Review: Health literacy and early insights during a pandemic

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Review: Health literacy and early insights during a pandemic

Review: Health literacy and early insights during a pandemic

This commentary highlights the need to focus on health literacy when designing messages to reach the most vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19.

A significant proportion of adults in industrialized countries have low health literacy and numeracy skills. It is important, therefore, to make information accessible by paying attention to tone and voice, organization of information, vocabulary, numbers, and data presentation. When doing this, health communicators and educators should consider the following steps when designing health messages:

  • Commit to rigor and test COVID-19 information before releasing those messages to the public
  • Apply evidence-based organizational and stylistic approaches that increase comprehension
  • Use everyday language with helpful explanations for anything new
  • Explain and provide meaningful context and interpretation of numbers
  • Highlight protective health behaviors and provide specific instructions

Following these recommended guidelines can help individuals create clear, understandable messages. By focusing on health literacy, disparities and inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic may be reduced.

|2020-07-14T10:49:42-04:00July 14th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|0 Comments

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and affiliate faculty with the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. She explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health and safety. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

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