Health information is communicated in a multitude of ways, not all of which are equally accessible. Smartphones and Internet connections remain costly. Not all adults are proficient readers. Health communicators must take into account audience needs and preferences when designing content. Understanding the benefits and limitations of various communication formats is as essential as knowing your audience. The best approaches are ones that incorporate Health Literacy Universal Precautions, offer a choice based on the individual’s preferred learning style, and make some effort to check for understanding.


Without clear communication, we cannot expect people to adopt the healthy behaviors and recommendations that we champion. When people receive accurate, easy-to-use information about a health issue, they are better able to take action to protect and promote their health and wellness.

Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. Assistant Secretary for Health, 2009-2014. National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy (2010)

Take a self-guided tour of the Health Literacy Ecosystem

The Health Literacy Ecosystem offers an overview of the skills and knowledge, settings and sources, audiences, and communication formats that are foundational to our field. Navigate within and across spheres, or dive into a topic and connect to resources. We welcome your contributions.