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

Read the transcript of this podcast.

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

Read a transcript of this podcast. 
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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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Communicating with People Who Have Cancer (HLOL #8)

This Health Literacy Out Loud podcast is like a patchwork quilt, pieced together with many tips and strategies for communicating effectively with people who have cancer. I recorded it at a meeting of Virginia’s Cancer Planning Action Coalition (CPAC) which met in Charlottesville, VA on November 20, 2008. I had the honor of being a keynote speaker at this conference.

In this podcast, Helen Osborne talks with several CPAC conference participants about their tips for good health communication:

  • Sharon Dwyer talks about the power of stories. She highlights how stories can help remove fear, motivate people, and provide support and human connection.
  • Susan Seidler speaks about reaching out to seniors in the community. She also highlights ways to improve communication with seniors, in person and in print.
  • Michael Pyles, PhD highlights the value of community partnerships, cultural diversity, and how listening is key to action.
  • Melanie Dempsey BS, RT(R)(T), CMD discusses the importance of teamwork and how each professional helps with education. She also talks about how stress affects patients’ understanding
  • Laura Humbertson MS discusses how information and resources help empower patients.
  • Donna Moore RN speaks about her work as a Nurse Navigator. This includes listening to patient’s fears, finding and knocking down barriers, and giving patients hope.

More ways to learn:

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Jan Potter Talks about Using Humor & Graphics to Convey Health Information (HLOL #5)

Jan Potter is a communications specialist with the Partnership for Health and Accountability, a division of the Georgia Hospital Association. Among her many accomplishments, Jan designed a bulletin board system on a variety of health education topics. These bulletin boards are free for others to download and use. In addition, Jan works on a wide range of projects, newsletters, and websites. Her most recent is an online toolkit to promote tobacco-free hospital campuses in Georgia.

In this Health Literacy Out Loud podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about using humor and graphics to convey health information. Topics include:

  • How bulletin boards help draw attention to important health information
  • Ways to use color, humor, and graphics to engage and empower patients
  • Tips to create your own bulletin boards or build on what others have done

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: 38, 40.

Lisa Bernstein Talks about Patient-Centered Communication (HLOL #4)

Lisa Bernstein is Executive Director and Co-founder of the What to Expect Foundation based in New York City. This non-profit organization takes its name and leadership from the best selling pregnancy guide What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The Foundation helps low-income, at-risk parents expect healthier pregnancies, safer deliveries, and happier babies. One of Lisa’s many responsibilities is directing the “Baby Basics Prenatal Health Literacy Program.”

In this Health Literacy Out Loud Podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about using patient-centered communication to reach communities. Topics include:

  • Baby Basics: Why this easy-to-read pregnancy guide was created and ways to use it in practice.
  • How lessons learned from Baby Basics apply to many health situations including teaching about diabetes, smoking cessation and hypertension.
  • Ways to evaluate and use simply-written materials in context of a person’s life and community.

More ways to learn:

  • What to Expect Foundation website includes information about the book Baby Basics. Available at http://www.whattoexpect.org. You can reach Lisa Bernstein by email at lisab@whattoexpect.org
  • Health Literacy Out Loud (audio CD). Helen Osborne talks with Lisa Bernstein about Creating and Using Excellent Written Materials. Available at http://www.healthliteracy.com/buy.asp?PageID=3672
  • Osborne, H. “In Other Words… Helping Patients Ask Questions.” On Call Magazine, November/December 2006. This article includes quotes from Lisa Bernstein. Available at http://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=5179
  • Osborne H, 2004. Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett. To order, go to most online bookstores or the publisher’s website at http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745502/
  • Zarcadoolas C, Pleasant AF, Greer DS, 2006. Advancing Health Literacy: A Framework for Understanding and Action. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 24, 27, 28, 32, 41.

Mache Seibel Talks about Using Music and Song (HLOL #2)

Helen Osborne talks with Mache Seibel about using music and song

Mache Seibel, MD educates people about health and wellness. Some days his tools are a stethoscope and prescription pad. Other days, they include a microphone and guitar. Dr. Seibel is a practicing physician and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA. He also is known as “Doc Rock,” a composer and performer who records music with health messages as part of his business, HealthRock.

In this Health Literacy Out Loud podcast, Dr. Seibel talks with Helen Osborne about using music and song as a tool of health communication. Topics include:

  • How music and song stimulates the brain
  • Ways clinicians (even non-musical ones) can use music
  • Songs with health messages for all people of all ages
  • Music as entertainment, education, and call to action

Mache Seibel sings most of the songs on this Health Literacy Out Loud podcast. His daughter, Sherry Seibel, sings “Mirror Set Me Free.” To hear more or order the full versions, please go to the HealthRock website at http://www.healthrock.com

More ways to learn:

  • Huron, D. “Science & Music: Lost in music.” Nature 453; 22 May 2008.
  • Osborne, H. “In Other Words…Using Music and Song as Tools of Health Communication.” On Call Magazine, March 24, 2008. Available at http://www.boston.com/jobs/healthcare/oncall/ and http://www.healthliteracy.com/article.asp?PageID=719
  • Peterson DA, Thaut MH. “Music increases frontal EEG coherence during verbal learning.” 2006; 412(3):217-221. Neuroscience Letters
  • Seibel MM. “Health through music and song” Sexuality Reproduction & Menopause. 2006; 4(2):46-47.

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 40, 41.

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