UNTHSC symposium will focus on improving health literacy

March 19, 2014

One-third to one-half of the U.S. population has a low level of health literacy. That means they may have trouble filling out complex forms, managing chronic diseases or properly taking medications.

This inability to understand health information has emerged as a critical issue with passage of the Affordable Care Act, which requires patients to use clear and consistent information from health care providers and insurers to make important decisions about their care.

About 250 representatives from organizations across Tarrant County will focus on improving health literacy April 16 at the UNT Health Science Center Second Annual Health Literacy Symposium. Attendees will include health care providers and social workers.

“Patient communication is the key to quality health care,” said Teresa Wagner, a doctoral student in the UNTHSC School of Public Health and the symposium coordinator. “People must have the ability to obtain, process and act upon health information that is often very complex.”

The symposium, which is free to attendees, is co-sponsored by United Way of Tarrant County and its Area Agency on Aging, and Texas Health Resources. For more information, visit the symposium registration page. Symposium supporters and attendees can help promote the event on social media using the hashtag #UNTHSCHealthLit14.

The Texas Prevention Institute at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth launched its health literacy project in 2013 through a grant from United Way of Tarrant County. As part of the project, the Health Science Center also conducts health literacy training in public libraries and clinical settings.

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