We may have reached November, but RHHD is reflecting on the Health Literacy Month that was. Health literacy isn’t just an October project for us—it guides the work we do all year long.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services talks about health literacy having two components: personal health literacy and organizational health literacy. Personal health literacy is about whether, when we’re confronted with a health issue, we’re able to find and learn from reliable information in order to make decisions about our next steps. Organizational health literacy asks if institutions—like schools, doctors’ offices, and health departments—are equitably supporting people in their efforts to reach personal health literacy.
Today, we’re saying goodbye to Health Literacy Month by thinking about how personal and organizational health literacies work together. Whether you’re a healthcare worker, an educator, a neighbor, or a relative, we all have a role to play in health literacy! The individual steps we take matter, but our communal health literacy only grows when we think about changes to how we share and receive information at a structural level.
Think about ways your workplace, place of worship, social media networks, or community organizations talk about health and well-being. How can we work together to make sure that we all have trustworthy information to make health decisions? How can we ask our institutions to prioritize health literacy?