Health Literacy Policy

Health Literacy and Interprofessional Education (IPE)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Interprofessional Education occurs when two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care.” The Center for Health Literacy recognizes the importance of IPE in achieving population health. The following health literacy activities are providing educational and policy level support for IPE at UAMS.

  • Health Literacy for Health Professionals (PBHL 5183). This IPE course provides an overview of health literacy and factors that contribute to health literacy. The impact of health literacy on individuals, communities, populations, and health systems will be addressed. The course is designed for students from different health professions to develop necessary skills and best practices in health literacy to work in medical and community settings. Students will work together to facilitate and promote cultural sensitivity and will build competencies┬áto work with patients or clients with limited health literacy.

In order to work with students from all health disciplines, and to promote interprofessional collaboration, Dr. Hadden, the Director of the Center for Health Literacy, holds faculty appointments in the UAMS College of Medicine, College of Public Health, College of Pharmacy, College of Health Professions, and the Graduate School.

Health Literacy Screening at UAMS

The Center for Health Literacy promotes screening patients for low health literacy so that patient level interventions can be used for those identified that address specific needs for plain language materials, clear communication, and simplified numeracy tasks. Our health literacy screening uses validated instruments and best practices to identify patients who may benefit most from interventions, and is being used in patient risk stratification in our EMR systems. While the Center for Health Literacy promotes the use of a Universal Precautions approach for health literacy practices and policies, we aim to ensure that those patients who need additional health literacy support have access to targeted interventions.

Health Literacy Screening and Informed Consent for Research

Research has shown that most people have trouble understanding informed consent documents. When people with literacy challenges are faced with complicated documents, they often avoid interacting with them, which can result in their declining enrollment in research. Often, research is initiated to address the needs of the most vulnerable populations, many of which include individuals with literacy challenges. In order for research to help people who may need it the most, and to be understood by people who need it most, research documents should be written in a way that is easily understood. This project aims to address the need for plain language informed consent documents to improve how they are understood by research participants and to potentially improve recruitment of participants with literacy challenges in future research samples.