Health Literacy Development
While health disparities may be attributed to a number of factors, health literacy development and access to health information can help special populations gain a better understanding of wellness and prevention. The Internet and other means of electronic communication have become popular tools that are allowing people to take control of their health.
According to Healthy People 2010, nearly half of American adults (90 million people) are deemed “health illiterate”—an increasing problem among special populations that appears to contribute to health disparities. Health literacy refers to the ability to read and understand materials related to personal health, as well as navigate the health system.
To assist government agencies and organizations educate populations facing health disparities, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) develops programs that promote health literacy. By gaining input from the populations that are targeted for health literacy development, ORISE creates effective messages and materials that are tested and resonate with individuals seeking to improve their health and wellness.