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Health Literacy

According to research from the U. S. Department of Education, only 12 percent of English speaking adults in the United States have proficient health literacy skills. The overwhelming majority of adults have difficulty understanding and using everyday health information that comes from many sources, including the media, web sites, nutrition and medicine labels as well as from health professionals.

The WVGEC and the CAMC Health Education and Research Institute jointly sponsor the annual Interdisciplinary Health Professionals Health Literacy Training Program. The target audience for this training program includes physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, allied health professionals, and direct care workers who care for and interact with older adults about their health. For more information, please contact us at wvgec@hsc.wvu.edu.


At the completion of the health literacy training program, participants will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate increased knowledge of health literacy issues, including prevalence of low literacy and the associated impact on health outcomes
  2. Identify environmental barriers to patients with limited literacy in the clinical practice setting
  3. Demonstrate verbal communication skills needed for working with limited or low health literacy older adults
  4. Demonstrate effective strategies in teaching and providing feedback
  5. Develop an action plan to implement learned strategies into either student teaching, patient/client encounters, a practice setting environment or community education.

2015 Health Literacy Training Brochure


Health Literacy Resources

"Health Literacy and the WVGEC" presented by Mark Newbrough, MD and Mary Emmett, PhD.

"Help your clients understand: A dual role for the social worker" Nancy Daugherty, WVGEC Associate Director

"Caring for Patients with Limited Health Literacy: A 76-Year-Old Man With Multiple Medical Problems" from the September 2011 issue of JAMA

Health Literacy Impact Webinars - The WV Geriatric Education Center partnered with WV Medical Institute, West Virginia's Medicare quality improvement organization, in May and June of 2013 to conduct a three-part webinar series for health professionals working in a variety of healthcare settings. View "The Health Literacy Impact: Improving Quality in Care Transitions" for free from your own computer or facility.

Health Literate Medication Reconciliation toolkit - The AHRQ-funded, Multi-Center Medication Reconciliation Quality Improvement Study (MARQUIS) has produced a set of medication reconciliation tools to reduce medication errors that frequently occur during care transitions. The toolkit includes The MARQUIS Implementation Manual: A Guide for Medication Reconciliation Quality Improvement.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Health Literacy: Accurate, Accessible and Actionable for All website: 

Free online course for health professionals on health literacy from the Health Resources and Services Administration: