Blogs

IHA Blogs

The Aha! Moment of Not Knowing

The Aha! Moment of Not Knowing by Marguerite DeBello , PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, CNE I would like to admit something … I don’t know everything. This past summer, my mother ended up in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with an unusual infection in her neck and throat resulting in her intubation. This was complicated by her respiratory sarcoidosis. ICU is not my background. As I sat there, the physicians and nurses were trying to explain to me what was going on. I realized that at this moment in time I was no longer the nurse, educator, and expert I like to think of myself as. You see, there were technology and protocols that I had only read about but never experienced. ...
What the Pandemic Taught Me About Health Literacy by Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting our failures to communicate health and scientific information in plain language. These failures have further eroded trust in research, public health, and the medical establishment, particularly among people I serve in underserved communities. But there is a silver lining: People are paying attention and are hungrier than ever for understandable and usable health information. They want our support to improve their health literacy. However, the pandemic has taught me why we must do better. My experiences walking the streets and hosting ”Ask the ...
Legally Speaking: The 21st Century Cures Act Draft Legislation – Giving a Voice to Health Literacy by  Karen Alicia Shaw , J.D., LL.M. October is Health Literacy Month! This is an exciting time to celebrate and to promote health literacy awareness. Over the past year, two great things have happened for health literacy. First, in August 2020, the Healthy People 2030 initiative expanded its definition of health literacy by incorporating organizational health literacy . This marked the first time in 20 years that the definition of health literacy had been expanded. Since then, healthcare organizations have been implementing the new health ...
Celebrating Health Literacy Month: 7 Ways to Raise Awareness by Julie McKinney , What is Health Literacy Month? Every October for the past 20 years, we’ve been celebrating Health Literacy Month ! Maybe it doesn’t come with pumpkins, fireworks, dancing, or gift-giving...but it’s an exciting month with lots going on in the health literacy (HL) community! Health Literacy Month is a way to recognize the importance of making health information easier to understand and act on; and to come together as organizations and communities to raise health literacy awareness and help make that happen. Many organizations plan special events or projects at this time ...
October is Health Literacy Month by Helen Osborne, M.Ed., OTR/L October is Health Literacy Month. This annual event is a time when organizations and individuals worldwide raise awareness about the importance of understandable health information. The idea behind Health Literacy Month is the same now as it was when I first proposed it in 1999--for health literacy advocates everywhere to speak with a shared voice about why health literacy matters. Doing so together not only conveys a sense of urgency but also can generate media attention when many people speak about the same topic at the same time. There are infinite ways to participate in Health ...
By DeJuan Patterson, MPA Who I Am and Who I Represent I am a Baltimore-based advocate and credible messenger. Credible messengers are trusted neighborhood leaders and experienced community advocates with relevant life experiences who help community members transform their attitudes and behaviors around a public policy issue.  I leverage my unique experience as a government affairs professional and grassroots leader with a history of frontline advocacy to address public issues in my city. My personal journey following my experience with gun violence taught me the importance of having a voice and developing my own agency as it related to my medical treatment ...
By Janet Ohene-Frempong In a time of turmoil: Back in the summer of 2020, I was invited to give a keynote presentation at the Colorado Health Literacy Coalition’s virtual conference, and was kindly given some leeway regarding what to talk about. We were in the midst of a raging pandemic. Minorities had been dying from COVID-19 in a magnitude that garnered national attention. In March, Breonna Taylor had been ambushed and killed while sleeping in her own house. George Floyd had been publicly executed in May, over the use of a possibly counterfeit 20-dollar bill. Massive protests were taking place all around the globe. And we were facing what many thought ...
By Marian Ryan, PhD, MA, MPH Juneteenth (Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Juneteenth Independence Day) President Joe Biden signed legislation on June 17, 2021, proclaiming Juneteenth, June 19, a federal paid holiday. IHA recognizes Juneteenth as an important day in our history and an important one for working toward equity, especially health equity by  committing to continued research into inclusive best practices in health literacy and facilitating policies to promote their implementation. History Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. However, the actual proclamation was declared ...
By Barbra Kingsley   An elderly neighbor recently asked me for advice on a letter she had received about her health insurance. She couldn’t understand what she had paid, what the insurance company had paid, or what needed to happen next. She was also concerned – fearing she may be liable for a payment she needed to make. We went over the (very confusing) letter together, and I told her that she was fine. It didn’t appear she owed anything further and, if she did, they would likely send her another, equally confusing letter. We had a laugh, but then she suddenly became quite serious. “You know, Barbra, I guess I’m not very smart. I couldn't even understand ...