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Health Literacy Online

Online Course Fall 2020
September 10, 2020 to October 22, 2020
Thursdays, 5:30-8:30pm EST

Low health literacy is a barrier to effective health communication and contributes to health disparities. National assessments of adult literacy have raised serious concerns about the ability of populations around the world to access and use health information and services. Better understanding of the relationship between health and literacy is essential to the development of effective health communication strategies and outreach. This course explores the links between health literacy, language and culture and how systems barriers impact access to health information and quality health care services. Participants practice writing and speaking in plain language, and consider how to apply health literacy research to practice. The course provides an overview of health literacy interventions being tried in a variety of sectors and explores opportunities for collaboration across fields. This course will be taught using Zoom and Canvas course management system, which are web-based platform accessed through a browser. Zoom and Canvas allow for access to audio, camera, text chat and PowerPoint. All participants will be able to see and hear each other including faculty and the teaching assistant.

At the conclusion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate how poor health literacy impacts health equity
  • Assess written, verbal, and online health information for readability and usability
  • Use plain language in both verbal and written health communication
  • Identify supports that aid health communication across cultures
  • Compare and contrast health literacy initiatives
  • Apply health literacy research to health communication efforts in practice

The course meets online for seven weeks, Thursdays from 5:30-8:30 pm EST. Learning is facilitated through reading, lecture, discussion, web research, and project-based activities.

Contact Sabrina Kurtz-Rossi, Course Director, at for more information.