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why health literacy matters

Health literacy is the ability to find, understand, evaluate, communicate, and use health information to make informed decisions about your health. It is a stronger predictor of individual health status than age, income, employment status, education level or racial/ethnic group, and it impacts everyone.*

Addressing challenges related to healthy literacy is a priority in Pennsylvania. Health care providers, community organizations, regional coalitions, and many other stakeholders have long recognized the need to improve health communication in the Commonwealth. In 2014, growing interest in a statewide coalition led the Pennsylvania Department of Health to provide funding to establish the Pennsylvania Health Literacy Coalition (PAHLC). The Health Care Improvement Foundation serves as the lead organization for the PAHLC. Major PAHLC priorities to date include establishing strong cross-sector partnerships, empowering patients to access the health information they need to thrive, and influencing provider and system-level change to create a culture of health literacy. The ultimate goal of these activities is to improve health communication and ensure good health for all.  Please see our Resources page for more information on supporting patients and providers to address health literacy needs.

The Pennsylvania Health Literacy Coalition is an initiative of the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF), funded by a Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH). Click here to read more about HCIF’s regional health literacy initiatives.

*Health Literacy and Patient Safety: Help Patients Understand, American Medical Association Foundation, 2007

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