[HealthLiteracy 4138] Guest Discussion Next Week on Evaluating and Measuring Health Literacy!

long post

This is a special invitation posted on the HealthLiteracy listserv today, by Julie McKinney, the listserv moderator .    If you aren’t a participant on the listserv, now may be your opportunity.    All information about joining the listserv and next week’s discussion topic are included here.    Julie wrote…

Hi Everyone,

There have been many requests on this list for tools and more information on measuring and evaluating health literacy skills and interventions. As you may have seen, there is not a lot out there in this regard. I have been meaning for a long time to plan a guest discussion on this topic and we are finally doing it!

When: next week, March 8-12

Where: Here on the Health Literacy List

Who: Our guest speaker will be Andrew Pleasant, who is a frequent contributor to this list, co-author of “Advancing Health Literacy: A Framework for Understanding and Action”, a well known trainer, researcher and keynote speaker on health literacy, and the director of health literacy and communication at Canyon Ranch Institute.

Please see this link for more information, or read on below:


And please invite your colleagues to join the list for this discussion!

The link above includes info on how to subscribe to the list.

See below for preparation reading. I hope you will all join us and add your ideas and knowledge to this important topic!

All the best,



Evaluating and Measuring Health Literacy

Health Literacy Discussion List – Guest Discussion

March 8-12, 2010

Measuring health literacy is a tricky and complicated process. In part, this is because there are so many aspects to potentially include in an evaluation methodology. The challenge of measuring health literacy is also compounded by the many contexts in which health literacy can be evaluated – from different diseases to different stages of life to different health system contexts. Further, there is the two-sided nature of health literacy: We can focus on measuring the health literacy of individuals as patients, but we should also focus on measuring the health literacy of health professionals and health systems as it relates to their ability to serve their patient population.

There are several existing screeners of health literacy at the moment, and more are under development. But the field as a whole is still working on coming to a consensus on what should be measured, how it should be measured, and who should be evaluated.

In this discussion we will collectively explore the existing screeners and measures of health literacy and discuss their uses and limitations.

We will also discuss the elements of what a rigorous measure of health literacy might focus on and what kinds of conceptual work and rigorous testing are needed to in order to continue to collectively advance the field of health literacy.

Guest Speaker: Andrew Pleasant

Andrew Pleasant is the director of health literacy and communication at Canyon Ranch Institute. See Andrew’s bio here:


Preparation Reading:

Measuring health literacy: A challenge to curriculum design and evaluation This article explores the challenges to developing measures of health literacy and evaluations of health literacy curricula and other interventions.


Julie McKinney; Health Literacy List Moderator;

World Education                       jmckinney@worlded.org


further posting on 3/4/10

Hi Everyone,

As you know, we are having a discussion next week on Evaluating and Measuring Health Literacy. To prepare for this, here are some questions to think about, and some additional reading/viewing materials to look at before we start. (See below) I invite you all to send in your own questions or issues that you would like to see addressed.

I also want to remind you that, whille Andrew will be facilitating the discussion, we do rely on input from all of you to make it a fully inclusive exploration of this topic. If there are measures that you have used or heard about that do not come up, please bring them up! If you have thoughts that differ from what is being said, then put them out there!

I am really looking forward to this, because evaluating and measuring HL is something that has come up so often, and is something that requires more work and development in order to advance this field.

Thanks fo participating.

All the best,



See the full discussion announcement at this link:



Discussion Questions

1.  What kinds of measures or screeners do you need in your work, and why?

2.  Who and what do we need to measure? (Just patients’ abilities or those of providers? How about systems?)

3.  Do we focus on specific skills – and if so which ones? Or, do we focus on the predicted outcomes of health literacy? (In both cases, are they the same for measuring patients vs. providers?)

4.  What components would you include in an ideal measurement or screening tool – and why – and how?

5.  How can we create tools that work equally well across different contexts?

6.   How can we best continue to advance the field of health literacy given the disparate screening and measurement tools that exist?

Together, we will discuss the responses to these questions, but also address any or all of the following possible topics as interest and participation suggests:

*   Overview and discussion of current screening/measurement tools

*   Uses and limitations of each (include why it’s not appropriate to screen in waiting rooms)

*   What they used in the National Adult Literacy Survey

*   Given the existing measures, how can we evaluate a specifically targeted intervention in a way that is comparable across projects? Do we care to do so? (For example, a curricula taught in and adult lit class, OR a training of health center personnel?)

*   Building a dream tool: What does it need / what do we need to do it?

Additional preparatory materials:

A perspective piece on health literacy put out by Canyon Ranch Institute and more resource and publication links are available at  http://www.canyonranchinstitute.org/perspectives/healthlit

A presentation by Andrew Pleasant to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Roundtable on health literacy sponsored Workshop on measures of health literacy is available at (note this is an Adobe Acrobat pdf file) www.canyonranchinstitute.org/objects/pdfs/Health-Literacy-Presentation-IOM.pdf

Other presentations at that workshop are available at www.iom.edu/Activities/PublicHealth/HealthLiteracy/2009-FEB-26.aspx

The workshop summary is available atwww.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12690

Andrew Pleasant’s article on the National Adult Literacy Survey’s health literacy results and analysis published in Focus on Basics is available at www.canyonranchinstitute.org/objects/pdfs/fob_9b-5.pdf


National Institute for Literacy

Health and Literacy mailing list HealthLiteracy@nifl.gov

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