Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Helen Osborne's Tips: 8 Ways You Can Improve Health Communication

Tips for December 2005
by Helen Osborne

Reprinted with permission.

Communicating health information effectively takes more than just short words, bullet points, or colorful pictures.

Based on strategies in my book, Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, here are 8 ways you can improve health communication.

1. Know your audience, in general. Begin by getting familiar with the "average" person in your intended audience. This means knowing about literacy level, language, culture, and age. It also means being sensitive to disabilities or emotional issues which may affect how the "average" person understands and uses health information.

2. Tailor communication, in specific. But no one really is "average." After you know where to begin, tailor or adapt communication to meet the needs of each individual. This may be drawing pictographs for someone who speaks limited English. Or teaching just one concept at a time to someone who has trouble concentrating. You can also tailor communication by giving resources to learn more.

... read the remaining tips at Helen Osborne's website: http://www.healthliteracy.com/tip-dec2005.html.

You can order a copy of Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, in any of these ways:

Health Literacy Consulting website at

Amazon.com website at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0763745502/002-0417300-8614462?v=glance&n=283155&n=507846&s=books&v=glance

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Copyright 2005, Jones and Bartlett Publishers,

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Helping people with disabilities find health information

Shelley Hourston, Director of BCCPD's Wellness & Disability Initiative, AIDS & Disability Action Program, and the Health Literacy Network, made a presentation at the Canadian Community Information & Referral Conference in October 2005. Her topic was "Helping People with Disabilities Find Health Information" -- "to explore our perceptions of disability and how they affect communication and information seeking behaviour...and how people with disabilities find health information...."

Disabilities and Health Information--main paper
Barriers & Solutions Tip Sheet
Seeing with New Eyes--Appreciative Storytelling Exercise
Health Literacy Tools & Resources

To download the paper, tip sheet, exercise or resource list, visit the December 5, 2005 Community Alert at the BCCPD website: http://www.bccpd.bc.ca/s/CommunityAlert.asp.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Speak Up! against intolerance

Prejudice and discrimination have a profound effect on our health and ability to ask for the information and help we need. Speak Up! Responding to Everyday Bigotry is a new 80-page guide published by the Teaching Tolerance Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. The guide and many other resources are available at a website called tolerance.org. Materials to promote tolerance and to help cope with bigotry are available for teens, kids, parents and teachers. View or download Speak Up! at http://www.tolerance.org/order_forms/.

Our thanks to Mind Matters: BC Mental Health E-News (Vol 37 January 2006) for alerting us to the great material at
www.tolerance.org. And speaking of great resources, Mind Matters is a terrific source of information in a convenient monthly electronic newsletter produced by the Canadian Mental Health Association's BC Division office (CMHA). Check it out at http://www.cmha.bc.ca/.