Public health communication

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

Using the Internet for Health (HLOL #62)

Lee Rainie is Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Since 1999, this non-profit, non–partisan “fact tank” has studied the social impact of the internet. The Pew Research Center has examined and reported how people’s Internet use affects their families, communities, work places, education, civic and political life. It also studies how people use the Internet for health.

In this podcast, Rainie talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • The rise of “e-patients.” Who they are. How they use the Internet for health.
  • The Internet as a way to increase patient engagement. How Internet usage may differ for those with chronic conditions versus new diagnoses.
  • Ways that health professionals can be active members of online conversations, too.
  • Rainie’s vision of what health communication might be like in years ahead.

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, 33, 34, 35, 36.

Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS Talks about the Importance of Health Literacy (HLOL #59)

Dr. Richard Carmona is the 17th Surgeon General of the United States, Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona, Vice Chairman of Canyon Ranch, and President of the non-profit Canyon Ranch Institute. He understands the importance of health literacy from a lifetime of personal and professional experiences.

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

  • Why he is such a champion of health literacy,
  • How health literacy factors in all we do, including emergency and crisis situations as well as public health, and
  • What others can do to help. As Dr. Carmona says, “Every citizen needs to become a health literacy public health practitioner.”

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.

Read a transcript of this podcast. 

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:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 11, 13, 40.

Legislation Giving Voice to Patients and Families (HLOL #47)

Deborah Wachenheim is the Health Quality Manager at Health Care for All (HCFA) in Boston, MA. The mission of HCFA is to create a consumer-centered healthcare system that works for everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable.

HCFA’s Consumer Health Quality Council drafted legislation that was recently enacted to establish Patient and Family Advisory Councils at all hospitals in Massachusetts. In this podcast, Wachenheim talks about the process of making this happen.

Topics include:

  • Patient and family advisory councils. What they are, how they help, and who they include.
  • Process of drafting and enacting a new statewide law.
  • Lessons learned about patient councils and the legislative process.

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: 27, 30, 40.

Health Communication from a Native American Perspective (HLOL #44)

Linda Burhansstipanov MSPH, DrPH (or as many people say, “Linda B”) is of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She has worked in public health for many years, taught at several universities, and is involved with a lot of research including the NIH funded projects, “Native American Cancer Education for Survivors” and “Native Navigators and the Cancer Continuum.”

Linda B created and oversees the Native American Cancer Research website which is used not only by Native Americans but also by people from around the world. Linda is the author of nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles and advises many healthcare organizations about issues affecting Native Americans.

In this podcast, Linda B talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Native American concerns related to health and cancer
  • Communication strategies including stories, metaphors, and pictures
  • Creating a website with a strong cultural identity
  • Lessons learned that health communicators can use with all audiences

More Ways to Learn:

  • You can email Linda B at LindaB@natamcancer.net. But please know that it may take her a few days to reply as she may be in areas with no Internet connection.
  • Native American Cancer Research Website, available at www.natamcancer.org

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 6, 18, 25, 27, 31, 32.

National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy (HLOL #39)

Cynthia Baur, Ph.D., is the Senior Advisor for Health Literacy at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She co-chairs several federal health literacy initiatives, including the workgroup for Healthy People 2020 Health Communication and Health Information Technology.

Dr. Baur is the lead author for the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy and helped develop CDC’s online health literacy training for health professionals. In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about the National Plan to Improve Health LiteracyTopics include:

  • How the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy was developed with input from researchers, practitioners, and community members.
  • Ways individuals and organizations can use this health literacy action plan.
  • A national and international perspective about 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: 1, 27.

A Participatory Approach for Communicating with Diverse Audiences (HLOL #31)

Linda Neuhauser, DrPH, is Clinical Professor of Community Health and Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. Her work focuses on translating research into improved health interventions and mass communication. Dr. Neuhauser is especially interested in participatory approaches that meet the literacy, linguistic, and cultural needs of diverse audiences. She is Co-Principal Investigator of the UC Berkeley Health Research for Action Center that uses participatory design to create, implement and evaluate communication initiatives that have now reached over 30 million people.

In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about participatory and user-centered approaches to health communication.

Topics include:

  • Communication challenges for both givers and receivers of information
  • A structured approach to participatory, user-centered design
  • Overcoming objections of limited time, money, or other resources

More Ways to Learn:

  • Neuhauser L, Rothschild R, Graham C, et al. “Participatory Design of Mass Health Communication in Three Languages for Seniors and People With Disabilities on Medicaid,” American Journal of Public Health. 2009;99 (12).
  • Neuhauser L, Constantine WI, Constantine NA, et al. “Promoting Prenatal and Early Childhood Health: Evaluation of a Statewide Materials-based intervention for Parents. American Journal of Public Health. 2007;97(10):1813-1819.
  • Health Literacy Out Loud Podcast #13: Len & Ceci Doak Discuss Health Literacy’s Past, Present, and Future (includes a discussion of the SAM materials assessment tool), Available at http://www.healthliteracyoutloud.com/2009/03/23/hlol-13-len-ceci-doak-discuss-health-literacy’s-past-present-and-future/

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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Writing Health Information That Caregivers Can Understand and Providers Will Accept (HLOL #22)

Carol Levine

Carol Levine works at the United Hospital Fund in New York City. There, she directs the Families and Health Care Project which focuses on developing partnerships between health care professionals and family caregivers, especially during transitions in health care settings. You can see this project online at www.nextstepincare.org.

Levine has won numerous awards for her work on health and social policy issues. In 1993, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for her work in AIDS policy and ethics. In 2007, she was named a WebMD Health Hero.

In this podcast she talks with Helen Osborne about “Writing health information that caregivers can understand and providers will accept.” Topics include:

  • The growing interest in transitions of care
  • Writing information in ways caregivers can understand
  • Getting buy-in from a cross-section of providers
  • Successes, lessons learned, and recommendations

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

Selina Maphorogo Talks About Community Health Education in South Africa (HLOL #20)

Selina Maphorogo has been a community health worker in Northern South Africa for many years. She recently retired from the Elim Care Group Project where she worked with health professionals, volunteers, and community leaders to help eradicate the blinding eye disease trachoma.

Selina is recognized for her outstanding work. In 1996, she received the Community Builder of the Year award. In 1997, she was a finalist for the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights.

I first learned about Selina when reading the book, The Community Is My University: A Voice from the Grass Roots on Rural Health and Development. On a recent trip to South Africa, I had the privilege of speaking with her and recording this podcast.

In this podcast she talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • What trachoma is and how it is passed from one person to another.
  • Strategies to educate a community about disease prevention.
  • Using song, dance, role-play and other ways to teach about health.

 

More Ways to Learn:

Read a transcript of this podcast.

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

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

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.

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