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Improving Health Literacy: Training Resources

Provides resources for training, evaluation, and writing for those who teach and advocate for health literacy. Also provides sources of information on quantitative health literacy research and methods.

For purchase or download

AMA Foundation provides a Health Literacy Kit which can be purchased.  It provides for 2.5 Level 1 credits.  A manual for clinicians (PDF) can be downloaded at no cost. The Manual "Health literacy and patient safety: Help patients understand" provides a broad view with content ranging from background data, implications of poor health literacy, and remedies/solutions/approaches to address the issue .


AHRQ has a health literacy curriculum for pharmacists: Strategies to Improve Communication between Pharmacy Staff and Patients: Training Program for Pharmacy Staff. It includes a slide set and a trainer's guide. It focuses on communication on medication, but could be used with clinicians other than pharmacists.


The Medical Library Association provides extensive information on meeting the challenges of poor health literacy.  Resources include short and long PowerPoint presentations which can be use for instruction for health information providers and a variety of supportive materials.  Links are also provided to several resources for teaching consumers how to search for and evaluate health information on the internet. Announced in July is the addition of a free online tutorial.

Virginia Adult Education Health Literacy Toolkit is a resource to help adult instructors and better understand the problem of health literacy. It is designed to support creative approaches to help learners increase health literacy as they engage in sound, productive adult literacy instruction. Information and resources are provided to educate the educator about health care in the United States and cultural issues relating to health, and to simplify creation of health lessons and curricula for teachers and programs.

Wikis, Blogs, Listservs and Social Media

Adult Literacy Education (ALE) Wiki Includes discussion of adult literacy education, including English language learning,health literacy, numeracy, and adult basic and secondary education. Add knowledge from your experience teaching or tutoring adult learners, from research or professional wisdom, or from your experience as an adult learner. The ALE Wiki is a community of practice with links to research for practitioners, researchers, learners and others.


ZarcBark, a blog written by Christina Zarcadoolas, PhD, a sociolinguist.


National Institute for Literacy Listservs


The Health Literacy Month blog features stories about why health literacy matters. Health Literacy Month is also on facebook and twitter.


Health Literacy – for health and well being - Reflections on the importance of health literacy awareness and how it impacts nearly 50% of the US population.


Michigan Health Literacy Awareness Training Program

"This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. N01-LM-6-3503 with the University of Illinois at Chicago.” 

Training Courses

HRSA offers a free online couse for Health Communication.

Nation Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy. Teaching and Training Materials.

New York / New Jersey Public Health Training Center offers an online course for Health Literacy and Public Health.

The University of New England Health Literacy Institute provides 17 contact hours, certified on completion. An opportunity to learn a spectrum of plain language skills to create vibrant print communications.

World Education Online offers an online tutorial for Health Literacy

Health Literacy Websites

Ask Me 3  from the Partnership for Clear Health Communication at the National Patient Safety Foundation.

Helen Osborne's Health Literacy Consulting with a free newsletter, podcasts, Health Literacy Month information, and publications links.

Nebraska Methodist College Health Literacy Resources

Pharmacy Specific Resources

Agency for Health Caree Research and Quality. Pharmacy Health Literacy Center.

Agency for Health Caree Research and Quality. Is Our Pharmacy Meeting Patients' Needs? Pharmacy Health Literacy Assessment Tool User's Guide

Great Books

Doak, Cecilia Conrath, Leonard G. Doak, and Jane H. Root. Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1996.

Kars, Marge, Lynda Baker, and Feleta L. Wilson. The Medical Library Association Guide to Health Literacy. Medical Library Association guides. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2008.

Osborne, Helen. Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett, 2005.

Nielsen-Bohlman, Lynn, Allison M. Panzer, and David A. Kindig. Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2004.

Purcell-Gates, Victoria. Other People's Words: The Cycle of Low Literacy. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1995.

Zarcadoolas, Christina, Andrew F. Pleasant, and David S. Greer.
Advancing Health Literacy: A Framework for Understanding and Action. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006.