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.

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.

Archie Willard Talks about Struggling to Read (HLOL #3)

Archie Willard is an ardent and articulate advocate for health literacy. He chairs health literacy workshops and participates in health literacy programs run by organizations including the Iowa Health System, American Medical Association, and the Joint Commission. In addition, Archie is a guest speaker at health literacy conferences across the United States. But he also didn’t learn to read until he was 54 years old. Update: Archie Willard died in 2017. He was in his mid-80s.

Archie Willard talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Growing up as a non-reader
  • Learning to read as an adult
  • How reading problems affect health understanding
  • Ways we all can help

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, 3, 21, 27, 31, 41.

Read the transcript of this podcast.

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