It’s October, which means Health Literacy Month is here! At We ❤️ Health Literacy HQ, we really ❤️ Health Literacy Month, and we can’t wait to celebrate with our fellow health lit advocates.
So this week, we’ve rounded up a few ideas for how to get involved. You can use these ideas in your own advocacy work — or share them with your audiences. After all, when it comes to celebrating health literacy, everyone’s invited to the party! Read on for Health Literacy Month inspo from your friends at CommunicateHealth:
- Recognize a (health literacy) job well done. The next time you see health lit skills in action, take a minute to explicitly acknowledge it. That might look like emailing a colleague with kudos for solving a tricky plain language conundrum or drawing attention to your creative team’s use of accessible design principles. This kind of positive reinforcement doesn’t just make people feel good — it also helps us all keep our mission top of mind while doing everyday tasks.
- Find a language accountability buddy. Over the past few years, the words we use in public health have changed quite a bit — that includes the way we refer to everything from different groups of people to the work itself. Though you might want to call it something more fun (“health comm helper”?), having a colleague help you stay accountable in this space can make a big difference. Your buddy can check your writing to make sure you’re using inclusive language (like when writing about pregnancy), remind you about terms we’re trying to banish from our vocabularies (like “target audience” and “hard to reach”), and weigh in on anything else you’d like.
- Go social. Look for ways to join the conversation on social media, like by hosting a Health Literacy Month Twitter chat or signing up for the Institute for Healthcare Advancement’s Health Literacy Discussion List to chat important health literacy topics with other passionate peeps. Also be sure to follow #HealthLiteracyMonth on your social channels to see what other folks are talking about.
- Use your skills off the clock. As a health communicator, you’re a pro at interpreting medical jargon, but most people aren’t. So use the skills you’ve honed on the job to help someone understand health information. That might look like accompanying a family member to a doctor’s appointment to help them ask questions and take notes. Or maybe you help a friend find quality info about a health issue they’re dealing with — and if you can help “interpret” that info with some plain language explanations, even better! You might be surprised by how much you can help in these situations — and it’s a powerful reminder of why we do the work we do.
- Talk about health literacy! To everyone! All the time! Okay, maybe not all the time. But the more we talk about why our work is important, the better. If you need a jumping-off point, you can explain how health literacy is a state, not a trait. Or check out our thoughts on the evolving health literacy conversation — and the next time you’re at a party, find a friendly-looking stranger and ask what they think about the role of inequitable systems in shaping how we think about health literacy. Works every time!
These are just a few of our ideas for how to celebrate this Health Literacy Month. But we’d love to hear from you, dear readers — tweet us @CommunicateHlth and tell us what you’re up to this month!
The bottom line: October is Health Literacy Month, and we’ve got some inspo to help you celebrate!
Tweet about it: #HealthLiteracyMonth is here! @CommunicateHlth’s got ideas to help everyone celebrate our very favorite thing. Take a look: https://bit.ly/3eg5F5m #HealthLiteracy #HealthComm
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