Why Health Literacy Matters: A Podcast with Many Voices (HLOL #23)

October is Health Literacy Month. This is the 11th year that advocates everywhere are raising awareness about health literacy and ways to improve understanding. This year, we decided to focus on stories – stories about why health literacy matters to healthcare providers, policy makers, researchers, educators, students, patients, families, and all others who care about health.

In this special edition podcast, you will hear five people share their stories about why health literacy matters. I recorded these in May 2009 when I was giving a workshop at the Institute for Healthcare Advancement’s (or IHA) 8th Annual Health Literacy Conference.

This is the first of two Health Literacy Month podcasts. In this one, you will hear from:

  • Michael Villaire, Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA)
  • Cindy Brach, AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
  • Michael Wolf PhD, Northwestern University
  • Beccah Rothschild, Health Research to Action at UC Berkeley
  • Jutta Ulrich, Health Guide America

More ways to learn:

  • Health Literacy Month website. Thanks to a team of remarkable volunteers and amazing authors, each day in October there are one or more health literacy stories posted at www.healthliteracymonth.org.
  • Health Literacy Out Loud. Hear interviews with those in-the-know about health literacy by going to www.healthliteracymonth.org
  • Health Literacy Consulting. Find out more about Helen Osborne’s work and background by going to www.healthliteracy.com
  • Institute for Healthcare Advancement. Find out about this organization and its upcoming health literacy conference by going to www.iha4health.org


  1. Loved the multiple voices! Gave a sense of the “community of health literacy advocates”, and nicely modeled the intention of the narrative month.
    Well done!

  2. Afrouz Zibaei says

    Hi. Dear Helen
    Is it any relate between health literacy and immigrant’s women in cultural competence?
    Best wihes afrouz

  3. Health literacy is about communicating in ways others can understand.That includes considering culture when talking with people from other lands, languages, and life experiences. Thank you for your question.

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