Included here is a short list of agencies that provide technical assistance, conduct research, and publish materials about health or literacy. It is by no means comprehensive. If you would like to add an organization to the online version of this list, please contact the Health and Literacy Initiative at World Education.
Alpha Plus Centre
The Alpha Plus Centre provides resources for adult learning. The Web site houses the online catalog of the Centre's adult literacy library which includes a large selection of health education materials. While only citations are available online, the Centre is willing to lend publications, for a fee. They distribute a "mini-bibliography" of information about health and literacy. They provide information for the Anglophone, Francophone, Native, and Deaf communities.
AMC Cancer Research Center
The AMC Cancer Research Center is one of the founding member organizations of the National Work Group on Cancer and Literacy. People at the Center have created materials appropriate for use in adult literacy classes about breast and cervical cancer early detection. There is hope that the materials will be funded for national distribution in the near future. The Research Center has also created how-to materials about health and literacy agency collaborations, focus groups for planning cancer education programs, and more.
The AAAS is home to the Science + Literacy for Health program which aims to help people understand concepts in biology and health. They have produced a number of short readers on health and science topics at a GED level. Some of these are now available online; see their Web site to view Your Genes, Your Choices about the Human Genome Project.
American Self-Help Clearinghouse
The American Self-Help Clearinghouse publishes a free online directory and a reasonably priced print version to over 800 national and international self-help support groups that cover a broad range of health concerns.
Canadian Public Health Association
The Canadian Public Health Association has been interested in the issue of literacy for years. It produces an information kit on Literacy and Health for Life that covers the scope of literacy issues in Canada; links between literacy status and health status; and plain language philosophy and techniques. By the end of 1999, they plan to publish the North American Plain Language Health Information Resource List.
Education Program Associates
EPA includes a publications department, consulting services, and a Resource Center about health. Their publications include easy-to-read (third grade reading level and up) and culturally sensitive print and audiovisual materials about family health and multicultural health. Family health topics include family planning, sexuality, STDs, substance abuse, and childbearing. EPA's consulting services provide training in culturally and linguistically appropriate health education materials development. EPA's Health Resource Center, a membership service, provides access to over 7,000 health education materials in English, Spanish, and Asian languages that have been evaluated for reading level, audience, cultural appropriateness, translation quality, and content.
Health Literacy Center, University of New England
The Health Literacy Center provides consulting services, workshops, and publications. They help health organizations write easy-to-read documents and train health workers in communication skills. They do an annual workshop on Low Literacy Communication Skills for Health Professionals. Their products include Write it Easy to Read: A Guide to Creating Plain English Materials, multicultural clip art, and easy-to-read pamphlets. Current pamphlet topics include nutrition, tobacco, alcohol, heart disease, diabetes, HIV, women's health, mental health, family planning, injury prevention, oral health, immunizations, occupational safety, sexual harassment, and more.
Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania
The Health Promotion Council promotes health to those at greatest risk through publications and trainings. Their pamphlets and audiovisuals for African Americans, Latinos, and Asians, written at or below a sixth grade reading level, currently cover blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, stress, nutrition, and use of the health care system. The Council has materials in Spanish, Cambodian, Chinese, and Vietnamese. They have a seven-to-eight-week training and curriculum for community-based hypertension and diabetes control, offered in both Spanish and English.
Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy
The Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy has a number of ongoing, collaborative, health-related research and curriculum development projects. Examples include working with Howard University on CARDES (CARdiovascular Dietary Education System), a project to develop nutrition education materials for limited-literacy, urban African Americans; working with the American Cancer Society, the Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and the Cooperative Extension Service on the Northern Appalachian Leadership Initiative on Cancer; and working with the National Health and Education Consortium on developing Rosalie's Neighborhood, a curriculum that is part of a parent information project on health.
NIFL is the source to turn to for finding out about literacy organizations and initiatives at the state and national level. NIFL's Web site includes an online directory of literacy resources across the nation. NIFL's Eastern LINCS Web site is home to a special collection of literacy and health information.
Office of Minority Health
The Office of Minority Health provides print and online information and resource contacts about minority health issues. The Office's online database of organizations, programs, and documents includes contact information. The Office's resource persons network sets up health professional volunteers to provide technical assistance to community-based organizations regarding minority health issues. The newsletters are distributed free to interested parties.
The Health and Literacy Initiative, developer of this Compendium, provides technical assistance with materials assessment and development, and with developing participatory health education programs. The Initiative is currently providing technical assistance to ABE and ESOL programs that are integrating health into existing curricula; implementing the HEAL:BCC Project, a national demonstration project that brings breast and cervical cancer information into literacy and high school equivalency programs; and coordinating the Massachusetts Health Team, a collaboration of health educators and literacy practitioners. NIFL's Eastern LINCS Web site is maintained by World Education staff; the special collection on health and literacy is housed there.