Health Literacy Heroes Directory

Health Literacy Heroes take action to solve health literacy problems.
Alzheimer's Association - Northeast Colorado Region is a Health Literacy Hero because we provide Alzheimer's education programs reaching 9 counties and empowering others to empower themselves. Posted 2014.
Harbin Clinic
It is vitally important for medical personnel to help patients understand health information and empower them to make good health decisions. However, health literacy becomes even more crucial for those who are facing complicated diseases like cancer. Twenty-year Harbin Clinic veteran Amy Brooks serves as a Clinical Nurse Leader and Case Manager at Harbin Clinic Tony E. Warren Cancer Center, with the vital job of educating patients on how to take drugs orally to treat various types of cancer. ... By being an engaged and accessible provider, Amy empowers patients to take charge of their treatment, health, and overall healing while reassuring and supporting them every step of the way. It is my privilege to nominate Amy Brooks for the 2014 Health Literacy Hero recognition. Posted 2014.
Health Literacy Project
Atlantic General Hospital, in partnership with Worcester County Public Schools and the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy at the University of Maryland, decided to tackle health literacy at the grassroots level. Under motivated leadership from all partners, a pilot curriculum was developed that integrated health messages into coursework already used by second grade teachers from an identified elementary school. Pre and post testing of student learning on instructed elements of health literacy yielded a significant increase in students’ health literacy knowledge. This program is being expanded to include other grade levels in the 2014-2015 school year. Posted 2014.
Adjunct Lecturer, Southern Connecticut State University
Information literacy is a requirement of Tier 2 courses at Southern Connecticut State University. To integrate this requirement into the Wellness course I am teaching I developed a writing assignment for my students to develop health information literacy skills. They research any topic of interest in the area of health and wellness and then critique the Web sites they used to learn about their topic. They must use critical thinking skills to evaluate the quality of the health information and rate the Web sites for currency, reliability, authority and purpose. They summarize their findings by completing a Web site evaluation grid and by reporting on what they learned about the topic and on the quality of the Web sites they used. Finally, they get the opportunity to propose improvements to the sites based on their evaluation. Through this exercise students learn what makes for credible health information while developing the health information literacy skills they will need when they search for health information in the future. Posted 2014.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)
It is estimated that over 286,000 Arkansans and 75 million Americans have low health literacy (NAALS, 2003). To raise awareness and kick off Health Literacy Month, we are challenging others to take the plain pledge Oct. 1 - 22. Take a "simple selfie" with a health-related word that you pledge to stop using or better explain. Post your simple selfie on our facebook page or Twitter @UAMS_CHL using the hashtag #plainpledge. Tag your friends and co-workers to challenge them to take the pledge. Participants will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win prizes., Posted 2014.
Each year, we run an 8-month health literacy course which teaches health professionals strategies & techniques to improve health literacy at an organisation level. We are also running a campaign for health literacy month to 'Drop the Jargon' and use plain language for a day on Tuesday 20 October. We also have a health literacy committee which reviews all our publications and resources to ensure they adopt health literacy principles. Posted 2015.
Internal Medicine Specialists of Atlanta
Dr. Spivey is that rare breed of physician who takes the time to listen to his patients, to ensure their understanding, and to encourage their questions. When he needs to pause to enter information on an EHR, for example, he asks permission and explains what he is doing. Dr. Spivey's interaction style testifies to his commitment to partnering with patients to ensure astute diagnostics and patient-centered treatment. Posted 2014.
Human Resource Advisor, FedEx Express,
Dawn is a Health Literarcy Hero because of train the facilitators presentations presented to human resource professionals responsible for communicating plan coverage to employees. Posted 2014.
Docola is driving health literacy. A digital health platform enabling healthcare providers to aggregate information from any source, combine it into courses, prescribe it to patients and track participation and comprehension. The service is free to all healthcare providers and patients and our mission is to optimize healthcare conversations. Posted 2015.
Don Rubin
Chair, Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy
Don Rubin is a Health Literacy Hero for his efforts in creating the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy and bringing the people of Georgia together in improving and inspiring greater health literacy. This October, is recognizing patients and caregivers who are taking charge of their own health by asking "Good Questions for Good Health," and providers and health organizations, who are advancing health literacy in their communities by encouraging questions and giving patients the information they need. Posted 2014.
Parkland Chapter if the Mood Disorders of Manitoba
Eleanor educates the public throughout the year about mood disorders/mental illness through kiosk displays at different events in the community throughout the year. She also holds group sessions with those in-patient care once a week and outside of hospital who need to meet to talk at a few different areas within the Parkland area a couple times a week throughout the year. ... She also gets us in educating ourselves with the help of her, other health professionals, reading literature and getting involved in helping to educate others who still have a hard time realizing what mental illness is and how the public can help us by mostly trying to understanding it (that is for the lucky ones of us who feel we can be in front of the public in different forums and are not afraid or ashamed to talk about our mental illness like me). Eleanor Snitka is a Health Literacy Hero. Posted 2014.
University of South Florida
Florida Covering Kids & Families (FL-CKF) is frequently called upon as an expert in health coverage and health literacy for its ability to reach out to diverse audiences and educate consumers about health coverage and utilization including those under the Affordable Care Act, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid. Since its inception, FL-CKF has produced enrollment assistance toolkits, online fact sheets, policy briefs, blogs, and articles, as well as, conducted webinars and in-person educational trainings on health care coverage in Medicaid, CHIP, and ACA. FL-CKF, its state coalition, and consortium partners are instrumental in bringing together state and local partners to develop and implement strategies to promote the importance of understandable health information. Posted 2015.
Piedmont Physicians Yorktown
Internal Medicine
Dr. Cole asks for our questions and concerns at each visit and takes time to talk to us about them. Also, he reads and answers our email questions. Posted 2014.
University of Delaware Extension, Iowa State University Extension, University of Maryland Extension, Michigan State University Extension, University of Minnesota Extension, North Dakota State University Extension, Oregon State University Extension
Faced with the Affordable Care Act requiring consumer decision-making; with research that demonstrated consumer confusion and a lack of funding for consumer education, these universities, under the leadership of the University of Maryland Extension and University of Delaware Extension, created the initiative. As a result, 1010 consumers participated in Smart Choice Health Insurance workshops. Using the American Institutes for Research standardized measurement of health insurance literacy, the team conducted pre and post tests. Statistically significant findings demonstrated the workshops worked. People of a range of diverse characteristics increased confidence and ability to make a smart health insurance purchase choice. Posted 2014.
Heidi Fowler is a remarkable individual who has helped 435,225,902 people with her free answers to health questions from all over the world. Her work is scientifically accurate and displays human kindness at its finest. She is my hero. Posted 2014.
Universidade Estadual do Ceará, Secretaria de Saúde do Estado do Ceará, Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Ceará, Universidade de Fortaleza, Centro Regional Integrado de Oncologia
A previous study of our group has found that people attended by the Brazilian public health service in the city of Fortaleza have inadequate health literacy. Thus, we have developed and executed a training program for the community health agents and for the health staff of the Family Health Support Unit based on the assumptions of health literacy, which made possible for these professionals to act among the health system users in order to expand the understanding of the messages for health promotion and prevention of chronic diseases. Professional representatives from all around the state of Ceará were trained. Posted 2014.
Atlantic General Hospital
With support of Worcester County Public Schools and the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy at the University of Maryland, Atlantic General Hospital has created an innovative way to increase health literacy in the public school classroom. Through the use of existing STEM standards, Worcester County teachers collaborate with health and education professionals to enhance current core subject area curriculum with key health literacy concepts. The mission is to not add to the workload of the teachers but increase health literacy through integration in existing lessons.
IHLP serves students in grades one through five county-wide. A sixth grade pilot program will begin implementation this school year. The program’s goal is to expand not only into the middle and high school classrooms county-wide but throughout the state and country. For more information, visit Posted 2015.
The Clinic provides medical care to the uninsured and underinsured people of the Kansas City region. In an effort to provide better services to our patients, the Clinic has formed a health literacy committee to insure staff are trained with tools to communicate effectively will all patients and a plain language sub-committee that reviews Clinic documents to make sure that all patient materials are in plain language. The committee has done an initial Clinic health literacy assessment and created a work plan that will be reviewed annually. Posted 2014.
Health media consultant

Kara Tarantino has devoted years to developing patient-centered print and video educational materials materials for delivery in medical offices. She also designs tools to improve patient way-finding in clinical settings. In all this work Kara brings creativity, a keen sense of audience needs, and the kind of pragmatic approach that is key to diffusing health literacy practices in the private sector. Kara has also been most generous with her time and talents in promoting the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy. She is among the most active members, always enthusiastically engaging in activities that raise awareness about health literacy in our state. Posted 2014.
Goias Federal University
A previous study we identified the limited literacy among predialysis patients in a school hospital of the Midwest region of Brazil. To identify the HL was used Brazilian version of the Brief Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (B-THOFLA). However we believe that health literacy is more than reading and numeracy skills and so, we are currently validating a multidimensional instrument Health Literacy Questionnaire for assessing literacy in health to Brazilian population in order to explore the dimensions of the phenomenon and thereby reduce inequalities in health. Posted 2015.
Rutgers School of Health Related Professions
Respiratory Care Program
Program Director and Practical Anthropologist
ENGLISH FOR YOUR HEALTH: English Practice and Pronunciation - Learn English while you learn about your health. Come join the Respiratory Care students and faculty from the Rutgers University Respiratory Care Program at Long Branch Public Library, Long Branch, NJ - Thursdays 6:00-7:30PM
BACKGROUND: Limited English-proficient speakers often have a low level of health literacy in the English dominant society. Low health literacy creates a vulnerable population who suffer from poorer health related outcomes when compared to native English speaker. This program helps to increase health literacy while tutoring English. The learner gains needed language skills while acquiring knowledge about health.

Posted 2015.
Manager: Cassia Community Centre - Sydney/Australia
Kerrie was introduced to Health Literacy in 2012 when invited to join the Health Literacy Network at the Clinical Excellence Commission in Sydney. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to raise awareness amongst the general community and health services about the importance of addressing health literacy. Kerrie has developed a basic information pack for our website and designed her own English Health Literacy Class which combines improving reading and writing skills whilst learning about health literacy. Posted 2014.
Senior Content Strategist, National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Ms. Grama has made it her mission to insure that cancer data and treatment information on the NCI website is understood and accessible to those individuals fighting the disease, and also Doctors and Researchers working to find a cure. Posted 2014.
Special Projects Coordinator at NC Division of Public Health
Linda Rohret was instrumental in founding the Wake Health Literacy Coalition. Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, the coalition is a multidisciplinary group of individuals interested in increasing awareness, knowledge and understanding of health and health care in Wake County. She served as Chair from 2010 to 2013 and is still actively engaged in coalition leadership. Under her leadership the coalition has hosted yearly health literacy awareness events, developed and distributed educational materials about health literacy and created a coalition website:, among other important activities. Posted 2014.
Ph.D candidate of health education and promotion
Department of health education and promotion,
Isfahan university of medical sciences and health services,
Isfahan, Iran.
I work at a diabetes clinic in Esfahan, Iran, and educated patients about self care behaviors. Because most of the patients referred to this center generally are from low-income community, so we decided to use health literacy strategies such as plain language and teach back for educating them. It was really helpful and these methods helped patients to better understand. I also make very simple printed materials such as Bulletin with Simple Photos and photonovel for them. I really happy that my patients can better undrestand and better act. Posted 2014.
Matrix Medical Network is a Health Literacy Hero because our national network of Nurse Practitioners educates many thousands of Americans each year. Education includes information about their current health issues, a review of their medications and what therapeutic role those medications have in treating their conditions, and answers to the many health questions that people often never have the time to ask their doctor. Matrix Nurse Practitioners are highly educated, highly skilled, and are caring and empathetic. They are at the core of what makes Matrix Medical Network a health literacy hero. Posted 2015.
Director of Communications & Outreach at the Children’s Dental Health Project (
Matt Jacob has developed valuable training modules to assist dental practitioners and advocates communicate more effectively about community water fluoridation and summarize the research without sounding too clinical. He has trained spokespersons in Wisconsin, New York and other states, including my home state of Florida. Posted 2014.
Health Coach, Truman Medical Center, Kansas City, MO.
Melody is a Health Coach at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City working with high utilizer patients. Realizing the problems our patients have with understanding / reading the labels on prescriptions, Melody created a real life scenerio to educate staff on what a trying and confusing issue this can be for patients. Using made up names of medications, she gives patients instructions to reconcile bags of (candy) medications, once without using Teach Back and again using the process. She opens understanding every time she shares her activity! Posted 2014.
Friend and fellow church member
Nancy Kinzer, Presbyterian minister and graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary is truly a Health Literacy Hero for my husband and me. She accompanied me, time and again to Emory University Winship Clinic, as I went through breast cancer diagnosis, meeting with oncologists and radiologists. She even went with me when we got all the final reports. She gave me beautifully organized, complete, easily understood reports on all that had transpire . She was very invaluable to us. One simply cannot hear, comprehend or process all the information as one walks this path. My husband and I could not have navigated this experience with all it's ramifications without Nancy's help, competence, comfort, prayers, and medial intelligence and experience. Therefore she is truly worthy of a Health Literacy Hero. Posted 2014.
The university of Queensland
I developed a web-based decision aid for parents of children newly diagnosed with autism. The website contents are based on the International Patient Decision Aids Standards and cover evidence-based early intervention strategies for children with autism. The website URL is Posted 2014.
Pat Rullo
Speak Up and Stay Alive Patient Safety Radio
Pat Rullo shares little known healthcare and hospital related stories and guests with the end goal to empower listeners to speak up when they do not understand what their healthcare provider is saying. The entire program is devoted to raising awareness to improve patient literacy, patient safety, and the patient experience. Posted 2014.
President, GA Chapter, Compassion and Choices
As leader of the GA chapter of Compassion and Choices, Perry has worked to spread the message of end of life planning to Georgians. He developed a presentation that educates Georgians on end of life medical care issues and the importance of planning to ensure your or a loved one's death is the way you want it to be. Most families never discuss this topic, even when it is obvious that the end is near, with the result that a loved one's death can find the patient in a hospital undergoing aggressive medical treatment that they do not want, while the families are angry, scared, and unhappy rather than in a position to spend precious time with their loved one. Perry (or his trainees) have given this presentation to over 400 people in the Atlanta metro area. It emphasizes how to complete an advance directive and talk to your family and physician about your wishes for the end of your life. Posted 2014.
Pflugerville Independent School District
PfISD's Wellness CHAMPS are dedicated to educating and energizing 3200 staff members to help ensure optimal learning for 24,000 students. CHAMPS collaboratively plan and implement district-wide and site-based strategies that empower teachers to own their health. The wellness program's "From A to Z...OWN YOUR HEALTH" catch phrase aligns with the District's mission "to provide a quality education with a commitment to excellence by facilitating learning in a safe and nurturing environment." Posted 2015.
University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center
Regina Carlisle, Senior Nurse Cancer Information Specialist, is regarded as University Hospitals go-to person for patient education. Regina has been an excellent and patient mentor regarding health literacy and use of plain language. Her personal knowledge and familiarity with evidence based practice resources in this specialized realm has been indispensable. Regina is detail oriented and has a gift for discerning what patients might ask or seek out in various learning/education situations. She is truly passionate about health literacy and the tremendous benefit understandable materials have for patients. She willingly shares her expertise across the system, through continuing education classes, individual consultation and guidance for the system education committee. Posted 2015.

Program Lead , South West Self Management Program
Sally is our Health Literacy champion. Our South West Self Management Program offers support and education to people living with Chronic Conditions and health service providers. As Team Lead Sally has developed a HL program that highlights how important our words are to patient understanding and patient health. To date 386 Health Service providers have attended the workshop. Sally is now developing a train the trainer program in partnership with a program in British Columbia. She has changed the way our team develops new programs, delivers workshops, develops promotional material; virtually everything we do. She is our Health Literacy Guru! Posted 2014.
Sandra Jones is dedicated to meaningful health education for children and adolescents. Her company, Health-ettes, produces fun materials so children can get used to talking about health from an early age. In addition, Sandra is a hard-working and effective volunteer for the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy. Among other activities, she organized a health literacy exhibit at a regional festival that drew tens of thousands of attendees. Posted 2014.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Online Branch Information Chief
Scott has led the way in developing innovative accessibility solutions for multiple NIH websites. He recognized the importance of making sure the vital health content online, so important for citizens to understand, was presented in a way that could be understood by all, regardless of any reading limitations they may have. Posted 2014.
Community Healthcare Network - a network of 11 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in New York City that provides health care to over 75,000 patients annually.
Only 12% of Americans have a proficient level of health literacy; however, our health care system generally caters to this 12%, creating significant barriers to effective patient care. In 2011, Community Healthcare Network's (CHN) senior leadership spearheaded an internally funded agency-wide health literacy initiative to address this issue. CHN's health literacy initiative aims to improve patient outcomes by creating an organizational culture based on health literacy principles. CHN's senior leadership has supported the implementation of policies and procedures that allow for the integration of health literacy into organizational structure, including hiring initiative staff, providing extensive staff trainings on health literacy, developing committees to increase staff engagement around health literacy, and incorporating health literacy into all strategic planning. CHN’s senior leadership has been crucial in the advancement of health literacy at CHN. Posted 2014.
Bianco Primary Care, Alpharetta GA
In today's busy health care industry, it is refreshing to find a physician who is not only on time for your office appointment, but spends more than fifteen minutes with you! Dr. Shelley Bianco is one of those very special doctors. One of her strengths is her ability to get to know each of her patients as individuals so she can establish a strong patient-doctor relationship and deliver personalized care. She is compassionate, caring, professional who is never in a hurry during an appointment and takes the time to get to know each of her patients well. She is always accessible by phone or e-mail and often follows up an office visit with a personal phone call. Furthermore, she keeps abreast of the current research in health care and nutrition, and enjoys sharing this information with her patients. Dr. Bianco deserves to be recognized for her dedication to her patients and the health care field. She is my Health Care Literacy Hero! Posted 2014.
a coalition of nonprofit health, wellness and human service providers in the Greater Plymouth, MA region
South Shore Community Partners in Prevention is undertaking a Health Literacy Initiative for the 2015-16 fiscal year. We hope to engage health care providers, consumers and community partners in an effort to improve the ability of our residents to obtain information about their health in an easily accessible and understandable manner, and to improve their ability to advocate for their own health. We have developed an Action Plan with ten goals and will be implementing them between now and June 2016. Posted 2015.
The problems of childhood inactivity, obesity, and low student performance are all addressed by The Walking Classroom’s active learning program. The program reaches >10,000 kids each year and encourages healthy lifestyle choices through its use of regular exercise and presentation of health messages before every podcast. By walking while learning core curriculum and health messages (like the importance of exercise, healthy calories, hydration, bullying, etc.), students increase their health awareness and healthy choices while improving their classroom engagement and academic outcomes. Posted 2014.
She always takes time to answer questions. Posted 2014.
University Health Network (UHN) - Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Toronto, Ontario, Cananda
With a growing demand on patients to take more active roles in their health, many are seeking medical information from sources such as the Internet. Yet, because 60% of Canadians lack health literacy skills, many will have difficulty using this information.
The UHN Patient and Family Education (PFE) Program ensures patients and families have the right information at the right time, meeting their individual learning needs across the continuum of care. We partner with healthcare professionals and build capacity within our large, multi-site organization to ensure staff have the knowledge, best practices, tools and competencies to ensure patients and families have the skills and knowledge to manage their care, make informed decisions, and ultimately, engage as partners in their care and lead healthier lives.
Our 3 strategic directions (2013-2016) define our commitment to mitigating the impact of low health literacy: 1) Ensure Quality Processes and Systems; 2) Build Patient and Family Education Expertise; 3) Elevate the Art and Science of Patient and Family Education. Posted 2015.
University of South Alabama USA Center for Healthy Communities,
USA Community Health Advocates through kindness, compassion, education, and leadership work to remove barriers to good health and to improve the overall health the Mobile, AL community. There are 12 targeted health disparities in the community: Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Emergency Preparedness, Domestic Violence, HIV/AIDS, Infant Mortality, Mental Health, Nutrition, Physical Activity, Sickle Cell Disease and Tobacco. USA Community Health Advocates host and attend events distributing information to community residents. Posted 2014.
Victoria is a preliminary title holder in the Miss NC Scholarship Organization as Miss Goldsboro 2015. She also volunteers her time as as a patient advocate on the NC Quality Center Patient Family Advisory Committee organized by the NC Hospital Association. Victoria is also on the working group for the Patient Safety Movement Actionable Patient Safety Solution (APSS) Hand Off Communication committee. She has developed a web page sharing materials in English, Spanish and Japanese the importance of Speaking up on their health care. As well as coloring book pages for children to learn the importance at a young age. Educating on partnering with your provider to better understand your health.
In June 2013, Victoria visited 5 health care providers in three days before being placed in emergency surgery and off life support. After recovering from Ludwig's Angine, a deep neck space tissue infection, she has devoted her time while in college to engaging, engaging and empowering patients on the importance of taking an active role on their health care team. Posted 2015.