Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership Blog ~ Resources

Using health literacy to promote oral health


The pandemic has touched every aspect of peoples' lives - including hte health of their teeth.

In early 2020, dental offices across the country shut down. But when most reopened a few months later, the number of dentist office visits was still 20% lower than before the pandemic.

According to a survey from the American Association of Endodontists, more than half of Americans say the COVID-19 pandemic is the reason why they have been putting off trips to the dentist offices.

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News Year’s resolutions: Health literacy edition

This year we’re bringing a new perspective on the New Year’s resolution tradition – health literacy! Here are some resolutions providers can adopt to increase health literacy at their organizations.

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Plain language examples for vaccines

Between the annual flu shot and the new COVID vaccines, there is a lot of talk about vaccinations right now! Some of the words and phrases can be confusing. Here are some plain language translations for common vaccine terms.

Vaccinations/immunizations: When a person is given medicine to make their body learn to fight a disease.

Adverse reaction: An unexpected health outcome – like redness or an allergic reaction.

Antibody: A protein your body makes to fight illness.

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Ensuring a healthy future with health literacy

Since 1980, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People initiative has set measurable objectives to improve the health and well-being of people across the country.
This year, the initiative launched Healthy People 2030. It lays out datadriven national objectives needed to improve peoples’ health over the next decade.

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Investing in language and cultural resources

Culture affects many things, including how people approach health care. Minnesota is a diverse state, with more than 100 languages other than English spoken at home2; a variety of urban, suburban and rural cities; and a wide range of family incomes.  This is why investing in language and cultural resources is a key priority of the Minnesota Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.

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Increase and Improve Patient-Centered Resources

The health care system is complex, and the fragmentation of the industry can lead to confusion for patients as they communicate with agents, insurance companies, health care providers, clinics, employers, pharmacists, care coordinators, and others who are involved with their care.

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Health literacy training is important for people of all ages

Learning how to maintain good health and understand the health care system can – and should – start early in life and continue throughout.

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Streamline processes to improve health literacy

Our health care system is large and fragmented, making it easy for patients to feel lost. Navigating through a variety of health care facilities, providers, rules, and requirements is not only difficult, but also daunting and confusing.

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Celebrating 2018 and looking ahead

As we close out 2018, we’d like to thank you for making this year the best one yet. During the past year we’ve collaborated with many organizations on exciting new activities, giving us the opportunity to share health literacy best practices and resources in new and engaging ways.

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The importance of relevant and accessible health information

When it comes to communication, it’s not just what you say but how you say it.

Health information can be technical and complex, and there can be an over-reliance on written communication. That’s why it’s important for patients and their caregivers to have access to usable information presented in a variety of ways so they can understand diagnoses, make treatment and prevention decisions, and evaluate health risks.

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