Using the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy - Health Literacy Discussion List


The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy was released in May of 2010 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This plan “seeks to engage organizations, professionals, policymakers, communities, individuals, and families in a linked, multisector effort to improve health literacy.” It was developed by the HHS Health Literacy Workgroup with broad public and professional input, and supports the health literacy objectives for Healthy People 2010 and 2020.

This Action Plan contains seven goals, each with identified strategies that will enable a variety of organizations and fields to improve health literacy from their particular angle. We will have as our guest speaker Cynthia Baur, co-chair of the HHS Health Literacy Workgroup, and she will help us to explore questions like…

  • What is a National Action Plan, anyway?
  • How can I use this to guide and support my work in health literacy?
  • How have other organizations used this Action Plan?
  • What kind of technical support can I get in using this resource?

Guest Biography

Cynthia Baur, Ph.D., is the Senior Advisor for Health Literacy, Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). From 2006-2010, she was the Director, Division of Health Communication and Marketing, National Center for Health Marketing, CDC. She is a co-chair of the Healthy People 2020 Health Communication and Health Information Technology Workgroup and a co-chair of the HHS workgroup on health literacy. She is the lead author of the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy and one of the developers of CDC’s online health literacy training for health professionals. Dr. Baur holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of California, San Diego.

Preparation Reading

The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy

Discussion Questions

  1. Which of the seven goals in the action plan can you address in your work?
  2. What specific ideas do you have to work towards this goal?
  3. How can the action plan itself help support you in doing this work?
  4. What kind of technical support will you need?
  5. How can programs from around the nation work in a “linked and coordinated manner” on these goals?
  6. How can each of us encourage new partners to join this effort?

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