A Prescription Is Not Enough

Improving Public Health with Health Literacy

Published in: A Prescription Is Not Enough: Improving Public Health with Health Literacy / Andrew Pleasant et al. (Washington, D.C.: Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy, Nov. 2013), 43 p

Posted on RAND.org on November 01, 2013

by Andrew Pleasant, Jennifer Cabe, Laurie T. Martin, Robert V. Rikard

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This article focuses on the use—and the lack of use—of health literacy within efforts to address public health in the United States. While a growing body of evidence strongly suggests that health literacy can be effective in public health when explicitly addressed, the concept and associated best practices of health literacy do not seem to be consistently or universally used within public health organizations. As a result, the effectiveness of state, local, tribal, and territorial public health efforts is reduced and public health suffers. Successfully integrating the best practices and knowledge of health literacy into public health practice is likely the most significant opportunity that currently exists to improve individual, community, and public health.

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