apply to health communication?
  • How universal design helps people of all functional limitations, not just those with disabilities.
  • Practical strategies to improve health communication in person, in print, and on the web.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Valerie Fletcher is the Executive Director of the Institute for Human-Centered Design in Boston, MA. You can email her directly at vfletcher@HumanCenteredDesign.org
  • Institute for Human-Centered Design, www.humancentereddesign.org
  • Bright, Keith and Geoffrey Cook. The Colour, Light and Contrast Manual: Designing and Managing Inclusive Built Environments. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
  • Keates, Simeon and Clarkson, J. Countering Design Exclusion: An Introduction to Inclusive Design.  London: Springer – Verlag, 2003.
  • Norman, Donald A. The Design of Everyday Things. New York: Basic Books, 2002.
  • Preiser, Wolfgang, Editor in Chief; Korydon Smith, Senior Editor. Universal Design Handbook, 2nd Edition. Columbus, OH: McGraw Hill, 2010.
  • Osborne H, “In Other Words…Communicating Across a Life Span…Universal Design in Print and Web-based Communication, On Call magazine, January 2001. Available at http://healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=3812
  • World Wide Web Accessibility Initiative, http://www.w3.org/WAI/

Click here for a transcript of this podcast.

Interactive Multimedia in Health Education (HLOL #45)

Karen Baker is Senior Vice President for Consumer Experience at Healthwise–a non-profit health communications company based in Boise, Idaho. As a team, Healthwise developed an interactive multimedia educational series called “Conversations.”

“Conversation on Dealing With Low Back Pain” recently received a top award for outstanding communication from the Center for Plain Language. Baker talks about the process that Healthwise used to develop, test, and implement this interactive, innovative educational tool.

Topics include:

  • How interactive multimedia can help people learn about their health.
  • Communicating important messages with metaphors, characterization, graphics, humor, and other creative strategies.
  • Working as a team to create, test, and implement innovative projects.
  • Lessons learned that listeners can use in day-to-day practice.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Numeracy: Helping Patients Understand Numeric Concepts (HLOL #38)

Andrea J. Apter, MD, MA, MSc is a practicing physician and Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Her specialty is treating patients diagnosed with asthma. Before she was a doctor, Apter was a math teacher who worked with students from 6th grade on.

Both as a doctor and as a teacher, Apter knows the challenges of communicating numeric concepts in health education. To help, she along with collaborators, have proposed a model to make this task easier for all.

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

  • Why numeracy matters in healthcare and preventive medicine.
  • Strategies to improve understanding that givers and receivers of health information can use today.
  • Thoughts about long-term solutions & need for health numeracy research.

More ways to learn:

  • Apter AJ et al (2008), “Numeracy and Communication with Patients: They Are Counting on Us,” Journal of General Internal Medicine 23(12):2117-24.
  • Apter AJ et al (2009), “Linking numeracy and asthma-related quality of life,” Patient Education and Counseling 75: 386-391.
  • Apter AJ et al (2006), “Asthma Numeracy Skill and Health Literacy,” Journal of Asthma, 43:705-710.
  • Golbeck AL, Ahlers-Schmidt CR, Paschal AM, and Dismuke SE (2005), “A Definition and Operational Framework for Health Numeracy,” American Journal of Preventative Medicine 29(4):375-376.
  • Osborne H, (2007) “In Other Words…Health Numeracy: How Do Patients Handle the Concept of Quantity When It Relates to Their Health?” On Call Magazine, http://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=6509
  • Osborne H, (2004) “In Other Words…Working With Numbers,” On Call Magazinehttp://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=3745
  • Osborne H, (2004) Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett. http://www.jblearning.com/catalog/0763745502

Click here for a transcript of this episode: [Read more…]

Folktales as Tools for Healing (HLOL #37)

Wendy Welch PhD is a folklorist and storyteller. She is on the faculty of the Healthy Appalachia Institute and teaches Cultural Studies at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Wendy has served on the Board of Directors for the US National Storytelling Network and was on the National Storytelling Board in the UK.

Beyond these many professional achievements, Wendy co-owns a used bookstore, tours as storytelling performer and instructor, and is an accomplished craftswoman. In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about using folktales, personal stories, fairy tales, and urban legends as tools for healing. Topics include:

  • Using folktales with people of all ages, abilities, and cultures.
  • Using folktales to motivate behavior change.
  • Using folktales in community based participatory research.
  • Using folktales in your practice and getting more involved with research.

More ways to learn:

  • Wendy Welch welcomes hearing your story about using folktales as tools for healing. You can email Wendy directly at wow6n@uvawise.edu
  • Healthy Appalachia Institute, http://www.uvawise.edu/health
  • National Storytelling Network, http://www.storynet.org
  • Osborne, H “In other words…Tools of change: Telling and listening to stories,” On Call magazine, October 16, 2008. Available at http://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=8051
  • Pantheon and Dolch are publishing houses that do and did (respectively) collections of fairy tales and multicultural folktales. Welch advises that if you find collections from either publisher (at a second-hand bookstore, perhaps) then you can rest assured they will be good.

The Healing Power of Humor & Play (HLOL #36)

Izzy Gesell M.ED, CSP knows a lot about the healing power of humor and play. With degrees in psychology and education, Izzy brings energy and joy to all he does – whether he’s working as a special education teacher, a stand-up comic, or an organizational consultant.

Izzy not only is funny in his own right but also teaches others how to use humor and play. He is the author of numerous publications including Playing Along: Group Learning Activities Borrowed From Improvisation Theater and Cancer and the Healing Power of Play.

In this podcast, Izzy talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • How humor & play can add positive energy, build bridges, and create bonds.
  • Knowing when, and when not, to use humor in health communication.
  • Being humorous, even when you think you’re not funny.

More Ways to Learn:

Talking about Interactive Health Literacy & Oral Communication (HLOL #35)

Donald Rubin, PhD is Emeritus Professor of Speech Communication, of Language & Literacy Education, and of Linguistics at the University of Georgia. He is also senior researcher at that institution’s Center for Health and Risk Communication.

Much of Dr. Rubin’s work focuses on assessment, training, and analysis of oral communication, including listenability. His current research looks at 1) health literacy and health communication message design, 2) public health workforce development in communication to reduce health disparities, and 3) assessment of language proficiency among non-native speakers of English.

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

  • Interactive health literacy. How do written and spoken communication differ?
  • The communication environment. How physical and linguistic aspects affect communication.
  • Older adults. A research study about their distinct communication needs.
  • Practical strategies. How all health professionals can invite patients/consumers to participate verbally in their health care encounters.

More ways to learn:

Click here for a transcript of this episode: [Read more…]

Creating Usable, Useful Health Websites for Readers at All Levels (HLOL #34)

Stacy Robison MPH, CHES is co-founder of CommunicateHealth — a consulting company based in Northampton, Massachusetts. As a certified health educator, Stacy uses plain language to meet the learning needs of audiences with limited health literacy skills.

For the past three years, Stacy has been writing and designing health content for Quick Guide to Healthy Living — part of the award-winning healthfinder.gov Web site from the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. This site has been tested and developed with close to 800 Web users, most of whom have limited health literacy skills.

In this podcast, Stacy Robison talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • How people with limited literacy skills, health literacy skills, or limited time use online health information.
  • What is different when communicating about wellness and prevention (health promotion) v. communicating about diagnosis and treatment (health care).
  • Ways to design health content so that Web users can, and will, take action.

More ways to learn:

Click here to read a transcript of this episode: http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=11757

Social Media & Health Literacy (HLOL #33)

Lee Aase is manager of Syndication and Social Media for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. There, he works with a team to develop medical news for the mainstream media. He also uses social media to create in-depth and extended relationships with key stakeholders.

When not working at his “day job,” Lee is the Chancellor of Social Media University Global (SMUG) — a free online resource he created to provide practical, hands-on training in social media for lifelong learners. In all situations, Lee makes it his personal mission is to help people get comfortable with social media.

In this podcast, Lee Aase talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • “Social media pyramid” of: Twitter and micro-blogs; Facebook and other networking sites; Web audio (podcasts) and video (YouTube); Blogs.
  • How newcomers can get started and why they should.
  • Examples of using social media to communicate about health.

Ways to learn more:

Making a Business Case to Move Health Literacy Forward (HLOL #30)

David Walsh is a principal in the consulting firm, SmartLaunch based in Havertown, PA. With expertise in strategic and business planning, marketing and financial management, Walsh helps non-profit and for-profit businesses manage change, maximize opportunities, and launch new ventures.

Walsh recently helped develop a business case for Health Literacy Missouri and worked to launch them as a new, independent non-profit business entity. In this podcast, he talks with Helen Osborne about the importance of using proven business principles to move health literacy forward. Topics include:

  • Knowing why you need to make a business case for health literacy
  • Using the language of business (key terms and acronyms)
  • Creating a workable and measurable business plan
  • Understanding business drivers, goals, and the importance of focus

More Ways to Learn:

Click here to read the written transcript of this podcast. [Read more…]

Using Design to Get Readers to Read and Keep Reading (HLOL #29)

Karen Karen SchriverSchriver, PhD is President of KSA Communication Design and Research, a consultancy located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is former professor of rhetoric and information design at Carnegie Mellon University where she co-directed the graduate programs in professional writing and information design.

Dr. Schriver’s first book, Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers—now in its 9th printing—is regarded as an essential text in its field. Winner of ten national awards for her work, Schriver is writing two new books: the first on developing expertise in information design, and the second on visual and verbal design moves to engage readers online.

In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about using good information design to get readers to read, and keep reading. Topics include:

  • Using good information design to help readers feel valued and respected
  • Being a visual detective, observing what works and what doesn’t
  • Engaging readers with contrast, consistency, grouping, and other design moves

More Ways to Learn:

Read a transcript of this podcast

 

Teaching & Singing About Health in South Africa (HLOL #25)

On a recent trip to Indermark (a village in Northern South Africa), I was privileged to talk with a group of community healthcare workers. They shared ways of teaching about health and nutrition. Two workers sang health songs they wrote. In this podcast you will hear them sing these songs in English, Zulu, and the native language Sepedi.

Here are photos of them listening to this recording:
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Age-Related Vision Loss (HLOL #21)

Cynthia StuenCynthia Stuen, PhD/DSW is Senior Vice President for Policy and Evaluation at Lighthouse International, headquartered in New York City. She advocates for policy at the national, state and local level while maintaining involvement in international efforts to preserve sight and prevent excess disability resulting from vision impairment.

Dr. Stuen’s entire career has been in the field of aging and she currently is Chair of the American Society on Aging. She is the author of numerous publications on topics that include age-related sensory loss, access to environments for older adults with impaired vision, and contributions older adults and their family and friends can make to program planning and service delivery.

In this podcast Dr. Stuen talks with Helen Osborne about age-related vision loss. Topics include:

  • The continuum of vision as people age
  • How to know when someone has vision loss (but doesn’t say so)
  • Ways to communicate effectively in print and on the web

More Ways to Learn:

  • Lighthouse International is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to fighting vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment. Available at http://lighthouse.org
  • Making Text Legible: Designing for People with Partial Sight. Includes guidelines and examples of effective legibility choices for anyone. Available by the Lighthouse International at www.lighthouse.org/accessibility/legible
  • Effective Color Contrast: Designing for People with Partial Sight and Color Deficiencies. Guidelines and specific examples of effective color contrast. Available from Lighthouse International at www.lighthouse.org/accessibility/effective-color-contrast
  • Making Your Web Site Senior Friendly is an informative checklist Web designers can use while creating online material for older adults. Published by the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine, it is available at www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/checklist.pdf
  • Making Web Sites More Accessible for Users Who Are Older and/or Have a Disability. Sponsored by the U.S. Administration on aging, this website includes background information on visual disabilities and offers strategies for improving accessibility. Available at www.adrc-tae.org/tiki-index.php?page=TAEIssueBriefs
  • LowBrowseTM is a free add-on extension to the Mozilla Firefox web browser to help people with low vision access the web.  www.lowbrowse.org or email lowbrowse@lighthouse.org.
  • Osborne, H. On Call Magazine, 2000. “In Other Words…When Vision Is an Issue…Communicating With Patients Who Are Visually Impaired” Offers practical tips for designing materials for people with visual challenges. Available at www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=3774
  • Worldwide Web Consortium. Available at http://www.w3.org

Communicating Clearly on the Web (HLOL #19)

Janice (Ginny) Redish, Ph.D. is president of Redish & Associates, Inc. based in Bethesda, Maryland. In this work, Ginny helps government agencies and private companies create successful web sites through training and consultation on plain language and usability. Among her many accomplishments, Ginny helped develop the federal website www.usability.gov – a guide for developing usable and useful websites.

Ginny has won many awards for her work and is the author of numerous publications on usability, task analysis, accessibility, document design, plain language, and writing for the web. Her latest is the widely-acclaimed book, Letting Go of the Words – Writing Web Content that Works.

In this podcast she talks with Helen Osborne about ways to communicate clearly on the Web. Topics include:

  • Writing for print or the web. What’s the difference? How are they the same?
  • Appreciating that every web use is a conversation started by the site visitor.
  • Understanding your web visitors by thinking of “personas.”
  • Applying principles of plain language to health websites.
  • Using usability testing to measure how well your website works.

More Ways to Learn

About plain language: www.plainlanguage.gov & www.centerforplainlanguage.org

About usability: www.usability.gov & www.usabilityprofessionals.org

Developing Healthcare Materials With and For Village Health Workers (HLOL #18)

Curt Wands-Bourdoiseau is a physician assistant who has worked in free and community clinics across the United States. He has also trained village health workers in rural, isolated and conflict zones in Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia. Curt now works at the Hesperian Foundation in Berkeley, CA – serving as the project manager for the first major rewrite of the internationally renowned village health worker training book, Where There Is No Doctor.

In this podcast, he talks with Helen Osborne about developing healthcare materials with and for village health workers. Topics include:

  • Overview about the Hesperian Foundation
  • About Hesperian’s books, including Where There Is No Doctor
  • Materials development process using the participatory model
  • Lessons learned and shared with the health literacy community

Ways to Learn More:

Hesperian Foundation (English): http://www.hesperian.org
Hesperian Foundation (Spanish): http://espanol.hesperian.org

Terry Davis Talks About “Baby Steps,” Action Planning (HLOL #16)

Terry C. Davis, Ph.D is a pioneer in the field of health literacy. She is Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, LA (LSUHSC-S), where she also heads the Behavioral Science Unit of the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center. She has won awards for her accomplishments and published more than ninety articles and book chapters related to health literacy, health communication, and preventive medicine.

Dr. Davis’s many health literacy accomplishments include: developing the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM); chairing Louisiana’s statewide Health Literacy Task Force; serving as master faculty of the AMA’s Train-the-Trainer Health Literacy Curriculum; and participating as a member of the Healthy People 2010 Health Literacy/Health Communication Section, and the FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee.

In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about helping patients take “baby steps” (action planning). Topics include:

  • What baby steps are and why they are needed in healthcare today
  • How baby steps help in the management of chronic disease
  • Ways to build baby steps into your healthcare practice


Ready, Set, Action Plan
Lorig, Bodenheimer

More ways to learn:

  • American College of Physicians (ACP) Foundation, Living with Diabetes: An Everyday Guide for You and Your Family. To learn more and order copies, go to http://foundation.acponline.org/hl/diabguide.htm
  • Bodenheimer T. “Coordinating care–a perilous journey through the health care system.” N Engl J Med 2008;358(10):1064-71.
  • Bodenheimer T, Davis C, Holman H. “Helping patients adopt healthier behaviors.” Clinical Diabetes 2007;25(2):66-70.
  • DeWalt DA, Davis TC, Wallace AS, Seligman HK, Bryant-Shilliday B, Arnold CL, Freburger J, Schillinger D. “Goal setting in diabetes self-management: taking the baby steps to success.” Patient Education and Counseling, April 7, 2009, PMID: 19359123.
  • Handley M, MacGregor K, Schillinger D, Sharifi C, Wong S, Bodenheimer T. “Using Action Plans to Help Primary Care Patients Adopt Healthy Behaviors: A Descriptive Study.” J Am Board Fam Med 2006;19(3):224-31.
  • Lorig K. “Action Planning: A Call To Action.” J Am Board Fam Med 2006;19(3):324-5.
  • Lorig, Bodenheimer. Ready, Set, Action Plan. 5 minute instructional video for providers and health educators.  The video demonstrates an easy, brief method for helping 3 patients create small achievable action plans. http://foundation.acponline.org/images/diabetes_dvd.wmv
  • MacGregor K, Wong S, Sharifi C, Handley M, Bodenheimer T. “The action plan project: discussing behavior change in the primary care visit.” Ann Fam Med 2005;3 Suppl 2:S39-40.
  • MacGregor K, Handley M, Wong S, et al. “Behavior-Change Action Plans in Primary Care: A Feasibility Study of Clinicians.” J Am Board Fam Med 2006;19(3):215-23.
  • Osborne H, “In other words…How to help patients manage their action planning.” On Call magazine, June 26, 2007. Available online at http://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=6111
  • Seligman HK, Wallace AS, DeWalt DA, et al. “Developing low-literacy patient educational materials to facilitate behavior change.” American Journal of Health Behavior 2007;31(Suppl 1):S69-78.
  • Seligman HK, Wallace AS, DeWalt DA, Schillinger D, Arnold CL, Shilliday BB, Wallace AS, Seligman HK, Davis TC, Schillinger D, Arnold CL, Bryant-Shilliday B, Freburger JK, DeWalt DA. “Literacy appropriate educational materials and brief counseling improves diabetes self-management.” Patient Education and Counseling. 2009.

Dr. Rima Rudd Talks About the Health Literacy Burden in Healthcare (HLOL #15)

Dr. Rima Rudd is Senior Lecturer on Society, Human Development, and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her work centers on health communication and the design and evaluation of public health programs. She teaches courses on innovative strategies in health education, program planning and evaluation, and health literacy.

Dr. Rudd is widely recognized as a leader in health literacy – helping to shape both the research and practice agenda in the US, Canada, and Europe. Dr. Rudd works closely with the adult education, public health, oral health, and medical sectors. Her current research looks at literacy-related disparities and literacy-related barriers to health programs, services, and care. Her Harvard website on health literacy serves scholars and practitioners.

In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about the health literacy burden in healthcare. Topics include:

  • Literacy-related disparities and barriers as they relate to healthcare
  • Deconstructing healthcare language, instructions, and activities
  • Literacy demands in chronic disease management, prevention, and navigation
  • Why it’s time to reconsider the definition of health literacy

More Ways to Learn:

  • Harvard School of Public Health, Health Literacy Studies. www.hsph.harvard.edu/healthliteracy
  • Communicating Health: Priorities and Strategies for Progress (2003), US Department of Health and Human Services & Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.  Dr. Rudd wrote the chapter about health literacy. Available at http://odphp.osophs.dhhs.gov/projects/healthcomm/
  • Literacy and Health in America (2004), Educational Testing Services. Dr. Rudd is one of the authors. Available at http://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/PICHEATH.pdf
  • National Center for the Study of Adult Literacy and Learning (NCSALL), http://www.ncsall.net
  • Nielsen-Bohlman L, Panzer AM, Kindig DA, (ed), 2004. Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. The National Academies Press: Washington DC. Dr. Rudd was a member of the Institute of Medicine committee as well as writer/contributor to the book. Available at http://books.nap.edu

To read a written transcript, click http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=11705

Len & Ceci Doak Discuss Health Literacy’s Past, Present and Future (HLOL #13)

Cecelia (Ceci) and Leonard (Len) Doak are a husband and wife team who, for over 30 years, helped lead the way to health literacy. Their book, workshops, and articles have inspired advocates everywhere to improve health understanding.

Ceci started as a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service. During her more 20 years there, Ceci developed and led numerous health education programs. In fact, she received a commendation from the Surgeon General for her work educating the public about cancer.

Len comes to health literacy via adult education, volunteering for many years as a tutor of non-readers. Len’s first career was as a Navy engineer and among his many accomplishments he helped simplify instructions for crews working on ships and submarines.

Len & Ceci co-authored the award-winning book, Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills. In their non-profit business Patient Learning Associates, Inc., Len and Ceci have written guidelines for many important projects and analyzed the suitability of over 2,000 healthcare materials in virtually all formats. They have presented at more than 200 health literacy workshops, training thousands of health professionals in all disciplines.

In this Health Literacy Out Loud podcast, they talk with Helen Osborne about the past, present, and future of health literacy. Topics include:

  • How health literacy began more than 30 years ago
  • Why health literacy was important then and is even more so today
  • Strategies to improve communication and assess if messages are understood
  • Ceci & Len Doak’s vision for health literacy in the future

More ways to learn:

  • Doak, Doak, & Root, Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills, Second Edition. 1996. Available for free at Harvard University School of Public Health’s Health Literacy Studies website, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/healthliteracy/resources/doak-book/
  • Houts, Doak, Doak, Lascalzo. “The role of pictures in improving health communication:  A review of research on the benefits of pictures on attention, comprehension, recall, and adherence.”  Patient Education and Counseling, 61 (2006) 173-190, 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
  • Osborne, H. “In Other Words…Can They Understand? Testing Patient Education Materials With Intended Readers,” On Call Magazine, Nov 2001. Available at http://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=3811

Click here for a transcript of this episode: http://healthliteracy.com/transcript.asp?PageID=1169 [Read more…]

Talking Health to Men (HLOL #12)

Joe Zoske, MS, MSW is the Administrative Coordinator of the BSW Social Work Program at Siena College in Loudonville, NY. He incorporates his interests in communication, literacy, and men’s health in his teaching of Health Care Communication Skills and Gender Health courses. Zoske promotes a “whole man model of male wellness,” communicating health information in ways that are male-compassionate and male-affirming.

In this podcast, he talks with Helen Osborne about communication strategies for talking health to men. Topics include:

  • Gender as it relates to cultural competence and health disparities
  • How and why men receive health messages differently than women
  • Strategies providers can use to teach men about illness and well-being

More ways to learn:

  • Men’s Health Network, PO Box 770   Washington, D.C. 20044. http://www.menshealthnetwork.org. This is the lobbying organization for men’s health in the U.S. which also promotes National Men’s Health Week.
  • Osborne, H. “In Other Words… What’s the Difference? . . . Does Gender Matter When Communicating About Health?” On Call magazine, December 2004. Available at http://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=3787
  • Senay, E & Waters, R. (2004). From Boys to Men: A Women’s Guide to the Health of Husbands, Partners, Sons, Fathers, and Brothers. Scribner: NY
  • Zaman, F. and Underwood, C. (March 2003). The Gender Guide for Health Communication Programs. Center Publication No. 102. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health / Center for Communication Programs. Available at http://www.jhuccp.org/pubs/cp/102/102.pdf
  • Zoske, J. Men’s Health & Wellness: 50 Health Promotion Ideas for Educators, Planners, and Practitioners. 1998. Contact Zoske directly at: Siena College, Social Work House, 515 Loudon Rd, Loudonville NY 12211.

Pauline Hamel Talks About Intergenerational Health Communication (HLOL #11)

Pauline C. Hamel, Ed.D, PT, teaches in Boston University’s online Master of Science in Health Communication program and Northeastern University’s Health Sciences program. She is a physical therapist, educator, former healthcare administrator, geriatric specialist, and now consultant. Her interests include interdisciplinary research, teaching, writing, and consulting in the areas of health communication, health literacy, public health, professional development, intergenerational service learning, and health promotion in older adults. You can reach Pauline Hamel at phamel@bu.edu.

In the podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about intergenerational health communication. Topics include:

  • How college students and older adults are often more alike than different
  • Ways different generations can learn from, and teach, one another
  • Why service learning matters and ways you can get involved

More ways to learn about intergenerational teaching and learning:

Domenic Screnci Talks About Visual Literacy (HLOL #9)

Domenic Screnci, Ed.D. is the Executive Director for Educational Media and Technology at Boston University. He also co-directs Boston University’s new online Master of Science Health Communications Program. Dr. Screnci has 30 years experience in the field of biocommunications and serves as an educational technologist, instructional systems designer and integrator, instructional designer and a producer of curriculum materials for traditional and new media based educational projects.

In this Health Literacy Out Loud podcast, he talks with Helen Osborne about visual literacy. Topics include:

  • What visual literacy is and how it relates to health literacy
  • Ways visual literacy helps readers interact with information
  • How to adapt visuals to meet the needs of specific audiences

More ways to learn:

Books & articles:

  • Burmark, L. (2002) Visual Literacy: Learn to See, See to Learn.
  • Clark, R.C. & Lyons, C. (2004). Graphics for Learning.
  • Doak, C.C., Doak, L.G., Root, J.H., 1996. Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills (2nd ed.). (Chapter 7: Visuals and How to Use Them). http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/healthliteracy/doak.html
  • Gangwer, Timothy Patrick (2nd Edition out Feb. 15, 2009) Visual Impact, Visual Teaching: Using Images to Strengthen Learning
  • Hodgdon, L. A. (1995). Visual Strategies For Improving Communications: Practical Support for Home and School.
  • Lambert, David and Browning Wroe, Jo (2008) Visual Literacy (Bk. 1) Lipton, R. (2002). Designing Across Cultures: How to Create Effective Graphics for Diverse Ethnic Groups.
  • Lohr, Linda L. (2007) Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance: Lessons in Visual Literacy (2nd Edition)
  • “Thoughts on Visual Literacy,” http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/healthliteracy/doak.html
  • “Visual Literacy in Higher Education,” http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI4001.pdf
  • “Information Design: It is all in the process,” http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI4001.pdf

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