One-on-One Meetings (New!)

Once again, we are pleased to be able to offer one-on-one meetings for attendees with NIH/AHRQ Program Staff or with a health literacy research mentor.  These meetings will take place at the conference on Monday October 17, from 12-1:30pm.  Each meeting is scheduled for 15 minutes, and we ask that you try to keep to this schedule so that others may have the same opportunity.  This is time to BRIEFLY present your ideas and get initial feedback on potential research projects, funding opportunities, or career pathways.

Please email a brief (1-2 paragraph) description of yourself and/or your research ideas, and whom you would like to meet with, to You will be contacted with your assigned 15-minute time slot between 12:00pm and 1:30pm.

Available Program Officers

Cindy Brach, AHRQ

Erica Breslau, NCI

Dorothy Castille, NIMHD

Sylvia Wen-Ying Chou, NCI

Available Research Mentors (bios below)

Terry Davis

Elizabeth Hahn

Michael Paasche-Orlow

Debra Roter

Russell Rothman

Mark Williams

Joanne Schwartzberg

Mentor Bios

Terry C. Davis, Ph.D. a pioneer in the field of Health Literacy is a Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport ( LSUHSC-S). For the past 25 years, she has led an interdisciplinary team investigating the impact of patient literacy on health and healthcare. Seminal achievements include development of the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM) and creation of user- friendly patient education and provider training materials that are being used nationally.

Dr. Davis has more than one hundred publications related to health literacy and health communication. She was a member of the National Work Group on Cancer and Literacy and served on Health Literacy Advisory Boards for both the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians Foundation (ACP-F). Dr. Davis was an independent agent on the IOM Committee on Health Literacy and a developer of the AMA’s Train-the-Trainer Health Literacy Curriculum. She chaired Louisiana’s statewide Health Literacy Task Force, the first legislatively mandated health literacy group in the nation. Currently she is a member of the Healthy People 2020 Health Literacy/Health Communication Section and serves as a health literacy advisor to the FDA.

Dr. Davis is Principal Investigator on a 5 year NCI funded health literacy intervention to increase regular breast and CRC screening among patients in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). She is also working with investigators at Northwestern, Emory and Harvard on AHRQ funded studies to improve patient understanding and actual use of prescription medication labels in English and Spanish.  Along with a team from the University of California-San Francisco and University of North Carolina she has been funded by the ACP-F to develop and test self-management guides and videos for patients with diabetes, COPD, coronary artery disease and more recently, obesity. ACPF has distributed over a million copies of these guides. 


Elizabeth A. Hahn, MA is Associate Professor at Northwestern University. She is a medical sociologist whose research is focused on health literacy and health disparities, and methodological issues in the measurement and analysis of patient-reported outcomes (PRO) in diverse patients with chronic illnesses. She has expertise in qualitative and quantitative research methods, including the application and interpretation of probabilistic measurement models (item response theory; IRT). She teaches in workshops and symposia worldwide on research design, measurement and statistical analysis related to self-report data in culturally diverse populations, and teaches a graduate course on survey design and methodology. She is Associate Professor, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Department of Preventive Medicine, and Institute for Healthcare Studies, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. She is also Director of the Outcomes Measurement & Survey Core, a shared resource of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University (RHLCCC).

She is the principal investigator on several grants targeted to underserved populations (AHRQ R01-HS10333 and R18-HS01730; ACS #TURSG-02-069-01-PBP; NHLBI R01-HL081485). She developed an innovative bilingual (English-Spanish) health information technology (Talking Touchscreen/Pantalla Parlanchina). This multimedia platform allows people with varying literacy, language and computer skills to self-administer PRO questionnaires, to access patient education information, and to self-administer a new IRT-based measure of health literacy (Health Literacy Assessment Using Talking Touchscreen Technology (Health LiTT), Journal of Health Communication, in press). She has over 75 peer-reviewed publications, and received the American Cancer Society Trish Greene Quality of Life Manuscript Award in 2005 and the International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL) Outstanding Article of the Year Award in 2008.


Michael Paasche-Orlow, MD, MPH is Associate Professor at Boston University Medical Center and a nationally recognized expert in the field of health literacy.  He was a guest editor for the Journal of General Internal Medicine for a special issue on health literacy in 2006 and a guest editor for the journal Patient Education and Counseling for a special issue on health literacy in 2009. Dr. Paasche-Orlow is a co-investigator with seven funded grants that examine health literacy including two intervention studies that will evaluate simplified information technologies for behavior change among patients with a range of health literacy levels. Dr. Paasche-Orlow is currently serving on the national program committee for the 2010 Society for General Internal Medicine’s 33rd Annual meeting. Dr. Paasche-Orlow is the Associate Program Director for the Boston University School of Medicine General Internal Medicine Academic Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program and is currently the research mentor for 6 post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty members.







Russell Rothman, MD MPP is an Associate Professor in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Rothman currently serves as the Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Health Services Research, and Chief of the Vanderbilt Med/Peds Section. Dr. Rothman is also the Co-Director of the Community Engaged Research Core of the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, and the Associate Director of the Center for Diabetes Translational Research. Additionally, Dr. Rothman is an Associate Director of the Nashville VA Quality Scholars Fellowship Program.

Dr. Rothman’s current research focuses on health communication/health literacy, and improving care for adult and pediatric patients with diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. He has been funded by the NIH, American Diabetes Association, the Pfizer Clear Health Communication Initiative, and other sources to examine the role of literacy and numeracy. He is currently the Principal Investigator on an NIH multisite randomized study addressing literacy and health communication in pediatric obesity prevention, and another cluster randomized study addressing health communication to improve adult diabetes care in health department safety net clinics. Dr. Rothman has served as a reviewer on the NIH Special Emphasis Panel on Health Literacy and the Pfizer Health Literacy Fellowship Awards. Dr. Rothman has been a Pfizer Visiting Professor in Health Literacy at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Rothman currently serves as an Associate Editor for Clinical Diabetes, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.


Debra Roter, DrPH is Professor of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and holds appointments of Professor in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing and with the Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Roter’s primary research focus is in the study of patient-health care provider communication.  She is the author of the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS), a method of process analysis applied to medical exchange widely used by researchers and educators nationally and internationally.  Her studies include basic social psychology research regarding social and psychological determinants and consequences of interpersonal influence within medical encounters, patient and provider interventions to improve health care quality, and communication and educational applications to enhance patient and provider communication skills.

Dr. Roter has authored over 200 articles and book chapters and three books related to the subject of patient-health care provider communication. She is recognized by the Web of Science as among highly cited authors in the social sciences.

Dr. Roter is currently Principal Investigator of an NICHD funded study to assess oral literacy burden of medical communication and to develop an ameliorative patient activation intervention for pregnant women with poor literacy skills.



Joanne Schwartzberg, MD is the Director, Aging and Community Health at the American Medical Association. She has over 30 years of experience in geriatrics and long-term care. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.  Dr. Schwartzberg is a past-president of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago, the Illinois Geriatrics Society, and the American Academy of Home Care Physicians.  In 2005, Dr. Schwartzberg was appointed by President Bush to the Advisory Committee for the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.  Dr. Schwartzberg is director of Aging and Community Health at the American Medical Association (AMA). She received her BA from Harvard University and her MD from Northwestern University.  She currently directs AMA initiative on aging and long term care with projects on medical education and geriatric competencies, older driver safety, medical management of the home care patient, health literacy, safe communication, and patient self management.

Dr. Schwartzberg has been working in the field of health literacy and clinician-patient communication since 1997. She organized the AMA ad hoc committee of experts that developed Health Literacy: Report of the Council on Scientific Affairs, organized physician awareness campaigns based on the AMA’s Health Literacy Introductory Kit, and later developed the Health Literacy: Help Your Patients Understand self-study educational program. She has led the AMA Foundation’s Health Literacy Training of Trainers program for the last 6 years, which with 29 teams around the country has reached over 30,000 health professionals. In 2005, Dr. Schwartzberg was an editor of the first textbook in the field: Understanding Health Literacy: Implications for Medicine and Public Health. She has recently been working on patient safety and health literacy, leading to the 2007 monograph and current CME program on Reducing the risk by designing a safer, shame-free health care environment.

Dr. Schwartzberg is the 2001 recipient of the Henry P. Russe, MD, Citation for Exemplary Compassion in Healthcare awarded by the Institute of Medicine of Chicago and the Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke’s Medical Center.

Mark V. Williams, MD, FACP, FHM is Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of Hospital Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Since the early 1990’s, Dr. Williams has written and co-authored publications related to health literacy and its impact on patient understanding and health outcomes. He served as a Co-Principal Investigator on the Robert Wood Johnson Literacy in Health Study along with Drs. David Baker and Ruth Parker. Dr. Williams also served as a member of the National Work Group on Cancer and Literacy and as Assistant Chair of the AMA Ad Hoc Committee on Health Literacy. A Past-President of the Society of Hospital Medicine, he was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.  His most recent research endeavors have focused on care transitions, quality improvement, teamwork, and time motion studies within hospitals and during the discharge process. He currently serves as the Principal Investigator for Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older adults through Safe Transitions;

September 13, 2011
Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine