October is Health Literacy Month. This is a worldwide awareness campaign dedicated to promoting understandable health information. In the U.S. there is a significant gap between the way health care information is communicated and the ability of most people to understand it. Nearly 9 of 10 adults have difficulty using routine health information. When people struggle to clearly understand how to prevent and manage health problems, they are more likely to make mistakes with their medicine, mismanage chronic diseases like diabetes, skip important medical tests and visit the emergency room more often. They are also less likely to participate in medical research.

LA CaTS is unique among research centers in teaching health literacy skills to providers and researchers across the State to improve communication with patients. For the last five years we have taught workshops to more than 400 health professionals to help them develop more patient-centered written and electronic health information as well as simpler consent documents. LA CaTS is continuing to work with patients and providers to develop culturally appropriate health and research information that is easy to find, understand, and use.

To contact the LA CaTS Health Literacy Core, email literacy@LACaTS.org or visit the Health Literacy Core webpage for more information.