199414 Rethinking Provider Health Literacy Education: HRSA's Unified Health Communication Web Course

Monday, November 9, 2009

Len Epstein, MSW , HHS/HRSA/OA/Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Rockville, MD
Tanya Grandison, MPH , HHS/HRSA/OA/Center for Quality, Rockville, MD
Linda Kwon, MPH , HHS/HRSA/HSB/OPA, Rockville, MD
Maria White, MA , HHS/HRSA/OA/Office of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights, Rockville, MD

Provider education in health literacy, cultural competency and limited English proficiency is imperative for improving quality of care. Unfortunately, both patient-provider communication and quality of care diminish if these unifying concepts are ignored. There is a need to integrate all three concepts to ensure that providers can assist patients to make informed health decisions leading to better outcomes.


The US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration developed a free web-based training tool to address health literacy, cultural competency and limited English proficiency. The award-winning Unified Health Communications (UHC) training course is the first to integrate these three concepts and enable health care providers to more effectively serve diverse populations. Users can complete this 5 module multi-media course at their own pace. UHC also offers free continuing education credits from a variety of accrediting organizations.


Since the inception of the UHC in November 2007, 2,505 individuals have taken the course for credit, and 1,525 individuals have taken the course for non-credit. More than one-third of the course is taken by users who hold Masters Degrees or higher. On average, users have scored an 86.3% on the post-assessment test, which was after all 5 course modules were successfully taken.


Health literacy, cultural competency and limited English proficiency are inextricably linked. This training course will help health care providers rethink how they communicate with their patients. Our collective efforts to improve health communication will help improve the quality of care and life for all.

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the importance of an integrated approach to effective health communication. Identify the basic concepts and tenets of health literacy, cultural competency and limited English proficiency Recognize the benefits of using this interactive online training tool that has been accredited by several health professions organizations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be a presenter on the content that I am responsible for because I am knowledgeable about health literacy and have made a couple presentations to large audiences, including APHA on other research that I have done in the past.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.