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All Relevant Resources for Health Workforce Development

Resource: The Health Literacy of America’s Adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy

This document, published by the United States National Center for Education Statistics, is a report on the results of the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy.

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Resource: Bridging the Health Literacy Gap. Health Literacy for Better Public Health [US]

This is the health literacy blog from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The purpose of the blog is to stimulate ideas for new work in public health and health literacy, build relationships and community, and discuss our successes and challenges in real time. A variety of topics are covered including plain language in the emergency room, attributes of a health literate organisation, writing health literate materials, and health literacy around the world. Most entries are written by Cynthia Baur.

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Resource: “Following the Physician’s Recommendations Faithfully and Accurately:” Functional Health Literacy, Compliance, and the Knowledge-Based Economy

This article by Sondra Cuban is a critical analysis of functional health literacy and provides insight into the challenges of health literacy.

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Resource: “This does my head in”. Ethnographic study of self-management by people with diabetes

This study by Hinder & Greenhalgh (2012) provides a richer understanding of how people live with diabetes and why self-management is challenging for some. They find that self-management of diabetes is physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially demanding, and without support can be a difficult task to undertake.

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Resource: 18 Stethoscopes, 1 Heart Murmur and Many Missed Connections

This article from The New York Times is written by a patient who talks about her experience with medical students and their bed-side manner. It highlights the importance of human connection, allowing the patient to engage with health professionals to build an understanding of the health.

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Resource: 4th Biennial Wisconsin Health Literacy Summit. April 12 -13, 2011 [US]

Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. and the Wisconsin Research and Education Network (WREN) were pleased to co-present the 4th Biennial Wisconsin Health Literacy Summit on April 12-13, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. The theme was: Health literacy as the foundation for health care transformation. This event brought together international voices in the fields of health care, adult literacy and health care policy to address health literacy from an interdisciplinary perspective.

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Resource: 5th Biennial Wisconsin Health Literacy Summit. April 9-10, 2013 [US]

Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. and the Wisconsin Research and Education Network (WREN) were pleased to co-present the 5th Biennial Wisconsin Health Literacy Summit on April 9-10, 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. The theme was: Changing Systems, Changing Lives. This event brought together nationally important voices in the fields of health care, adult literacy and health care policy to address health literacy from an interdisciplinary perspective.

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Resource: A Conversation on Cultural Competence with Cindy Brach, Senior Health Policy Researcher, AHRQ

This dialogue with Cindy Brach discusses the importance of health literacy initiatives being recognised and implemented alongside cultural competence in interventions. Brach focuses in this case on interactions of minorities in the health system, and barriers that can be overcome using a culturally competent and health literacy approach.

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Resource: A Framework for Health Literacy – 2015 [NZ]

This framework, from the Ministry of Health, outlines expectations for the health system, health organisations and all of the health workforce to take action that: * supports a ‘culture shift’ so that health literacy is core business at all levels of the health system * reduces health literacy demands and recognises that good health literacy practice contributes to improved health outcomes and reduced health costs. This resource accompanies the Ministry's new resource: Health Literacy Review: A guide.

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Resource: A health literacy fable for tomorrow: help the world be healthy with health literacy. Discussion paper – 2014 [US]

This discussion paper (3 pages), by Andrew Pleasant, was written for the Institute of Medicine's Roundtable on Health Literacy. In this paper the author tells the story of an American town that lost health literacy and the health care system went from an emphasis on health care to sick care. The author argues that health literacy can create a path to a happy, healthy future in which good health is not only a human right but also well within everyone’s reach.

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Resource: A Maturing Partnership

In this article by Rudd (2002) she traces early innovations in the connection between literacy and health, through some current activities, and provides some suggestions for next steps in the development.

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Resource: A new adaptive testing algorithm for shortening health literacy assessments

This article by Kandula et al (2011) describes the development of a new procedure for testing health literacy levels. They found that by using measurement decision theory (MDT), they were able to create an accurate test for health literacy which was 50% shorter than previous tests.

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Resource: A Prescription Is Not Enough: Improving Public Health with Health Literacy (PDF of presentation). Andrew Pleasant – 2013 [US]

This is the presentation that accompanied the unveiling of Pleasant et al's paper "A Prescription Is Not Enough: Improving Public Health with Health Literacy". This paper was commissioned by the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy for their workshop "Implications of Health Literacy for Public Health: A Workshop" (November 21, 2013 in Irvine, California).

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Resource: A Prescription Is Not Enough: Improving Public Health with Health Literacy – 2013 [US]

This paper, by Pleasant et al (2013), was commissioned by the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy for their workshop "Implications of Health Literacy for Public Health: A Workshop". Health literacy is always present, but too often neglected. This paper focuses on the use - and the lack of use - of health literacy within efforts to address public health in the United States. In particular, this article focuses on efforts within state, local, tribal, and territorial public health organisations. Overall, while a growing body of evidence strongly suggests that health literacy can be effective in public health when explicitly addressed, the concept and associated best practices of health literacy do not seem to be consistently or universally used within public health organisations. As a result, the effectiveness of state, local, tribal, and territorial public health efforts is reduced and public health suffers.

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Resource: A Qualitative Analysis of Health Literacy Issues among Women with Visual Impairments

This article by Harrison et al (2010) provides insight into a qualitative analysis of 15 interviews with women in an attempt to discover what health literacy issues they may have. The women voiced that barriers to their ability to gain information in a format amenable to their processing skills, combined with barriers arising from healthcare providers’ attitudes, undermined their ability to build health literacy capacity

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Resource: A questioned authority meets well-informed pregnant women – a qualitative study examining how midwives perceive their role in dietary counselling – 2015 [Swe]

This article, by Wennberg et al, summarises interviews with midwives about their perceptions of their role in providing pregnant women with dietary advice. Functional, interactive and judgmental health literacy are discussed as concepts and in relation to the midwives opinions on the ability of their patients' to understand and evaluate health information they receive from the Internet and other sources. Despite that pregnant women in Europe are reported to have high health literacy, midwives in this study described pregnant women as being in need of hands-on guidance to interpret health information, since they did not fully trust their patients ability to make good judgments. Sometimes they even tried to stop them from seeking information on their own. Patients with literacy issues and from low socio-economic backgrounds were considered the hardest to counsel. Midwives felt their authority undermined by the Internet and their patients, and that they lacked appropriate training to answer requests for nutritional advice. The researchers conclude that midwives’ authoritarian / directive role may obstruct the women’s needs to manage the dietary recommendations and risk evaluation in a women-centred dialogue. Midwives need to acknowledge pregnant women as both well informed and skilled if they are going to develop woman-centred antenatal care. Ongoing training and self-reflection will be needed to make this change.

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Resource: A Review of Health Literacy and Diabetes: Opportunities for Technology

This article by Boren (2009) reviews literature on health literacy and diabetes, as well as identifies opportunities for technology to strengthen information skills and modify behavior to improve diabetes health outcomes. It is noted that there is a connection between health literacy and diabetes but further research needs to be done. It is also stated that technology could help mediate the effect that limited health literacy has on diabetes-related health outcomes.

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Resource: A survey of how patient-perceived empathy affects the relationship between health literacy and the understanding of information by orthopedic patients? [Taiwan]

There is a lack of research examining patient-perceived empathy and its effect on low-literacy patients’ understanding of health information. This Taiwanese study (by Chu and Tseng 2013) investigated the moderating effect of patient-perceived empathy on the relationship between health literacy and understanding of preoperative information. The authors found that a focus on improving physician–patient empathy skills could be beneficial in helping to overcome the negative consequences associated with limited health-literacy capabilities. Chu and Tseng (2013) recommend that healthcare providers who wish to improve the understanding of information by low health-literacy patients should first identify components of their empathic communication mechanisms, and then try to refine these skills to better serve their patients.

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Resource: A Systematic Review of Asthma and Health Literacy: A Cultural-Ethnic Perspective in Canada

In order to find links between asthma and health literacy in a cultural/ethnicity perspective, Poureslami et al (2007) performed a systematic review of all publications on the topic of asthma, health, and literacy among cultural groups from 1980 to 2006 using the Internet and journals. They conclude that there is an urgent need to better define the impact of cultural and ethnic issues in the management of asthma in Canada. Appropriately designed studies should better define the barriers in the optimal delivery of asthma care influenced by these parameters.

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Resource: A systematic review of interventions in primary care to improve health literacy for chronic disease behavioral risk factors

This article by Taggart et al (2012) is a systematic review of health literacy interventions in primary care used to improve the health literacy of adults, and support change in behaviours such as smoking, nutrition, alcohol, physical activity, and weight.

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