Health Literate | Culturally Sensitive Communications

Medical concepts and language are very complex. People need easily understandable health information regardless of age, background, or reading level. Health literacy skills help people find information and services and communicate about health and healthcare.

Culturally Sensitive Communications

Communications Toolkit- Guidelines for Gender Inclusive Language
This document will help you in the design of written materials to be both inclusive, sensitive, and compliant with the National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Service (CLAS) Standards and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  

Health Literate Communications

Plain Language Medical Dictionary
The Plain Language Medical Dictionary is a project of the University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Library as part of the Michigan Health Literacy Awareness project. Simply put in your medical word, and the dictionary will find plain language substitutes.

Medical Terms in Lay Language
From the University of Iowa's Human Subjects Office, a glossary of medical terms edited from a copyrighted list by the University of Kentucky.

Plain Language Thesaurus For Health Communications
This Plain Language Thesaurus was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Marketing. The Thesaurus offers plain-language equivalents to medical terms, phrases, and references often used by healthcare providers.

Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit
Helps to reduce the complexity of health care, increase understanding of health information, and enhance support for all health literacy levels. 

Clear Communication Index
A CDC research-based tool to help you develop and assess public communication materials. 

Gateway to Health Communication and Social Marketing
Provides tools and templates to help build your health communication or social marketing campaigns and programs. 

Health Literacy Information Page
Provides an overview, literacy tests, planning, and training resources.  

  • Health Literacy Schools Page
    Offers health care providers and educator resources to provide and respond to children’s and family health information and communication needs.

The Health Literacy Solutions Center | Resources for Health Literacy

Health Industry Collaboration Effort, Inc. (ICE)
Volunteer multi-disciplinary team of providers, health plans, associations, state and federal agencies, and accrediting bodies working collaboratively to improve health care regulatory compliance through education of the public. 

MedlinePlus Connect
Free service that allows health organizations and IT providers to link patient portals and electronic health record (EHR) systems to information from MedlinePlus.  

News Literacy Project
National education nonprofit offering nonpartisan, independent programs that teach students how to know what to believe in the digital age. It has an educator site and student virtual check site called Checkology. 

Say Ah!
Provides resources for best practices, through research, training, and consulting. They have a page dedicated to health professionals and teachers. 

Page Updated 8/11/22