October is Health Literacy Month

by Helen Osborne, M.Ed., OTR/L

October is Health Literacy Month.
This annual event is a time when organizations and individuals worldwide raise awareness about the importance of understandable health information.
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The idea behind Health Literacy Month is the same now as it was when I first proposed it in 1999--for health literacy advocates everywhere to speak with a shared voice about why health literacy matters. Doing so together not only conveys a sense of urgency but also can generate media attention when many people speak about the same topic at the same time.

There are infinite ways to participate in Health Literacy Month. Healthcare organizations, public health initiatives, community services, health literacy coalitions, government agencies, literacy programs, universities, and others can raise awareness in ways that match their interests, resources, and audience needs.

Here are some examples of Health Literacy Month events:
  • Health facilities hosting health literacy workshops for employees and patients
  • Associations holding health literacy conferences and training programs
  • Senior centers offering educational programs about medication safety
  • Literacy programs sponsoring how-to health literacy fairs
  • Libraries displaying useful and understandable consumer health information
  • Health science programs encouraging students to create health literacy projects
  • Businesses offer wellness programs for their employees
  • States officially proclaiming October as Health Literacy Month

The Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA) is now taking the lead in Health Literacy Month. You can find a lot of helpful resources at the Health Literacy Month website,

I hope you will participate this year. 
Happy Health Literacy Month!

About the Author

Helen Osborne

Helen Osborne Helen Osborne M.Ed., OTR/L, is president of Health Literacy Consulting, producer and host of the podcast series Health Literacy Out Loud, author of the award-winning book Health Literacy from A to Z, and founder of Health Literacy Month. Learn more at and


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