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Bridging the Health Literacy Gap Posts

Why It’s So Hard to Stop Writing or Talking Like a….

In The Sense of Style, his most recent book on language and writing, psychologist Steven Pinker argues that all people, and especially highly educated professionals, suffer from “the curse of knowledge.” He defines the curse as “a difficulty in imagining what it is like for someone else not to know something that you know.” Pinker Read More >

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Let’s Educate Someone About Health Literacy This Month

Since 1999, advocates have used October to focus attention on limited health literacy as a widespread social problem. This month, we consider how health professionals can help improve health literacy. At CDC, we kicked off Health Literacy Month with staff training sessions in plain language and the CDC Clear Communication Index. We know that equipping staff with clear communication Read More >

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Spring Cleaning and the CDC Clear Communication Index

Spring in Atlanta refreshes the mind and spirit (even while covering us in yellow-green pollen!). In that spirit, we are “spring cleaning” the CDC health literacy Web site and blog. During the next several months, we’ll freshen up and expand the Web site’s sections and content. We’ll return to regular blog posts, sharing both CDC’s Read More >

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Promote Plain Language

Many of us speak plain language every day, but we know plain language isn’t often the everyday language of government, business, law and healthcare.  The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal executive branch agencies to use plain language communication with the public. How can large, complex organizations like government agencies make plain language everyday Read More >

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Health Literacy Month Twitter Chat

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) invites you to the 3rd annual health literacy Twitter Chat on October 25, 2012 at 3 p.m. EDT. Using the hashtag #healthlit, please join @healthfinder, @HHS_DrKoh, @AHRQNews, @HealthLitMo and others to discuss IOM’s recent paper on the 10 Attributes of Read More >

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Kicking Off Health Literacy Month

Today is the first day of Health Literacy Month, an idea proposed by health literacy consultant Helen Osborne. Many organizations and individuals now use October as a chance to raise awareness of health literacy and promote their projects. What are you doing for Health Literacy Month? Check back often as we report on health literacy Read More >

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Health Literacy Around the World

On September 24, the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy (Roundtable) convened health literacy leaders from the United Nations and a dozen countries to discuss activities and progress around the world. There was general agreement that educational systems have not provided the majority of people with the literacy skills they need to find, read, listen Read More >

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Plain Language is Essential in Public Health Emergencies

This week, Dagny Olivares from CDC’s Emergency Communication team blogs about plain language and public health emergencies. September is National Preparedness Month. Across the country, it’s a time to take stock of how prepared we are to withstand and respond to emergency situations that affect us, our families, and our communities. At CDC, we make Read More >

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Clear, Main Messages – We all Need One

The main message of this week’s post is that every health material needs a clear, main message. The power of a main message is that your readers or listeners can almost immediately say, I know what this is about. When you state your main message clearly AND put it at the beginning, you help your Read More >

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Health Literacy Basics: Who is the Audience and What is the Purpose?

In his book The Checklist Manifesto, Dr. Atul Gawande argues that people, even experts, often skip basic, critical steps that can determine success or failure in a project or task. He proposes that people use checklists to increase the accuracy and consistency of their performance.  Checklists draw our attention to all the elements in a Read More >

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