National Health Literacy Month

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This month, we’re celebrating “National Health Literacy Month,” which promotes the importance of creating and recognizing health information that is accessible and easy to understand.

Health Literacy Month was created due to a substantial gap between the way health care issues are communicated to the public and the ability for people to understand them as health care professionals intended. In other words, due to the gap, many people are more likely to fail to understand the best way to prevent and manage health conditions and as a result, may be more likely to overlook medical tests that are necessary to staying healthy or preventing negative health conditions later in life.

As the years progressed on from its original conception, various healthcare organizations, coalitions for health literacy, organized community services, agencies in the government, schools and universities and countless other organizations have contributed to the growth of the Health Literacy Month. By operating events and workshops, these organizations help citizens, students, professionals and community leaders become more aware of the health information they have access to and how to better utilize that information.

The 2016 Theme of the Health Literacy Month

Every year has a special theme assigned to the Health Literacy Month. This year, in 2016, the theme of the month is to “Be a Health Literacy Hero.” This year’s emphasis is all about finding ways to improve the communication of health and information within the community and taking action to make it a reality. Whether you start small within your family or embark on larger ventures to get organizations and the rest of the city, it all contributes to the goal of the Health Literacy Month.

You can get started in your own community, whether small or large, by identifying any health literacy issues in that particular community and taking any type of action towards resolving them for the better. If you find other people (other Health Literacy Heroes), you can acknowledge their efforts, cheer them on, or provide support in other ways.

You Can Help!

To really dive into the Health Literacy Month and become a Health Literacy Hero, there are many ways you can get involved to improve not only your personal health, but drive up awareness of health literacy in your community.

  • Raise awareness about why health literacy matters in the home and community.
  • Improve the quality of communication between you (or your family) and your doctors and healthcare professionals.
  • Ask local community members how to find relevant health information. For example, you could go to your local library and ask for information about health.
  • Libraries can be a great place to find other community initiatives that focus on improving health and health literacy. Organizations within the city may also be keeping up to date with the Health Literacy Month and you can either attend or support these community initiatives.
  • If you don’t see any meetings or workshops focused on health literacy, you can start one of your own! You can reach out to other health-oriented organizations about partnering to create a community workshop or talk about health literacy.
  • Contact local schools and educational groups and encourage them to help promote the Health Literacy Month, the importance of maintaining communication with doctors, and the best ways to build health literacy.
  • Build your own community of Health Literacy Heroes. By working together with other people, you can get a lot more done and it will help you to stay connected to your health literacy goals.

There are many ways you can get involved in your community and can become a Health Literacy Hero. Chances are you already have a few ideas of your own, even if they’re small at first. Any act that you can do for yourself, your family and your community is a way to build upon the goal of the Health Literacy Month.

If you have questions about health literacy or want to find new ways to get involved in your own community, give us a call today!

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