California’s Health Literacy Resources

California Literacy, Inc., makes no claim as to the accuracy of the information provided in the California Health Literacy Initiative Resource Center. 

California Family Health Council, Inc. (CFHC)


EPA Division of CFHC
492 Division Street
Campbell, CA 95008
Phone: (800) 428-5438 ext. 3213
Fax: (408) 374-7385
Contact: Veronica Estrella Murillo, Director of Health Education Resources

3600 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Phone: (213) 386-5614
Fax: (213) 386-4410

ThE EPA Division of California Family Health Council is devoted to helping health care providers give their communities the best health care possible. It has two Resource Centers of health education materials, available at no charge to health care providers nationwide. EPA also provides customized training in health literacy and consultation to assist agencies in developing plain language materials for their clients. In addition, it publishes easy-to-read patient education materials in multiple languages. 

 California Health Literacy Initiative: California Literacy, Inc.


1475 Powell Street, Suite 106
Emeryville, CA 94608-2026
Phone: (510) 655-3264 
Fax: (510) 655-3268 
Contact: Beccah Rothschild, M.P.A., Health Literacy Manager

133 N. Altadena Drive, Suite 410
Pasadena, CA 91107
Phone: (626) 395-9989 ext. 19
Fax: (626) 395-9987
Contact: Faith Ruperto, Health Literacy Coordinator

The goal of the California Health Literacy Initiative is to inform and partner with individuals and organizations to positively impact the health and well-being of individuals with low-literacy skills, their families, and their communities. This plan for California will serve as a groundbreaking, national model for health literacy. Currently, no statewide efforts of such complexity are being undertaken.

Institute for Healthcare Advancement

501 S. Idaho St., Suite 300
La Habra, CA 90631 
Phone: (800) 434-4633 or (562) 690-4001 ext. 201
Fax: (562) 690-8988
Contact: Gloria Mayer, RN, Ed.D., FAAN, CEO/President

The Institute for Healthcare Advancement has mounted efforts to combat low health literacy with the What to Do For Health book series and the Annual Health Literacy Conference: Organizational Solutions to Low Health Literacy. The four books in the What To Do For Health series were written with one goal in mind: to provide basic, necessary health care information in an easy-to-read, easy-to-use format. The annual conference brings together health literacy leaders from organizations that have developed programs and solutions to low health literacy.

Latino Health Access: Health Promoter Training and Program

1717 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92706-2605
Phone: (714) 542-7792
General email:

The mission of Latino Health Access is to assist in improving the quality of life and health of uninsured, underserved people through quality preventive services and educational programs. Promotores are highly trained community health workers. They are recruited, hired and trained from the communities in which they live. They are educators and role models who are highly skilled at leading their peers toward wellness. Latino Health Access has been on the cutting edge of the Promotores movement for the past ten years. Their programs and trainings, based on the teachings of Brazilian educator Paulo Friere, incorporate the principles of adult education and are highly interactive. 

National Libraries of Medicine: Southwest Regional Consumer Health Information Services

University of California, Los Angeles, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library
Academic Library: Regional Medical Library
Phone: (800) 338-7657 
Contact: Heidi Theissen-Sandstrom, R.N., Interim Associate Director

The goal of the services provided is to improve the general public's awareness of and ability to access valuable health information. Their services aim to fulfill the potential of health information providers to meet the health information and health literacy needs of the public in the Pacific Southwest Region (AZ, CA, HI, NV and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Basin). They do this through promotion of reputable health information resources/services, training, development of the regional information infrastructure, and expansion of partnerships and collaborations.

PlaneTree Health Library

PlainTree Health Library
15891 Los Gatos-Almaden Road
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Phone: (408) 358-5667
Contact: Candace Ford, M.L.S., Executive Director
General email:

PlaneTree is a comprehensive consumer health and medical library, free and open to the public. The library's most fundamental service is providing access to information for informed decisions about health and healthy choices in life. Their extensive collection of current, useful health information is provided in a variety of formats. Resources range from easy-to-understand materials to technical, professional literature. Computer services feature Internet access, including health sites not publicly available, and help with online searching. PlaneTree covers both conventional and complementary (alternative) therapies. Some books, articles, and videos are available in Spanish and in Vietnamese.

Venice Family Clinic: Health Empowerment Initiative

604 Rose Avenue
Venice, CA 90291
Phone: (310) 664-7839
Fax: 310-396-8279
Contact: Jeannette Hilgert, M.S.G., M.S.W., Program Administrator

Health care and medicine each have their own language filled with specialized and "common" terms, which are rarely heard in everyday conversation. Clinic visits often include unfamiliar surroundings, specialized technical procedures, and new information about health topics that may be intimidating and difficult for many patients to understand. The Venice Family Clinic received a grant from the California Endowment to address these barriers. The Health Empowerment Initiative (HEI) strives to enhance patients’ understanding of health, disease, and the health care system and to increase patients’ self-efficacy and health management techniques.

Vision Literacy


North County Office
40 N. Milpitas Boulevard
Milpitas, CA 95035
Phone: (408) 262-1349 Main Line
Fax: (408) 262-5806
Contact: Pat Lawson-North, Executive Director
Direct Line: (408) 262-1349 ext. 3671

West County Office
585 Franklin Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
Phone: (650) 526-7016 Main Line
Fax: (650) 962-0438
Contact: Ellen Loebl 
Direct Line: (408) 293-2326 ext. 3070

Vision Literacy is dedicated to enriching the community by helping adults improve their literacy skills. They provide innovative literacy services. They also empower adults to reach their goals and potential by promoting mutual commitments between learners and community partners, and providing an accessible process for investing time, funding, and other resources. Vision Literacy is a nationally recognized leader of community partnerships designed to empower adults through literacy.

Vision Literacy in Partnership with PlaneTree Health Library: Community Learning Centers (CLCs)


South County Office (serving Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy)
Community Learning Center (CLC) 
42 Martin St.
Gilroy, CA 95020
Phone: (408) 848-5366
Fax: (408) 848-2950 
Contact: Judy Walko

Community Learning Center (CLC), North County
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Administration Building
751 S. Bascom Ave.
San Jose, CA 95128
Phone: (408) 293-2326 ext. 3070
Fax: (408) 885-3222
Contact: Ellen Loebl

The Community Learning Center (CLC), North County is an innovative partnership between Vision Literacy, PlaneTree Health Library, and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. The center was established to provide people who have limited reading skills with access to free health information and adult literacy services, and to provide the general public with a resource on a wide array of health issues. The CLC features a health library with video, audio and print materials, including items for adult new readers. 

The Community Learning Center (CLC), South County recently opened its doors to the public. Located at Vision Literacy's South County office, the expanded partnership between Vision Literacy and PlaneTree Health Library, is the first program of its kind in Gilroy. Featuring the same resources and services as its North County predecessor, the collaborative effort is funded in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.