Blogs

IHA Blogs

  • 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. 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, ...

  • By DeJuan Patterson, MPA Who I Am and Who I Represent I am a Baltimore-based advocate and credible messenger. Credible messengers are trusted neighborhood leaders and experienced community advocates with relevant life experiences who help community members transform their attitudes and behaviors around a public policy issue.  I leverage my unique experience as a government affairs professional and grassroots leader with a history of frontline advocacy to address public issues in my city. My personal journey following my experience with gun violence taught me the importance of having a voice and developing my own agency as it related to my medical treatment and recovery. As a credible messenger and advisor, I have demonstrated the importance of agency and capacity-building within communities. ...

  • By Janet Ohene-Frempong In a time of turmoil: Back in the summer of 2020, I was invited to give a keynote presentation at the Colorado Health Literacy Coalition’s virtual conference, and was kindly given some leeway regarding what to talk about. We were in the midst of a raging pandemic. Minorities had been dying from COVID-19 in a magnitude that garnered national attention. In March, Breonna Taylor had been ambushed and killed while sleeping in her own house. George Floyd had been publicly executed in May, over the use of a possibly counterfeit 20-dollar bill. Massive protests were taking place all around the globe. And we were facing what many thought was the most important presidential election in our lifetimes. I was in a dangerously emotional state. The organizers of the conference ...

  • By Marian Ryan, PhD, MA, MPH Juneteenth (Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Juneteenth Independence Day) President Joe Biden signed legislation on June 17, 2021, proclaiming Juneteenth, June 19, a federal paid holiday. IHA recognizes Juneteenth as an important day in our history and an important one for working toward equity, especially health equity by  committing to continued research into inclusive best practices in health literacy and facilitating policies to promote their implementation. History Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. However, the actual proclamation was declared two and a half years earlier.  President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. "That on the ...

  • By Barbra Kingsley   An elderly neighbor recently asked me for advice on a letter she had received about her health insurance. She couldn’t understand what she had paid, what the insurance company had paid, or what needed to happen next. She was also concerned – fearing she may be liable for a payment she needed to make. We went over the (very confusing) letter together, and I told her that she was fine. It didn’t appear she owed anything further and, if she did, they would likely send her another, equally confusing letter. We had a laugh, but then she suddenly became quite serious. “You know, Barbra, I guess I’m not very smart. I couldn't even understand this simple letter.” I assured her that she was, in fact, quite smart. The letter was the problem, not her. However, those ...