Plain Language Health Resources

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

American Medical Association, Health Literacy: Help Your Patients Understand
In 1998, the American Medical Association became the first national medical organization to adopt policy recognizing that limited patient literacy affects medical diagnosis and treatment. The AMA Foundation has since been working to raise awareness of health literacy within the health care community.

California Family Health Council, Inc (CFHC)
The EPA Division of the CFHC provides training in health literacy and technical assistance in developing easy-to-read and easy-to-understand patient education materials.

California Health Literacy Initiative
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. 

Canadian Public Health Association: National Literacy and Health Program
The National Literacy and Health Program provides resources to help health professionals serve clients with low literacy skills. The program focuses on health information in plain language and clear verbal communication between health professionals and their clients.

Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc.: Health Literacy Resources
Each of these fact sheets covers an important aspect of health literacy. The Center for Health Care Strategies prepared these fact sheets in 1997 (revised in 2003). Since then, the number of publications on health literacy has grown exponentially and the issue is now being incorporated into the federal health policy agenda. Search under the keyword “health literacy.”

Council of State Governments (CSG): State Official's Guide to Health Literacy 
This guide reports the results of CSG's 2002 National Survey on Health Literacy Initiatives, a national survey to find out what states are doing to improve health literacy or to make the health care system easier to navigate. The Guide provides an overview of state initiatives as well as information on relevant academic research and successful private-sector initiatives. Readers will gain an understanding of the problem, what can be done to improve health literacy, and how to make the current health care system more accessible to someone with low health literacy. Search under the keyword "health literacy."

Harvard School of Public Health: Health Literacy Studies
Health Literacy Studies (HLS) is a research program of the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL). They are engaged in a variety of activities, studies, and explorations linking health and literacy. Their work is based in public health, health care settings, and adult education programs.

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 issues.

Health Literacy Month: Promoting Understandable Health Communication Around the World
Join with health literacy advocates around the world as, together, we promote the need for understandable health information. Health Literacy Month is a grassroots campaign. in which individuals, organizations, and communities can participate in ways that meet their specific needs.

Healthy People Library Project
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. The health literacy resources listed here have been reviewed and recommended by librarians, health professionals, and other experts.

Institute for Healthcare Advancement
The Institute for Healthcare Advancement is a proactive organization engaging in diverse, innovative, and successful methods of providing education that has a positive impact on the future of health care for all populations. The current evolution in the health care marketplace drives the need to educate both practitioners and consumers on key health care issues and how to successfully address challenges in accessing the health care system.

Institute of Medicine of the National Academies: Health Literacy
Health literacy is where the expectations, preferences and skills of individuals seeking health information meet the expectations, preferences and skills of individuals providing information. Health literacy arises from a convergence of education, health services, and social and cultural factors, and brings together research and practice from diverse fields.

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 Institute of Health 
Helpful materials are available on many aspects of health communication, including strategies and tactics, understanding audiences, and evaluation and planning. One example is this guide available from the National Cancer Institute: Making Health Communication Programs Work: A Planner's Guide.

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.

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.

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.

United States Department of Health and Human Services: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
HRSA’s health literacy activities assist the Agency in accomplishing its mission: to improve and expand access to quality health care for all. HRSA’s health care delivery sites, along with training and education programs, work to reach out to those with low health literacy skills to improve their quality of life. 

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.