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The ABCs of Health Literacy

Mika, Virginia S. MPH; Kelly, Patricia J. PhD; Price, Michelle A. MEd; Franquiz, Maria PhD; Villarreal, Roberto MD, MPH

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A significant portion of the US population has serious problems with both literacy and understanding how to effectively use and understand health-related information. An understanding of the breadth and significance of this problem and its impact on health outcomes is now clear. Interventions and strategies for effectively working with patients with limited literacy must be developed and evaluated. An agenda for medical and public health workers, health educators, and researchers is suggested.

South Texas Health Research Center, University of Texas Health Science Center (Mss Mika and Dr Villarreal); Department of Surgery, University of Texas (Mss Price) and Bilingual Bicultural Studies, University of Texas (Dr Frenquiz), San Antonio; and the School of Nursing/Medicine, University of Missouri – Kansas City (Dr Kelly).

Corresponding author: Virginia S. Mika, MPH, South Texas Health Research Center, University of Texas Health Science Center, 7703 Floyd Curl (MSC 7791), San Antonio, TX 78229 (e-mail: seguin@uthscsa.edu).

The authors thank Leah Trevino for her help in formatting the document and verifying references.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.