About The Course
Welcome Message

Welcome to the CoursePlus Web site for HEALTH LITERACY: CHALLENGES AND STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION (410.651.01), a course offered by the Department of Health Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Course Description

Introduces the broad areas of literacy and health literacy, discusses approaches to the assessment of key health literacy skills linked to health outcomes, and explores techniques and approaches for the assessment and creation of print material especially appropriate for low literate audiences. Functional health literacy deficits are widespread and represent a significant challenge to the health of the public and the delivery of quality health care. The starting point and theoretical lens of the course is a communication empowerment framework in which levels of health literacy, ranging from functional to critical, are explored in relation to communication strategies designed to foster personal and community engagement in health issues. The framework acknowledges parallels to Paulo Freire’s critique of education and the development of critical consciousness.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Appreciate the prevalence of restricted literacy in the US and worldwide, the nature and consequences of literacy for health, and the variety of health literacy definitions
  • Evaluate print communication, including reading burden, format and visual appeal
  • Develop health education print materials suitable for both literate and low literate audiences
  • Recognize the learner’s voice and appreciate the power of facilitating individual and community participation in learning and materials development through the use of traditional and non-traditional formats
  • Develop health education material for a target audience using participatory strategies and production approaches addressed in class

Course Time

Mon Wed   3:30 PM to 4:50 PM

Course Faculty
Grading Policy & Grading Restrictions

Grading Policy: 1: Assessment and revision of a health education pamphlet; 2: Development of a short, behaviorally focused message to be communicated in a comic strip; 3: Working in a small group, create a health education material suitable for a low literate audience

Grading Restrictions: Letter grade