All of Us Research Blog
Health Literacy Month reminds us how important it is to make sure health information is available and accessible to everyone so that we can take charge of our own health.
About All of Us Research
In May 2018, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that national enrollment for the All of Us Research Program, a momentous effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds began. People ages 18 and older, regardless of health status, are now able to enroll.
NHMA and All of Us Research
The National Hispanic Medical Association is proud to be a partner of All of Us Research as it seeks to transform the relationship between researchers and participants, bringing them together as partners to inform the program’s directions, goals and responsible return of research information.
What Is Health Literacy?
Health.gov points to two kinds of health literacy. Personal health literacy is the level at which individual people are able to understand and use health information and resources to help them make medical decisions. Organizational health literacy is how organizations (like community health centers or hospitals) provide access to information and services people need to find, understand, and use when making health decisions for themselves and others.
Why Is It Important?
The more you know about your health and the resources available to you, the more you may be able to make better decisions for your health. Health literacy is more than just learning about specific illnesses or treatments. It also includes important tasks that may even seem simple, such as taking the correct dose of medicines or maintaining your medication schedule.
According to the National Library of Medicine, about nine out of ten adults struggle with health literacy. This could lead to poor health outcomes, from issues with managing life-long conditions to missing preventative steps like getting a flu shot every year.
The Latino community suffers disproportionately from low health literacy which continuously impacts members’ longevity and quality of life. A higher understanding of health literacy leads to better health outcomes that can positively influence the high rates of obesity, diabetes, and chronic illness that Latinos face. Forty-one percent of Hispanics suffer from poor health literacy due to circumstances such as low income and lower education rates.
At NHMA, we work to arm our member physicians with culturally-competent materials, resources, and strategic communication techniques for their Latino patients. The All of Us Research Program allows organizations like us to come together to celebrate and bring awareness to Health Literacy Month within the diverse and vulnerable populations that we serve.
How Can You Improve Your Health Literacy?
The best place to start is by learning more about your own health from your health care provider.
- Ask them to explain words or diagnoses you’re not familiar with.
- Repeat the information back to them in your own words to make sure you understood what they said.
- Ask as many questions as you need!
If you don’t feel like you can ask your provider the questions that you have, you can request a patient advocate or speak to someone at the health center that you feel more comfortable with. It’s also helpful to bring a family member or trusted friend to your appointment. They can take notes for you and remind you of questions you wanted to ask.
In our digital world, there are also resources online that can help you expand your health literacy. It’s important to make sure they are from reliable sources. The National Library of Medicine and the All of Us Research Program put together informational materials and free online trainings you can use to improve your health literacy.
Facebook/Instagram Post Example:
When making decisions about your health, it is important to understand the facts. This knowledge is called health literacy, and it’s a skill you can improve! We have some tips for increasing your health literacy and reasons why it’s so important to take charge of your own health: hispanichealth.info/diversity-in-research #HealthLiteracyMonth #JoinAllofUs
Twitter Post Example:
When making decisions about your health, it’s important to understand the facts. This knowledge is called health literacy, and it’s a skill you can work on! We have some tips for improving your health literacy here: hispanichealth.info/diversity-in-research #HealthLiteracyMonth #JoinAllofUs