Welcome to the Office of Health Literacy

Welcome to the Office of Health Literacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Health Literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. It goes beyond health education and individual behavior oriented communication – health literacy is a dynamic state that depends on the characteristics of an individual’s health care system and their health care providers. Organizational health literacy is the concept in which organizations should equitably provide the public with the necessary information and services in order to make informed health decisions. The U.S. government updated the definition of health literacy in 2020 within the Healthy People 2030 initiative. The new definition asserts that organizations have the responsibility to promote health literacy to the public they serve, which could improve utilization of preventive services, routine healthcare visits, and reduce hospitalization and medical expenses.

The ultimate goal of this office is to advance the scientific base of health literacy and to help the public, health care providers, and organizations understand the importance of health literacy

Read more about our ongoing initiatives:

The Dr. Paula Radio Show, featuring discussions with exemplary researchers and leaders in the field of health and wellness, on campus and elsewhere on a variety of topics pertaining to health disparities and health literacy and hosted by our Executive Director, UIC Chancellor Emerita Dr. Paula Allen-Meares.

The Doctors in the Community Series of physician and health care provider led community talks in accessible language, supported by the Chicago Community Trust.

An Introduction to Health Literacy, Health Disparities, and Cultural Competence was taught to students and faculty campus-wide. Although the course is not currently being offered, we are rethinking next steps in relation to this important topic. More information on the course can be found here.

Read more about the UIC College of Medicine: here.