231757 Advances in health literacy: Current research and practice

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 4:30 PM - 4:50 PM

Gary D. Podschun , Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations, American Dental Association, Chicago, IL
Alice M. Horowitz, PhD , Center for Health Literacy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Jessica Lee, DDS, MPH , Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, Chapel Hill, NC
Linda Neuhauser, DrPH , Health Research for Action, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
This session will focus on three research projects designed to assess or improve oral health literacy. Researchers have found that low literacy has a detrimental effect on general health and the use of medical services. Evidence from research in medical settings consistently highlights the importance of comprehension and literacy for patient compliance and increased positive health outcomes. Although much is known about medical health literacy, few studies that have systematically studied oral health literacy.

A large-scale, representative study found that nearly nine out of ten U.S. adults have some difficulty understanding basic health information. The average American reads at the 8th to 9th grade level. Health information is usually written at a much higher reading level. People with limited health literacy are often less likely to seek preventive care, comply with prescribed treatment and maintain self-care regimens needed to control chronic diseases. In the U.S., limited literacy skills are a stronger predictor of an individual's health status than age, income, employment status, education level, and racial or ethnic group. Limited health literacy is estimated to cost the U.S. between 100 and 200 billion dollars each year. Health outcomes may be improved by appropriately intervening at the social, institutional and educational levels.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss current health literacy research with implications for public health and private dental practice. 2. Identify and describe the currect gaps in health literacy research for dentistry. 3. Explain health literacy improvement as a matter of social justice and a public health imperative.

Keywords: Health Literacy, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I oversee programs related to health literacy for a national professional association.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
American Dental Association Oral Health Employment (includes retainer)

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.