Health Literacy Training, Consultation and Resources

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

Patient Education Resources for Adult Educators and Health Care Professionals

Cancer InfoNet
This site was designed to teach both consumers and health care providers about online cancer resources, basic internet skills, and credible cancer Websites. Updated and easy-to-read cancer information is provided particularly for underserved communities.

California Family Health Council, Inc. (CFHC)
Both Resource Centers of the EPA Division of CFHC provide health education information and resources to California healthcare providers, health educators, and advocates, so they may in turn promote and maintain the health and well being of California families and communities.They have an extensive database of patient education materials and every resource is evaluated for content accuracy, reading level and cultural appropriateness. Patient education materials are available in diverse languages. Click on "Resources."

Charlottesville Public Schools: ESL Health Curriculum

This 10-unit multi-level curriculum focuses on developing civics awareness and participation with regard to health. It is committed to being student-generated and reliant upon student input.

East Boston Harborside Community Center (EBHCC): Health Lessons 
This is one of 38 community centers in Boston established by former Mayor Kevin White. ESL Lessons for Levels 3 and 4 include health curriculum ideas and Spanish health and nutrition curriculums. ViewProgram&Program_ID=1159

El Paso Community College: Collaborative Health Literacy Curriculum 
These lessons were developed to meet the educational and health needs of the students attending classes in the school’s Community Education Program. While the needs of the students and the information and services available to them may vary from community to community, these lessons provide a useful guide.

This site connects to E-Square (Electronic Square), an electronic village specifically for adults learning English or learning to improve their literacy/basic education skills. It has centers for health, jobs, child-care, computer skills, civics and home buying. The "Health Center" features student writings about a variety of health issues.

EthnoMed: Ethnic Medicine Information from Harborview Medical Center
The EthnoMed site contains information about cultural beliefs, medical issues, and other issues pertinent to the health care of recent immigrants to Seattle or other parts of the United States.

Expecting the Best
This is a program that teaches adults with limited English language skills about health and well-being through English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. It is North Carolina's first statewide program that addresses health literacy and health communication issues. It was developed with the help of health care providers who sought to improve the quality of counseling and health education given to patients with limited English proficiency.

Healthy Roads Media 
This site contains free audio, written, and multimedia health education materials in a number of languages.

Hudson River Center: Health Promotion for Adult Literacy Students 
“Health Promotion for Adult Literacy Students: An Empowering Approach” is an award-winning instructional package that helps involve students in health issues. Each topic includes an instructional guide, a student workbook, and an audiotape to be used with the workbook. (Scroll down to "Health Promotion for Adult Literacy Students: An Empowering Approach").

Institute for Healthcare Advancement: What To Do Health Series
The Institute for Healthcare Advancement, under a grant from the State of Louisiana, has developed a comprehensive, multi-level curriculum. This curriculum, available for free, is a complete resource for teaching basic reading skills using the four-book series, What To Do For Health. These books were written to provide basic, necessary health care information in an easy-to-read, easy-to-use format.

National Center for ESL Literacy Education: Picture Stories for Adult ESL Health Literacy
These lessons help ESOL instructors use health topics to work with beginning students. With minimal use of words, an idea is conveyed that allows students to discuss difficult topics, ask questions, and obtain information.

National Institute for Literacy: Health & Literacy Special Collection
The Health & Literacy Special Collection is for teachers, students, health educators, or anyone interested in health education for people with limited literacy skills.

National Network of Libraries of Medicine: Consumer Health Online Manual 
The first portion of this bibliography contains print resources that discuss either methods to assess the patient's reading ability or how to evaluate the readability of materials. Some articles or chapters discuss both topics. The second portion of this bibliography contains Web resources that discuss health literacy. Sources linking people to information for patients with low literacy levels and to easy-to-read patient handouts are listed.

Nutrition and the Pregnant Adolescent: A Practical Reference Guide
Written as a resource for health professionals, the overall goal of this book is to promote the health and nutritional status of pregnant adolescents and to achieve optimal pregnancy outcomes. It focuses on clinical application of current knowledge on adolescent pregnancy emphasizing assessment, management, counseling approaches and strategies to promote dietary change and adequate weight gain. 

Partnership for Clear Health Communication: Ask Me 3
The Partnership for Clear Health Communication is a coalition of national organizations that are working together to promote awareness and solutions around the issue of low health literacy and its effect on health outcomes.

PBS Parents: Talking With Kids About Health
This site offers communication strategies for parents when dealing with the dentist or doctor.

Pfizer Inc.: Clear Health Communication Initiative

Pfizer has taken a leadership role in advocating for Clear Health Communication. All health care information providers have a responsibility to ensure that the information given to patients is communicated in a way that is understandable and truly accessible.

Purdue University: HealthCOMM
The primary goal of HealthCOMM is to serve students, scholars, and practitioners with a focal point for information relevant to the research, study, teaching, and application of health communication. Within the pages of this web site you will discover current news about, or valuable links to, various institutions that offer degrees, courses, or services related to health communication. Information includes faculty research interests, institutional foci, and corresponding internet addresses.

Stanford University: Stanford Nutrition Action Program (SNAP) 
The goal of the Stanford Nutrition Action Program (SNAP) was to design a curriculum that would address nutrition issues and stimulate reduction of dietary fat. The SNAP curriculum combines interactive teaching techniques and behavior change methods to successfully teach and stimulate the interest of low-literate, low-income populations to overcome barriers to reducing fat. This curriculum is available for purchase. 

System for Basic Education Support (SABES): Health Page
This site, offered by the System for Basic Education Support (SABES), is a resource for adult educators interested in making connections between health and literacy. The site also provides hands-on resources, such as curricula, to help strengthen these links through learner-centered work. It reflects five years of innovative and creative work done in Massachusetts around integrating health education into ABE / ESOL.

University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics: Patient Education Materials 
The Patient Education Materials Web site outlines resources you can call upon to help you develop written materials for patients and their families, and provides some basic tips for effective patient teaching. Several hundred patient education materials are cataloged and most internally produced. A “Patient Education Resources” search page is also available. 
University of Virginia: Building a Health Literacy Curriculum The content in this site is intended to help medical schools develop their own needs-specific Health Literacy curriculum.

Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center: Adult Education Toolkit
This toolkit, created by the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center, is a resource to help adult education instructors and administrators better understand the problem of health literacy as it affects their learners. It is designed to support creative approaches to help learners increase health literacy as they engage in sound, productive adult literacy instruction. Information and resources are provided to educate the educator about health care in the United States and cultural issues relating to health, and to simplify the creation of health lessons and curricula for teachers.

Western/Pacific Literacy Network: Visiting the Doctor, Lessons in Language and Culture 
This Web site allows ESL students to practice the language needed to get medical care. Students can also send in their own writing on health topics and see it published here.

World Education: Health and Literacy Compendium
The Health and Literacy Compendium is an annotated bibliography of print and Web-based health materials for use with limited-literacy adults. The Compendium was developed by World Education in collaboration with the National Institute for Literacy. 

Plain Language Tools and Services

Beginnings Guides
Learn about the easy-to-read and understand teaching and learning guides for parents of children ages 0 to 3. Books are available for purchase.

Beyond the Brochure: Alternative Approaches to Effective Health Communication 
This booklet is designed to help educators identify means of providing education to limited literacy audiences that do not rely upon printed words. It includes information on adapting, developing, and testing materials.

California Family Health Council, Inc. (CFHC)
The EPA Division of CFHC offers training and consultation services to help health care proviers communicate clearly with patients in multiethnic and multicultural settings.

The Clear Language Group (CLG) 
The CLG is a national consortium of experienced health literacy, plain language, and cross-cultural communication specialists. The CLG provides a broad variety of services including tailored presentations and workshops; materials review and development; consulting and coaching; web site assessment and writing; and audience research and field testing.

Health Literacy Consulting
Through its many programs and services, Health Literacy Consulting teaches health professionals ways to communicate so that patients, families, and employees can understand.

Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania: Health Literacy Project 

The Health Literacy Project (HLP) was started in 1988 to close the communication gap between low income, high-risk consumers and their providers. It currently offers consultation services regionally and nationally. HLP staff consults with pharmaceutical companies, managed care organizations, government agencies as well as medical and social service providers.

Iowa State University Extension and the Iowa Department of Public Health: Tools for Evaluating Written and Audiovisual Nutrition Education Materials 
Iowa State University Extension and the Iowa Department of Public Health jointly developed two guides and evaluation forms to help nutrition educators, public health nutritionists, and others select educationalmaterials that best meet the needs of target audiences.

Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center Pictograph Research Project: Developing Ways to Communicate Large Amounts of Medical Information to Non Literate Persons 
This research project uses pictographs (pictures that represent an idea) to communicate health information. It contains 192 pictographs of actions to manage fever and sore mouth due to cancer treatment and actions to manage HIV symptoms of nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, depression, and spread of HIV infections. kpr/ patient_family_health_professionals.cfm

Northern New Hampshire Area Health Education Center (AHEC)
This center promotes excellence in the health care system of northern New Hampshire through support of community and academic partnerships for training, continuing education and access to information resources. The services include evaluating the readability level of print materials, re-writing health information for the public at an easy-to-read level and creating new easy-to-read documents.

Plain Language Action & Information Network
The Plain Language Action & Information Network is a government-wide group of volunteers working to improve communications from the federal government to the public.

The Plain Language Association International
This site provides free plain-language articles, writing tutorials, Web links, news, networking opportunities, professional support, and an email discussion group.

The Plain Language Initiative 

This initiative requires the use of plain language in all new documents written for the public, other government entities and fellow workers. Writing that is clear and to the point helps improve communication between the government and the public since clear material takes less time to read and understand.

University of New England: Area Health Education Center
Translate complexity into vibrant plain language supported by appealing messages and design. Learn how to use vibrant plain language that serves everyone.

University of Minnesota Extension Service: Writing for a Changing World, Reaching Low Literacy Audiences with Print Material 
This brochure features writing tips and resources designed to help Cooperative Extension staff communicate health messages to audiences with limited literacy skills.

Health Outreach Services

Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania
The Health Promotion Council's mission is to promote health and prevent disease, especially among those at greatest risk, through education, outreach and advocacy. Its unique programs and innovative work with minority groups, have advanced the field of health promotion in Southeastern Pennsylvania and across the nation.

Healthy People Library Project 
The Healthy People Library Project is a five-year project to bring the latest information about biomedical research to the nation’s 16,000 public libraries. The project is designed to provide minority groups and other consumers easy access to current, reliable information on selected health topics at their local libraries.

Heartland Alliance 
As part of Heartland Alliance’s mission to advance the human rights and to respond to the human needs of endangered populations, it provides several services to promote the health and well being of members of those populations. This link leads to a full program list.

Learners' Lives as Curriculum: Six Journeys to Immigrant Literacy by Gail Weinstein
This 88-page guide outlines a model for creating curricula that are truly based on the lives of the learners. It explains how to use directed listening to elicit a learner-generated text, and then how to transform the text into lessons and eventually, thematic units. This is available for purchase via the Delta website.

National Center for Farmworker Health Resource Center 
The center has been serving migrant health clinics by providing information and materials since 1980. It contains over 200 distributable items, from slide shows to patient educational tools and videos. They have in stock many governmental publications that address the needs of farmworkers and those who serve them, such as guides on pesticide handling and heat stress, as well as, bilingual educational curricula and handouts.

United States Department of Health and Human Services: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Search for community health centers near you. Through a nationwide network of community and migrant health centers, health care programs for the homeless, and primary care programs for public housing projects, HRSA provides a full range of preventive and primary health care services for medically underserved rural and urban communities. Telephone: (888) ASK-HRSA E-mail:

Utah Department of Health: Primary Care and Rural Health Website 
This office is a health resource for Utah's rural, multicultural and underserved communities. They coordinate federal, state, and local efforts aimed at improving the health of Utah's rural, medically underserved, and multicultural residents. They work with communities that need assistance by conducting needs assessments, recruiting health care professionals, writing grants, identifying sources of funding and implementing other projects related to decreasing disparity and increasing access to primary health care.