The Tools You Need to Make Your Organization Health Literate

Content From: Michelle Vatalaro, Health Literacy Lead, In It Together project, and Mira Levinson, Project Director, In It Together projectPublished: October 03, 20173 min read



October is Health Literacy MonthExit Disclaimer, so now is a great time to start on the path to become a health literate organization - and the In It Together Resource Guide and health literacy community training are here to help! 

More than one-third (36%) of U.S. adults have a limited ability to obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make health decisions1. In recognition of those challenges, HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau (HRSA/HAB) supports the In It Together projectExit Disclaimer, which helps health professionals understand how limited health literacy affects the health of Black gay, bisexual, same-gender-loving, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). The project promotes health literacy as a component of culturally appropriate healthcare service delivery. 

Michael Goldrosen, Director of HRSA/HAB’s Division of State HIV/AIDS Programs says, “Health literacy is key to ensuring that clients from all of the communities we serve, particularly communities of color, are able to be active, engaged participants in their care. We encourage HIV providers and organizations to take steps toward increased access and quality through improved health literacy.”

What can you do to help clients understand and act on the health information that they get? 
The In It Together Resource GuideExit Disclaimer  contains a curated list of resources, organizational assessments, client assessments, and toolkits that your HIV program can use to begin or enhance efforts to provide services that meet the needs of clients with limited health literacy.

The free, one-hour, in-person In It Together Health Literacy Community TrainingExit Disclaimer, which is available in 34 communities across the U.S., teaches health professionals to:

RequestExit Disclaimer an In It Together Health Literacy Community Training at your organization!

  • Recognize signs that clients are experiencing limited health literacy
  • Apply health-literate approaches to improve their communications with clients
  • Identify steps their organizations can take to promote health literacy and deliver health-literate HIV services
  • Understand the connections between health literacy and culture

Daniel Driffin, In It Together Trainer of Trainers, co-founder of THRIVE SS, Inc., and co-chair of the Fulton County Task Force on HIV/AIDS says, “When I learned the concepts of health literacy, I realized they were interwoven in everything..[and began] asking myself, ‘Can I say my message using simpler words?’... All of these experiences tap into different components of health literacy that the In It Together program teaches!” Health literacy is an issue of health equity. Healthcare providers need to improve communication skills and make communications easier to understand so that consumers have equitable access to essential health information.

Do you want to become a community health literacy trainer?
In It Together is taking trainer applications now! In It Together is currently looking for additional trainers to help improve the capacity of HIV healthcare providers to deliver health services to Black MSM, and improve health outcomesApply todayExit Disclaimer!



[1] Kutner, M., Greenburg, E., Jin, Y., & Paulsen, C. (2006). The Health Literacy of America's Adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy. NCES 2006-483. National Center for Education Statistics.