October is Health Literacy Month!

By Christina Howerton, Manager, Marketing and New Media

October, through Health Literacy Month, provides an opportunity to engage health care stakeholders by working collaboratively to create health literate resources and materials. This makes it easier for patients to access and understand health information. To kick off Health Literacy Month, the National Health Council (NHC) hosted a three-part webinar series on health literacy, which wrapped up on Oct. 7.

People want and need understandable information about health and science so they can make informed health decisions—now more than ever. However, many science-based communications are written above the average person’s ability to understand. Our webinar series provided health-literacy best practices for communicating science, such as strategies to:

  • Explain complex topics in an easy-to-understand way,
  • Communicate with the public about the scientific process in a way that builds understanding and trust, especially when being faced with uncertainty and evolving facts, and
  • Present numbers in a way that people can understand and use them.

The webinar series featured lively workshops about why clear communication tools are essential for anyone who works in health care, health literacy strategies for advocacy, and health literacy for science communication. Research shows that readers prefer simple to complex language and that they are more likely to read, understand, and act on information when it’s presented in plain language.

Watch the recorded sessions here.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers online health literacy resources. These resources outline what health literacy is and why it matters in public health. View them here.