Public health communication

Ways that public health specialists, community organizations, journalists, librarians, educators, and others can communicate with the general public.

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

Building Bridges of Health Literacy: Connecting Globally, Acting Locally, Learning Together (HLOL #183)

Kristine Sørensen is founding director of the Global Health Literacy Academy. Kristine Sørensen also is the first president of the International Health Literacy Association, chair of Health Literacy Europe, and advisor to the WHO on health literacy. She now lives in Denmark. 

In this podcast, Kristine Sørensen talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Health literacy efforts in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and the United States. How these efforts are alike and ways that they differ.
  • Why and how to keep doing this work even when faced with resistance. 
  • Health literacy associations, conferences, online discussions, and other ways to learn from and support each other.

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, 27, 42.

Read the transcript of this podcast. 

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

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. 

Health Literacy and Justice-Involved Individuals (HLOL #177)

David Young is a Professor and Community Health Specialist at Montana State University. His work involves improving the health and well-being of vulnerable, at-risk, marginalized, hard-to-reach populations. Young’s research is focused on promoting health literacy, health insurance literacy, and improved self-care management skills of those who are incarcerated.

In this podcast, Helen Osborne talks with David Young about:

  • Justice involved individuals.As many as 1 out of 3 adults in the United States (70-100 million) has a criminal record or is involved with the criminal justice system whether arrested without conviction, in jail, in prison, or under community supervision. Learn more at “Americans with Criminal Records.”
  • Health issues affecting this population. Issues include chronic health conditions, infectious diseases, mental illness, substance use disorders, aging, and trauma. Learn more at “Medical Problems of State and Federal Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2011-12.”
  • Health literacy and health insurance literacy programs that educate returning citizens (those returning to the community) to successfully manage their own health.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Young, D and Weinert C, (2013) “Improving Health Literacy With Inmates.” Read the PDF.
  • Young, D and Weinert C, (2016) “Promoting health insurance and enrollment literacy with jail inmates.” Link to access this article.
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2018. “Jails: Inadvertent Health Care Providers.” Link to this report.
  • Brown, PL. “They’re Out of Prison. Can They Stay Out of the Hospital?” The New York Times,May 29, 2018. Link to article.

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 1, 11, 16, 19, 24, 26, 27, 2832, 41

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. 

Consider Culture and Language When Communicating About Health (HLOL #171)

Wilma Alvarado-Little MA, MSW focuses on health equity from a linguistic and cultural perspective. She serves as the Associate Commissioner for New York State’s Department of Health and Director of its Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities. Her experience includes work in public policy, research, health literacy, and health disparities prevention. Alvarado-Little also is a healthcare interpreter and has helped develop numerous hospital and clinic-based programs. She is an invited participant on many national and statewide boards that address issues of culture and language in healthcare.

In this podcast, Wilma Alvarado-Little talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Culture in health communication has many dimensions. Beyond issues of race and ethnicity, includes factors such as socioeconomic status, communication preferences, and even work schedules.
  • Language includes written words, spoken words, and numbers along with body language, context, and potential distractions.
  • Ways to consider culture and language in all forms of 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: 7, 15, 18, 27

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Wellness, Women, and Health Literacy (HLOL #170)

Ruth Parker MD, MACP is Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.  For over two decades, her work has focused on research, education, and policy efforts to advance our nation’s health literacy. Ruth Parker’s health literacy accomplishments are many including being an author of the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA) and the widely used definition of health literacy included in numerous scholarly articles and national health policies. She is also a life-long athlete and has completed more than 25 marathons using the RunWalkRun® method. (Pictured in photo on the left)

Carmen Patrick Mohan MD FACP is an internal medicine physician, urban homesteader, and marathon runner who prescribes food and exercise as medicine. She works to foster change in healthcare delivery through internet technology, improved patient communication, and information access. Carmen Patrick Mohan specializes in cardiometabolic risk factor reduction with a focus on women. She is also a competitive runner and on a quest to complete marathons in 50 states and on 7 continents. (In photo on the right)

Dr. Ruth Parker and Dr. Carmen Patrick Mohan talk with Helen Osborne about:

  • The book they co-authored with Jeff Galloway, The Women’s Guide to Health: Run Walk Run, Eat Right, and Feel Better. What this book is about and why it was important to write.
  • How their practice as physicians, experience as marathon runners, and commitment to health literacy help women of all abilities achieve fundamental health.
  • Tips and strategies for podcast listeners–of all professions, genders, ages, and levels of activity—to help others and themselves become more fit and healthy.

More Ways to Learn:

The Women’s Guide to Health: Run Walk Run, Eat Right, and Feel Better, by Jeff Galloway, Ruth Parker, Carmen Patrick Mohan. Published by Meyer & Meyer Sport, 2018. Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Womens-Guide-Health-Right-Better/dp/1782551239

Author websites:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 1, 13, 27

Read the written transcript.

Law Enforcement, Risk Management, and Health Literacy (HLOL #169)

Heather Schragg is Director of Patient Experience at Eaton Rapids Medical Center in Eaton Rapids, MI. She not only oversees the hospital’s Risk and Quality Management programs but also its initiatives to improve patient and employee experiences. Heather is committed to helping patients navigate and understand the complicated healthcare system.

Mitch Ross is a police officer in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

Over the years he has held many positions, including work in an Anti-Gang Unit Squad and on a Major Incident Response Team. He also is an adjunct instructor at the Milwaukee Police Training Academy. In addition, Mitch educates civilians about reporting suspicious activities and responding appropriately during active shooter events.

Helen Osborne talks with Heather Schragg and Mitch Ross about:

  • What law enforcement, hospital risk management, and health literacy have in common when it comes to health communication.
  • Effective ways to communicate when a calm situation escalates into a crisis. And ways to use words and body language to help calm a tense situation.
  • Communication tips that all of us, regardless of our profession or setting, can use to build trust and understanding.

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 13, 24, 27, 41

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Advance Care Planning: Communicating Clearly Before There Is a Crisis (HLOL #168)

Aretha Delight Davis MD, JD, and Angelo Volandes MD, MPH, are an amazing team. They not only are married to each another but also created, run, research, and otherwise make possible ACP Decisions — an ever-growing collection of video support tools designed to help patients and families make informed decisions about advance care planning and end-of-life care. They both are physicians. Dr. Davis is also a lawyer. Their accomplishments are many and build on a deep and unwavering commitment to empowering patients.

In this podcast Dr. Davis and Dr. Volandes talk with Helen Osborne about:

  • Advance Care Planning (ACP). What it includes and why this topic is important to patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.
  • “Death illiteracy” and other reasons it can be hard to discuss advance care planning.
  • Tips, strategies, and tools to help make advance care planning conversations easier. These include using videos and excellent consumer-facing websites.

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, 13, 22, 30, 41

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Deconstructing Stigma: A Very Public Multimedia Project about Mental Illness (HLOL #162)

Adriana Bobinchock is the senior director of Public Affairs and Communications for McLean Hospital, the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Bobinchock has worked in healthcare communications for more than 17 years and has a keen interest in educating the public about mental health. In 2016, Bobinchock along with her colleague Scott O’Brien, spearheaded McLean’s national public awareness campaign Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life.

In this podcast, Adriana Bobinchock talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Deconstructing Stigma. What this project is, why it got started, who’s involved, and how it is helping educate the public about mental illness.
  • Ways this project uses photos, personal stories, statistics, social media, partnerships, and public space to convey a difficult, yet important, health message.
  • Suggestions about ways to create innovative, meaningful educational projects of your own.

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, 19, 31, 38, 40

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Health Literacy & Consumer Health Librarians (HLOL #161)

Amy Six-Means, MLIS, is on the librarian team at Children’s Health in Dallas, Texas. She worked at two other consumer health libraries prior to that. Six-Means started as an elementary school teacher, later going back to school for a degree in library science. Along the way, she discovered the connection between medical librarianship and health literacy and has been a passionate advocate ever since.

In this podcast, Amy Six-Means talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • What consumer health librarians do, where they work, and how they help patients, caregivers, and the public better understand about illness, treatment, and health.
  • How consumer health librarians can make a difference whether working in hospitals, communities, or healthcare systems.
  • Collaborating with consumer health librarians for better health literacy.

More Ways to Learn:

Examples of collaborative partnerships with medical/consumer health librarians and community members, public health initiatives, or health care organizations to further health literacy and support patients, loved ones, and the community.

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 1, 13, 27, 29, 32

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Reaching Out to Elected Officials about Health and Health Literacy (HLOL #160)

Helen, Mike and ProclamationMichael Jackman is District Director for Massachusetts Congressman William R. Keating. Mike has a long history of public service and community outreach in the areas of health and safety, crime prevention, and wellness. He is involved with numerous initiatives and now chairs a Community Health Network Alliance (CHNA) called the South Shore Community Partners in Prevention. Health literacy is a key component of much of Mike’s work.

In this podcast, Michael Jackman talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • How elected officials can affect health policy and funding at local, state, and national levels.
  • Why it is important for everyday people to participate in this governmental process
  • Examples of ways to bridge the gap between elected officials and health literacy.

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: 4,13, 27

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Communicating About Food in Culturally Sensitive Ways (HLOL #159)

j-o-frempong-photoJanet Ohene-Frempong, MS, is a plain language and cross-cultural communications consultant with over 25 years of experience in consumer communications. She brings to this work a passion for health literacy and background as a registered dietitian. Janet often is invited to speak at national conferences and provides consultation on plain language and cross-cultural communications for a wide range of health information providers. Deservedly, Janet has received many honors and accolades for her work.

In this podcast, Janet Ohene-Frempong and Helen Osborne discuss:

  • Communicating about food in a multicultural world. Why this matters today.
  • Issues to consider such as whether foods are available, affordable, convenient, appropriate, and familiar.
  • Examples of respectful and inclusive ways to communicate about food. Why doing so is not only appropriate but also can be deeply satisfying and gratifying.

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, 13, 18, 27

Read the transcript for this podcast.

Participants, Providers, and Policy Makers Working Together for Better Care (HLOL #158)

frank-rider-ms-07-15Frank Rider, MS, has worn many healthcare “hats.” He is a senior financing specialist within the domestic Policy, Practice and Systems Change programs at the American Institutes for Research. One of his previous jobs was as Chief of the Bureau for Children’s Services for Arizona’s Division of Behavioral Health Services. And starting soon after college, Rider was a foster parent for both the Navajo Nation and state of Arizona. Frank Rider’s life-long commitment to family-driven care builds on all these experiences and perspectives.

In this podcast, Frank Rider talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • “Triple Aim” goals for better healthcare: Better experience, better outcomes, at lowest possible cost.
  • Dissonance and tensions that sometimes arise among differing perspectives.
  • Ways to work towards better care, whatever your scope of influence.

More Ways to Learn:

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), at http://www.pcori.org

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 4, 13, 18, 27, 41

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Public Communication: Paying Attention to What We Say and Write (HLOL #156)

Wikipedia-academy-2009-nih-marinMarin Allen, PhD, is the Deputy Associate Director for Communications and Public Liaison and Director of Public Information in the Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Allen has more than 30 years experience in all aspects of public communication. Her many accomplishments include being a full professor at Gallaudet University, working as a media specialist for the White House Conference on Aging, being a faculty member at the University of Maryland, and winning two Emmy awards. She now serves on the National Academy of Medicine’s Roundtable on Health Literacy and is the NIH liaison to the Health and Human Services Workgroup on Health Literacy.

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

  • Why public communication is fundamental to the human condition.
  • Examples of how to consider the needs of everyone including those with communication differences, disorders, and disabilities.
  • Showing respect for, and building trust with, each audience.

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, 20, 27, 30

Read the transcript for this podcast.

Ethics to Consider When Communicating About Health (HLOL #150)

mbsiegel_largeDr. Michael Siegel is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health. He is a long-time researcher in tobacco control, publishing extensively on topics that include secondhand smoke, tobacco policy, and national strategies to reduce tobacco use. Dr. Siegel is a leader in the anti-tobacco movement, testifying in support of smoke-free workplace laws and serving as an expert witness in lawsuits against tobacco companies.

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

  • Hard choices to make when conveying information to the public. For instance, is the intent of your message to inform or persuade? How to communicate risk?
  • Examples of how to be honest, transparent, and clear when informing others about health.
  • Building a trusted relationship with the audience and maintain credibility over time.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Osborne H, Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition. 2011, Jones & Bartlett Learning. Includes the chapter, “Ethics of Simplicity.”
  • Osborne H, “In other words: The ethics of simplicity,” On Call magazine, 2004. At http://healthliteracy.com/2004/03/01/ethics-of-simplicity-3/

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 1, 11, 13, 41.

Read the podcast transcript.

Working with Journalists to Communicate about Health (HLOL #149)

imgres-1-1Beth Daley is a senior investigative reporter and senior trainer at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR), a non-profit based at Boston University and the public television/radio station WGBH. Prior to NECIR, Daley was a reporter for many years at The Boston Globe, focusing primarily on science and the environment. She has won numerous national journalism awards including a Knight Journalism Fellowship and being named a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

In this podcast, Beth Daley talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • The different forms of journalism including newspaper reporting, enterprise stories, and in-depth investigations.
  • Challenges ahead for journalists and health literacy when communicating about complicated new topics, such as genomics.
  • Ways that non-journalists can be discerning consumers of health and health news.
  • Types of stories that may be of interest to journalists.

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: 13, 27, 31, 40

Read a transcript of this podcast.

Children, Media, and Positive Health Messaging (HLOL #147)

Dina and friendDina Borzekowski, Ed.D., is the Interim Director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Health Literacy. She also is an international expert on children, media, and health. Borzekowski’s research explores how children and adolescents use media as well as media’s effect on the health and well-being of youth.

In this podcast, Dina Borzekowski talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • The intersection of children everywhere with media in its many formats.
  • Research about positive and negative effects of media on children of all ages.
  • Recommendations for developing media messages that can improve children’s lives.
  • Ways professionals and parents can help when it comes to media messages.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Borzekkowski DLG, Cohen JE, “International Reach of Tobacco Marketing Among Young Children,” Pediatrics, Volume 132, Number 4, October 2013.
  • Borzekowski, DLG, “Considering Children and Health Literacy: A Theoretical Approach,” Pediatrics 2009;124;S282.
  • Borzekowski is happy to chat about health literacy or children, media, and health. Feel free to contact her by email at dborzeko@umd.edu

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 13, 17, 40.

Read the transcript for this podcast. 

Implicit Bias: A Factor in Health Communication (HLOL #146)

Winston WongWinston F. Wong, MD, MS, FAAFP, is a practicing physician who also serves as the Medical Director of Community Benefit at Kaiser Permanente. His work includes developing community and organizational partnerships to eliminate health disparities. Dr. Wong has won numerous awards and serves on a number of national advisory boards including the Institute of Medicine’s Health Literacy Roundtable.

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

  • What implicit bias is and examples of how it can affect health communication.
  • Why even those who consider themselves as unbiased may unconsciously make snap judgments based on how others look and speak.
  • Health literacy and implicit bias. Recommendations of ways to improve health communication and actively explore what matters to each patient.

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: 18, 24, 27, 41.

Read the transcript of this podcast.

What To Do When Teaching About the Flu (HLOL #142)

Sparks photoSteve Sparks is the director of Wisconsin Health Literacy, a division of Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. There, he provides consultation, training, and coordination for statewide health literacy programs, communications, and interventions. Before Wisconsin Health Literacy, Steve held marketing and communications positions in hospitals, health systems, and taught college-level communication courses.

In this podcast, Steve Sparks talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why it’s important, yet also difficult, to teach about the flu.
  • Strategies that work including collaborating with organizations trusted by the intended audience, meeting at places people already go, creating an informal tone, being interactive, using health literacy principles throughout.
  • How health literacy approaches enhance success in populations harder to reach.
  • Getting funding, measuring success, and other behind-the-scene necessities.

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, 13, 27, 32, 40.

Read the transcript for this podcast.

Literacy & Health Literacy (HLOL #141)

Michele Erikson photoMichele Erikson has been involved with adult literacy for many years. She started as a volunteer literacy tutor and now serves as Executive Director of Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. One of Michele’s many accomplishments is overseeing Wisconsin Literacy’s Health Literacy division that not only hosts national health literacy summits but also works closely with adult learners and healthcare professionals to ensure that health information is communicated in ways everyone can understand.

In this podcast, Michele Erikson talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Literacy, an acquired skill that goes beyond decoding written words.
  • Is reading a problem? Why, who, and what to do to improve understanding.
  • How literacy and health literacy overlap, intersect, and differ from the other.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. Includes information about Wisconsin Health Literacy. At http://wisconsinliteracy.org/health-literacy/
  • Contact Wisconsin Health Literacy’s director, Steve Sparks at steve@wisconsinliteracy.org or call 608-257-1655
  • Hotdogs and Hamburgers: Unlocking Life’s Potential through Literacy at Any Age, by Rob Shindler. This book includes an insider’s view on tutoring adults.

More Ways to Make a Difference:

  • Volunteer to be a tutor. Change someone’s life through literacy.
  • Advocate to legislators, business leaders and community officials.
  • Ask if your doctor’s clinic participates in Reach Out and Read.
  • Donate or become a member of your local literacy agency.
  • Ask your local service club (Rotary, Kiwanis, Altrusa, Lions, Etc.) to get involved.
  • Use plain language in all your health care communications.

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 1, 6, 13, 21, 27.

Read the written podcast transcript.

Ethnodrama: Conveying Health Concepts in Culturally Relevant Ways (HLOL #140)

Anita Woodley - Headshot Black & WhiteAnita Woodley is an award-winning actress, playwright, producer, musician, poet, and journalist. She also is a certified HIV counselor and advocate for many healthcare initiatives. One powerful way that Anita communicates is with ethnodramas—non-traditional theatrical performances based on ethnographic research data used to educate, promote, and prevent harmful practices to overall health.

In this podcast, Helen Osborne talks with Anita Woodley about:

  • How theatric performances can communicate health messages in meaningful, memorable, and culturally relevant ways.
  • Examples of using characters, language, and laughter to teach about health.
  • Woodley’s suggestions about ways everyone (not just actors) can be authentic and inform those we care about, and care for.

More Ways to Learn

  • Anita Woodley: Award-winning Entertainer, Journalist, and Visual Artist. Read about, watch, and learn much more at Anitawoodley.com
  • Strang F, Gonzalez S, 100 Perks of Having Cancer plus 100 Health Tips For Surviving It. At http://100perksofhavingcancer.com

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 13, 14, 18, 31, 40, 42.

Read the written podcast transcript.

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