Special Issue "Improving Public Health with Health Literacy"
A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021).
Interests: health literacy; Health education and promotion; primary care
Interests: statistics in medicine
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Health literacy is always present, but too often is neglected. Overall, while a growing body of evidence strongly suggests that health literacy can be effective in public health when explicitly addressed, the concept and associated best practices of health literacy do not seem to be consistently or universally used within public health organizations. As a result, the effectiveness of public health efforts is reduced, and as a result public health suffers. Successfully integrating the best practices and knowledge of health literacy into public health practice is likely the most significant opportunity that currently exists to improve individual, community, and public health. The overall body of evidence regarding health literacy has clearly advanced to the point where it is logically impossible to conceive of a situation wherein health literacy is not at least a partial determinant of public health status. More likely, as more and stronger evidence is clearly warranted, health literacy is among the strongest determinants of public health in the human population. The tools for public health efforts are traditionally limited to regulation, technology development, education, and persuasion. As discussed in recent studies, health literacy works to shift the emphasis from education and persuasion to technology and regulation. That is not to diminish the role of the former, but to highlight the focus of health literacy. More importantly, health literacy may well be the best argument for the addition of engagement and/or empowerment as a core element of public health.
While the potential usefulness of health literacy for public health seems somewhat straightforward, what is not known is the extent to which, and how, public health organizations conceive of and operationalize health literacy, organize and train staff to address health literacy within their mission, and approach the development of materials with health literacy in mind. It is also unclear which personal characteristics, psychometric properties, and limitations affect health litracy intervention as well as the pathways that link patients to their health care providers and health outcomes. Therefore, we aim to focus on the use—and the lack of use—of health literacy through efforts to address public health in different communities. In particular, with main focus will be on efforts within state, local, tribal, and territorial public health organizations. Given the importance of health literacy for public health, it would be prudent to examine, for the first time, what is being done to evaluate health literacy in different communities.
Prof. Dr. Nooshin Peyman
Dr. Hassan Doosti
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