Health Information Literacy
"as many as half of all adults in all socio-economic
levels struggle with health literacy"
Wall Street Journal, July 3, 2003
The popular media and professional journals alike are
increasingly carrying reports and studies of the difficulties and frustrations
health professionals and patients face in coping with the barrage of available
information in a way that results in informed health care decisions.
There is a huge need to bring sense to the information
universe if MLA's vision of "quality information for improved health"
is to be achieved. There is at the same time a significant gap in the
awareness by the public and by opinion-leaders and decision-makers of
the contributions that health sciences librarians can make (and are making)
to bring order to the chaos.
Resources for Health and Information Professionals
- Now available: Two health information literacy tutorials "Prescription for Information: Addressing Health Information Literacy!" and "Prescription: Information! Librarians Working with Health Professionals to Improve Health Information Literacy" were developed by Gail Kouame, Consumer Health Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Northwest Region, for MLA's Health Information Literacy (HIL) Research Project. The first tutorial is for health care providers and the second is for health sciences librarians working with health care providers on health literacy and health information literacy issues. Both emphasize the importance of health literacy and the challenges patients face in understanding medical terminology, the impact that low health literacy has on patient care, health information resources, and health literacy services provided by health sciences librarians. Based upon the health information literacy curriculum, "Putting Information into Health Literacy," developed by Sabrina Kurtz-Rossi for the MLA HIL project, the tutorials are free,but require registration. The tutorials are funded through a contract with the National Library of Medicine: HHSN276200663511/NO1-LM-6-3511.
- Health Information Literacy Curriculum
The original Health Information Literacy
Curriculum was developed as part of MLA's Health Information Literacy Research
Project under a contract with the National Library of Medicine and includes
a Powerpoint slide show, a detailed script, notes for presenters, background
reading, and tips for librarians, including and ideas quotes from the pilot
site librarians that tested the curriculum. There
are two versions that can be used with health
care professionals in your institution. Please send any feedback about the
curriculum to Jean
Pugh Shipman, AHIP, FMLA, Co-Principal Investigator for the project.
- National Institute
on Aging Toolkit for Trainers
Developed by the National Institute on Aging, the Toolkit for Trainers is
a free, web-based Internet training program that librarians and computer instructors
can use to teach older adults how to access reliable health and wellness information
online. The set of free lesson plans, student handouts, and trainer tools
are available in pdf format from the NIHSeniorHealth
- Savvy Searching
for Senior Health (printer-friendly handout )
Tips for helping seniors find reliable health information online
- Adult Education
Health Literacy Toolkit, Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center
- Communicating Health Information
Literacy, a communications plan developed by MLA's Task Force on Health
- Fact Sheet for health
- Health Literacy
- Internet Resources: Health Literacy, a compendium of resources compiled by Cotina M. Jones, O’Kelly Library, Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC, for the May 2009 MLA News
- Literacy and Information
- "Low Health Literacy:
How it Impacts your Patients," by Jean Blackwell, includes tips on
improving communication with patients .
- MLA's Health Information Literacy program: a brochure
- National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus Health
- "Reading Between the Lines: Focusing on Health Information Literacy"
MLA teleconference resources
- Become a specialist with MLA's Consumer
Health Information Specialization! For medical librarians, public librarians,
librarians working in consumer health libraries, and allied health professionals
Resources for Health Consumers