Advancing Health Literacy: A Framework for Understanding and Action
June 2006, ©2006, Jossey-Bass
1. Health Literacy: Why Is It a Public Health Issue?
Definitions of Key Terms.
The Relationship Between Health and Literacy.
Characteristics of People as Language Users.
2. Advancing Health Literacy: Getting Here from There.
A Brief History: How Did We Get to Health Literacy?
Early Public Health Promotion and Education.
Social Movements and Advocacy in the 1960s and 1970s.
Informed Consumer Decision Making and Community Collaboration in the 1980s and 1990s.
The 21st Century.
3. Defining Health Literacy.
Literacy: Defining Terms.
The Evolving Field of Health Literacy.
A Multidimensional Model of Health Literacy.
4. Literacy at Work.
How Language Works.
Implications for Spoken and Written Health Messages.
5. The Traditional Mass Media.
Introduction to Mass Media.
Media Content: Challenges and Opportunities to Advance Health Literacy.
6. Health Literacy and the Internet.
Internet Use in Health Care.
Potential Disadvantages and Barriers to the Internet for Conveying Health-Related Information.
7. Baby Basics: A Prenatal Program Focusing on Developing Health Literacy.
Healthy Beginnings: Infant and Maternal Health.
The Baby Basics Book and Program.
The Baby Basics Program Model.
8. Anthrax: A Missed Opportunity to Advance Health Literacy.
The American Public Reacts.
The U.S. Postal Service Postcard: A Mixed Success.
Seeking Anthrax Answers on the Internet.
Scientific Uncertainty: A Consistent Challenge.
9. Genomics and Health Literacy.
Understanding and Misunderstanding Genomics: A Review.
10. Highlighting the Role of Civic Literacy: The Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program.
Smoking and Health: The Threat.
Smoking and Health Literacy.
Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program.
11. Highlighting the Role of Cultural Literacy, Part 1: The Changing Face of HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS in the United States.
The Public Dialogue.
The Conflict in Communicating About HIV/AIDS.
Community Planning: The San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
12. Highlighting the Role of Cultural Literacy, Part 2: Diabetes and Native Americans.
How to Be Culturally Relevant.
Diabetes and Native Americans: An Epidemic of Culture.
The Role of Culture in Diabetes Prevention and Care.
The Sioux San Hospital Diabetes Program.
Listening to the Community.
13. Program Evaluation: World Education’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Project.
Adult Basic Education and Health Literacy.
Targeting Breast and Cervical Cancer.
What Is Evaluation?
HEAL:BCC Implementation and Evaluation.
Lessons Learned from the Evaluation.
14. Guidelines for Advancing Health Literacy.
Guideline 1: General.
Guideline 2: Vocabulary.
Guideline 3: Sentences.
Guideline 4: Text Structure.
Guideline 5: Giving Instructions.
Guideline 6: Field Testing.
Guideline 7: Spoken Language.
Guideline 8: Language Translation.
Guideline 9: Web Design.
Guideline 10: Graphics and Layout of Print Materials.
Guideline 11: Media.
Andrew F. Pleasant, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Ecology and the Extension Department of Family and Community Health Sciences at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He previously served as a temporary advisor to the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and actively conducts research both in the United States and internationally.
David S. Greer, M.D., is dean of medicine emeritus, and professor of community health emeritus at the Division of Biology and Medicine, School of Medicine, Brown University. Greer has been a family doctor, researcher, medical school leader, community leader, and mentor to countless health professionals for many decades. He was a founding director of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.
• Need: Fulfills need for a textbook with perspective on health literacy that addresses the most pressing public health issues.
• Breadth: The three authors bring substantial breadth of experience in research, program evaluation, public health, and preventive medicine.
• Methodical: Takes a step-by-step approach to the theory and practice of health literacy from a public health perspective. Chapters cover the history of health literacy, theoretical foundations of health and language literacy, the role of media, analysis of cases, and practical guidelines for development and assessment of health communications materials.
• Ready for the Classroom: Can be a course text for teachers who wish to bring a fresh resource to their classes in health literacy, foundations of health education, health education practice, and other topics, the chapters include exercises for classroom discussion, essays, and activities, all driving home the lessons of that chapter.
"This is one of the most understandable, useful, and practical texts available to assist with developing, implementing, and evaluating community health programs." (Choice, February 2007)
"We recommend that public health directors make this book required reading for everyone in their communications department." (New England Journal of Medicine, February 15, 2007)