History of Health Literacy – Part 2

We continue our exploration from Wednesday, November 18th with the follow.

An overview/health literacy history article: “Health Literacy: A Review” by Andrus and Roth was published in the Journal of Pharmacotherapy, Volume 22, Number 3, 2002.    It provides a comprehensive history of health literacy up to the year 2002.

Rima Rudd, also a well-known advocate for health literacy, wrote an overview of the growing partnership between health providers and literacy providers around issues of health literacy in 2002 in “Focus on Basics” http://www.ncsall.net/index.php?id=247

The book Advancing Health Literacy 2006  (Zarcadoolas, Pleasant, Greer); Jossey-Bass has a chapter entitled “Advancing Health Literacy: Getting Here From There”, which provides another historical overview of health literacy.

Also, Dr. Pleasant gave a brief history during a National Institute for Literacy Webinar titled “Advancing Health Literacy: Meeting the Needs of Adult Learners.” You can read the transcript here: http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/webcasts/health08/health08transcript.pdf (see top of page 4 in the reference).

In 2007, for the “Review of Adult Learning and Literacy” Volume 7, Chapter 6, Dr. Rudd wrote a review of the medical and health literature. The Review is available from Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

I found this recent article.   Bankson, H. (2009). “Health literacy: an exploratory bibliometric analysis, 1997-2007”. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 97(2), 148-150.

Len Doak mentioned there were only 5 articles written in the 1970s regarding health literacy.   I recently did a search in several databases with the following results:   CINAHL Plus with Full Text 2019; MEDLINE 905;  MedlinePlus 117; PsycInfo 201.   It is interesting to note, PsycInfo is the only database with a subject heading “Health Literacy”.   Text word searching is used in the other databases!

Studying history can be fun.    It has been an amazing journey with much still to learn, policy to be developed, funding to obtain, awareness to be heightened and citizens to teach.   I encourage you to begin your own journey on that road through the history of health literacy.   It is fascinating!

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