Publications and Reports

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Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc. (CHCS) 2005


Quick Guide to Health Literacy

U.S. Dept. Of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Health Literacy Basics Website (factsbasic.pdf)

Health Literacy and Health Outcomes Website (factsliteracy.pdf)


Institute of Medicine (February, 2012)


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Read in more depth about health literacy from various angles.


Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills
Doak, L., Doak, C., & Root, J. (1996). Teaching patients with low literacy skills (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott.

Long known as a classic health literacy manual, this book is still relevant today. Available to download from the Harvard University School of Public Health’s Health Literacy Studies website.


Advancing Health Literacy: A Framework for Understanding and Action

Zarcadoolas, C., Pleasant, A. & Greer, D. (2006). Advancing health literacy: A framework for understanding and action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
This book thoroughly examines the critical role of literacy in public health and outlines a practical, effective model that bridges the gap between health education, health promotion, and health communication.


Health Literacy from A to Z, Second Edition: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message

Osborne, H. (2011). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
Designed for the busy health professional, this book is filled with ideas and strategies for effective health communication.


Health Literacy in Primary Care: A Clinician’s Guide

Mayer, G. and Villaire, M. (2007) New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
This books shows how to improve communication with low-literacy patients, through examples, tips and practical advice.


Plain Language Pediatrics: Health Literacy Strategies and Communication Resources for Common Pediatric Topics

Abrams, M.A. and Dreyer, B. (2009) American Academy of Pediatrics.

This book addresses how clinicians can better communicate with children and families. It includes tools like easy-to-read patient education handouts.


Helping Patients Understand Risks: 7 Simple Strategies for Successful Communication

Paling, J. (2006). Gainesville, FL: The Ri sk Communications Institute.
Targeted toward physicians, but helpful to anyone who does patient education, this book gets the points across with humor and simplicity.


The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Fadiman, A. (2002). New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
This novel about a Hmong family’s experience with the U.S. health care system is a literary “poster child” for health literacy and cultural competency.


Understanding Health Literacy: Implications for Medicine and Public Health

Schwartzberg, J. G., VanGeest, J. B., & Wang, C. C. (2004). Chicago: American Medical Association.
This book provides an overview of health literacy in health care, patient-physician communications, and issues involving health care delivery.