The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (AHRQ is an agency within HHS) has generated many documents addressing health literacy initiatives.
1) The Healthy People 2010 health literacy objectives released in Jan. 2000 were/are crucial. They have been the foundation for everything we’ve done in health literacy at HHS. www.healthypeople.gov, see Focus Area 11. We expect to continue with health literacy objectives in Healthy People 2020.
2) The NIH National Library of Medicine first and second health literacy bibliographies released in 2000 and 2004. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/resources.html
3) The National Cancer Institute’s Making Health Communication Programs Work, which incorporated elements of NCI’s earlier Clear and Simple. http://www.cancer.gov/pinkbook
4) The 2003 health literacy action plan in Communicating Health: Priorities and Strategies for Progress, http://odphp.osophs.dhhs.gov/projects/healthcomm/objective2.htm
5) NAAL: HHS supported the development of the health literacy component of the NAAL. Health literacy as its own segment wasn’t part of the original NAAL planning, but HHS worked closely with the U.S. Department of Education to create it.
6) 2003 Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Oral Health includes multiple references to oral health literacy http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/oralhealth/nationalcalltoaction.html
7) The National Institutes of Health’s Program Announcement in Health Literacy Research, which laid out research topics and provided the first focused funding for new health literacy research http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-07-020.html
8) The HHS Office of Minority Health’s National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) http://www.omhrc.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=15
9) The Unified Health Communication training from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which integrates health literacy, cultural competence and clear communication http://www.hrsa.gov/healthliteracy/training.htm
10) 2006 Surgeon General’s Workshop on Improving Health Literacy http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/healthliteracy/toc.html
11) Four town halls on local health literacy activities and visions of a health literate society, meeting notes http://www.health.gov/communication/literacy/TownHall/default.htm
12) There are also slide sets, an issue brief, more draft action plans and other resources at www.health.gov/communication/literacy
CDC has in the works a report of an expert panel on older adults and health literacy that should be available this fall and an online training module called Health literacy for Public Health Professionals that we expect to release in Oct.
The HHS Health Literacy Workgroup is finalizing a National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy that we hope will be released before the end of the year.
[submitted to the Health Literacy Listserv by Cynthia Baur, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Health Communication and Marketing;
National Center for Health Marketing; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services