Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership Blog

White House invests in new health literacy program

Racial and ethnic minority populations experience health disparities. This includes higher rates of COVID-19 cases and death.

We know that health literacy is a powerful tool to bring greater health equity. That is why we are excited to see the White House invest in a new health literacy grant program.

This spring, Vice President Harris announced a $250 million grant program focused on boosting health literacy. It will help ensure underserved communities have accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines.

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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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Meet our new intern

The Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership is excited to welcome a new intern on board this summer, Hannah Geressu. This is the Partnership’s fifth year having an intern through the University of Minnesota Community Health Initiative.

Hannah will work with Partnership Chair Alisha Odhiambo on creating resources to support the Health Literacy Month campaign in October.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

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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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