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2016 Sessions

HARC 2016 Invited Sessions

Download the full schedule here!


Pre-Conference Workshop (Wednesday October 12, 6:30-8:00pm)

Using a CBPR Approach with Health Literacy Research for Community or Patient Stakeholder Engagement

Janine Jurkowski, University at Albany School of Public Health

Jennifer Manganello, University at Albany School of Public Health

Interest in Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR), Community-Engaged Research (CER), and Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is growing as more funders and community stakeholders are asking for it. These collaborative approaches include stakeholder participation in the research process. PCOR “helps people and their caregivers communicate and make informed healthcare decisions, allowing their voices to be heard in assessing the value of healthcare options”. CBPR specifically incorporates stakeholders as equal participants to combine knowledge and action to promote social change to improve health and health disparities in a community setting. There is evidence that these approaches increase quality and validity of research, enhance the relevance of data, and improve intervention design and translation of research findings. During this workshop, we will discuss the continuum of engaged research so that researchers’ understand how to situate their projects. We will help participants learn how to incorporate engaged approaches in traditional research designs. Strategies for successfully developing and sustaining community and patient partnerships in clinic, hospital, local community, and online settings will be discussed. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants should understand how to develop community and patient partnerships and incorporate various levels of PCOR and CER into traditional research designs and federal grant proposals. The instructional techniques will foster active participation of session attendees through the use of vignettes and case studies with group discussion and decision making. Researchers with any level of experience are welcome. Pre-requisite skills are not needed.


Keynote Address, Thursday October 13

L. Ebony Boulware, Duke University

What Will it Take to Get it Right? Helping Patients Achieve Literacy in Health Care


Invited Panel A: Thursday October 13 10:00am-11:30am

Using Technology to Increase Health Literacy, Reduce Readmissions, and Manage the Health of Populations

Kristin Jenkins, Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Education and Research Foundation

Crystee Cooper, Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Education and Research Foundation

Patti Taylor, Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Education and Research Foundation

Sushma Sharma ,Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Education and Research Foundation

The panel will explore the importance of health literacy in the management of chronic conditions. Panelists will discuss ways to improve health literacy, patient engagement, and reduce readmissions inside and outside the hospital setting. Industry leaders in the areas of research, public health, health education, quality, and patient safety will share healthcare and community-based approaches to address disparity and achieve improved patient outcomes.


Invited Panel B: Thursday October 13 10:00am-11:30am

The role of health literacy in decreasing anxiety in healthcare: a patient-centered approach

Michael Wolf, Northwestern University

Geri Lynn Baumblatt, Emmi Solutions

Christine Beer, Health care consultant to IBM and The Conference Board

Samuel Smith, University of Leeds

Stress changes our thinking; neural areas involved in focusing our attention go into crisis mode and stop effectively communicating, creating problems with logic, memory and attention. This panel will consider this interplay of health literacy and patient anxiety across various studies and how this leads to improvements not just in patient experience, but ability to engage and outcomes. For example, research reveals disease-related distress in low-income patients with diabetes has been shown to affect self-management, where people are less likely to take medications or have controlled HbA1C values. A study done at Dartmouth employed a multimedia patient education program developed with health literacy principles and patient input and review to reduce anxiety before an upcoming procedure. And an adolescent health literacy case study conducted in Burma/Myanmar explored issues of mental health. It will also look at how clinicians, family, and the impact of peer support groups such Alcoholics Anonymous and A1C Champion Program to address anxiety and bridge the gap to engagement and activation.

Considering the interplay of health literacy and anxiety, there are a growing number of patient-centered questions:

  • Can plain language materials help address the anxiety people experience when trying to engage in their care?
  • Can understandable information improve people’s’ confidence to talk with their healthcare teams and ask questions?
  • Does a lack of anxiety or concern ever cause problems?
  • What other dimensions do health literate materials need to consider beyond clear, understandable communication to address anxiety to address problems like attentional narrowing?


Invited Panel C: Thursday October 13 10:00am-11:30am

Using Training Modules to Move Informed Consent to Informed Choice: Findings from Implementation at Four Hospitals

Cindy Brach, AHRQ

Salome Chitavi, Joint Commission

Alrick Edwards, Abt Associates, Inc.

Kathryn Shradley, Pinnacle Health

Sarah Shoemaker, Abt Associates, Inc.

Patients often do not understand the benefits, harms, and risks medical treatments and procedures and their alternatives, even after signing a consent form. This violates the principles of informed consent, and can lead to unwanted medical care, errors, and malpractice suits. Despite publication of a guide to improve informed consent by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2007, current practices fall short of the goal that patients have the information and support to make informed choices. This panel will present the results from a study examining implementation of two training modules – one for hospital leaders and one for health care professionals – at four diverse hospitals.

  • Cindy Brach will provide background on informed consent to treatment and describe the impetus for the study.
  • Salome Chitavi will describe the content of the training modules, including highlights from the modules.
  • Alrick Edwards will present findings from a review of Joint Commission audits and baseline findings from the four hospitals, derived from assessment forms and interviews, documentation of hospital policy, quizzes from the learning modules, surveys health care professionals, and rapid feedback patient surveys.
  • Kathryn Shradley will share lessons learned when her hospital systematically rolled out the training modules.
  • Sarah Shoemaker will conclude by presenting implementation findings from across the four sites and describe how the modules have been revised to incorporate knowledge gained from pilot testing.


Oral Abstract Session I: Education/Organization, Moderator: Terry Davis

Millie Harris – Do health literacy disparities explain racial disparities in family centered care for youths with special health care needs?

Suzanne Morony – SDM training for interactive and critical health literacy skill development: 2- and 6-month follow-up of a cluster-RCT

Andrea Morrison – Care-Seeking for Non-Urgent Pediatrics Conditions in the Emergency Department vs. Primary Care: The Role of Health Literacy

Emily Spengler – Teaching and Evaluating Clear Communication Skills: Assessment of a Curriculum in Health Literacy and Clear Communication Skills Through an Objective Structured Clinical Encounter

Elizabeth Squire – The Impact of Medical Team Communication on Hospital Readmissions


Oral Abstract Session II: Medications, Moderator: Alex Federman

Connie Arnold – Knowledge, Attitude, Self-Efficacy, Literacy and CRC Screening in Rural Community Clinics

Mary Ghods/Amy Barton Pai – Synergistic FDA Funded High Impact Research To Inform Regulatory Decision Making: Promoting the Safe Use of Medications and Enhancing Health Literacy Efforts for Rx and OTC Drug Products

Eloisa Serrano – Prescription for Confusion: Association Between Prescription Drug Label Language Discordance and Improper Medication Use

H. Shonna Yin – Impact of Label Units, Pictograms, and Dosing Tool Attributes on Parent Liquid Medication Dosing Errors: Role of Health Literacy


Oral Abstract Session III: Methods/Information Technology, Moderator: Raymond Ownby

Li Chen/Kimberly Muellers – Health literacy and technology use for healthcare: Implications for interventions among older adults with chronic illness

Suzanne Morony – Using Teachback for Telehealth: Can it be Done and How Effective is it?

Jürgen Pelikan – Determinant, mediator, moderator? How does Health  Literacy influence subjective health? Results from the HLS-EU-study

Katherine Smith – Presenting Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROs) So That They Can Actually Be Understood by Patients and their Clinicians


Oral Abstract Session IV: Measurement, Moderator: Cathy Meade

Cynthia Baur – Putting Health Literacy Questions on the Nation’s Public Health Report Card

Peter Chang – Measuring health literacy by the HLS-EU-Q47 in six Asian countries

Soo Jin Kang – Approaches for Development and Validation of Criterion-Referenced Standards in Diabetes Health Literacy Instrument for Koreans

Katherine Watson – Validation of a Measure of Parental Health Literacy in a Longitudinal Cohort of Parents of Healthy Children


Invited Panel D: Thursday October 13, 3:30pm-5:00pm

Mastering oral communication skills to narrow the health literacy divide: Are we teaching, and evaluating health professions learners to meet our goals?

Joanne G. Schwartzberg, ACGME

Cliff Coleman, Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine

Alice M. Horowitz, School of Public Health, University of Maryland

Laura Noonan, Levine Children’s Hospital, Carolinas HealthCare System

Studies show that today’s healthcare workforce is poorly prepared for addressing the communication needs of the more than 90 million U.S. adult patients and caregivers who have limited literacy skills. Training healthcare professionals in clear communication techniques and incentivizing the use of clear communication are promising approaches to narrowing the health literacy gap, and improving the quality of healthcare delivery in the U.S. This panel presentation will highlight the current state of health professionals’ preparedness, and recent advances in clear communication training for health professionals. We will discuss the effectiveness of various training approaches, and consider methods for assessing learners’ acquisition of clear communication skills. Participants will discuss an educational research agenda aimed at improving clear communication training across the health professions.


Keynote Address, Friday October 14

Russell Rothman

Addressing Health Literacy and Health Communication in Population Health


Keynote Address, Friday October 14

Alicia Fernandez

Breaking the Silos: Language and Literacy Research in Dialogue

Listen to Dr. Fernandez’ presentation here!


Invited Workshop: Friday October 14, 10:30am-12:00pm

Creating a Vision for Health Literacy’s Future: The Research Agenda

Michael Villaire, Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA)

Rima Rudd, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Cynthia Baur, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Julie McKinney, Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA)

How do we view the future of health literacy? Is our view a passive one, in which environmental influencers take us to an unplanned future? Or do we take an active role and articulate our vision for a desired, shared future? Research is a vital component of this future. In this session, you’ll hear about an ongoing process to define this future, and engage with the panel and your colleagues in discussing and articulating shared goals for a research agenda with intention and vision. Join this session and have your voice be heard.


Invited Panel E: Friday October 14, 10:30am-12:00pm

Health literate hospitals: meeting the needs of patients and caregivers

Jennifer Innis, University of Toronto

Elina Farmanova, University of Ottowa

Jürgen Pelikan, University of Vienna, Gesundheit Österreich (Health Austria)

Sarah Halbach, University Hospital Bonn

Carol Howe, Texas Christian University

The concept of health literate health care organizations recognizes that organizations have a responsibility to be responsive to the health literacy needs of their patients and families. The idea that healthcare organizations have an obligation to meet the health literacy needs of their users is a new one, and it is only beginning to be addressed by hospitals. The researchers that compose this panel are involved in examining the use of health literate practices to address the needs of patients and caregivers in hospitals in North America and Europe. Their work encompasses the perspectives of patients, families, providers, managers and communities. They will be describing the use of tools to measure the performance of health literate strategies in hospitals and will be exploring ways to enhance organizational health literacy. In addition, they will be discussing areas for future research.


Invited Panel F: Friday October 14, 10:30am-12:00pm

Health Literacy From Policy To Practice – A Sample Research And Implementation Approach In Turkey

F. Nur BARAN AKSAKAL, Gazi University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health


Secil OZKAN, Ministry of Health of Turkey, Member of Health Politics Council

Kagan KARAKAYA, Ministry of Health of Turkey, General Directorate of The Health Promotion/Head of Department

This panel provides an opportunity to hear and discuss a process from politics to implementation of a health literacy promotion program with sample applications from a developing country. Setting the priority, validation of international health literacy scales to obtain a culture-sensitive scale, the experiences of field surveys for health care utilizers, and health care providers, training needs assessment, development and implementation of health literacy training program for health care providers will be covered during the session. Implementation methodology of health literacy within a multi-sectorial approach will also be discussed.

If you are to evaluate your community’s health literacy level, want to develop and implement a training program to improve your health professionals’ capacity on health literacy and be part of the fruitful discussions from policy to practice on Health Literacy, join us to discuss and share experiences.


Invited Panel G: Friday October 14, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Health Promotion through Strategic Communication Design: Creating Patient-Centered Health Messages

Michael Mackert, The University of Texas at Austin

Sara Champlin, The University of North Texas

Allison Lazard, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This presentation aims to further the conversation initiated at previous HARC conferences – more attention is needed in the design and implementation of health messages for patients of various health literacy abilities. Previous research points to tactics we can use to create health content that is simple and clear for our patients. Typically, this involves reducing jargon levels, using simple sentence structures, and including more infographics. But is that all we can do? The purpose of this presentation is to dive into approaches known to further not just patient understanding of health information, but patient engagement with and perceived self-efficacy for health behavior promotion as well.

A team of three strategic communication specialists will present strategies traditionally used in advertising to create messages that stand out from media clutter and get target audiences engaged in behavior change. The presenters argue that these same tactics can be implemented in the design of health messages directed at encouraging better health. Each panelist will discuss how they use their background in advertising to create impactful health messages.

The audience will leave this presentation with a set of tools for creating persuasive health messages. This includes persuasive strategy, understanding the perspective of the patient, and incorporating theory-based visual design elements. In designing messages that go beyond “simple and clear” we can promote patient engagement with and self-efficacy for a variety of health behaviors.


Invited Panel H: Friday October 14, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Health Literacy in the context of Medication Use: Examining the Role of Pharmacist and Pharmacy tools to support health literacy and the communication of medication information for acute and chronic diseases.

Regis Vaillancourt, International Pharmaceutical Federation

Rebekah Moles, The University of Sydney

Anne Metzger, University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy

Annie Pouliot, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Carolyne Dufresne, Université du Québec in Outaouais

Medical information, including drug-related instructions, are often very complex, and studies have shown that patients rely heavily on physicians and pharmacists to communicate the necessary information to safely and efficiently use their medication. Evidence supporting the crucial role that health literacy plays in the comprehension of health and drug-related instructions are well established and undeniable. Because of their central role in advising patients on what and how to use their medications, answering questions on medications, and assessing patients’ misunderstandings of treatment regimens, pharmacists in the community, clinic-based or working in hospitals, all have a role to play in assuring the comprehension and legitimacy of the information provided about medication. The purpose of this session is to provide an overview of the concept of health literacy in the context of medication use and safety, to present the mechanisms by which health literacy affects medication use and safety, and to present the strategies by which medication safety can be optimized.


Invited Panel I: Friday October 14, 1:00pm-2:30pm

More Than Connecting the Dots: Linking Theory to Research to Create the Bigger Picture in Health Literacy

R.V. Rikard, Michigan State University / Deakin University

Virginia Brown, University of Maryland

Nick Butler, Center for Health Policy, University of Missouri

Stanton Hudson, Center for Health Policy, University of Missouri

Sabrina Kurtz-Rossi, Tufts University School of Medicine/Julie McKinney, Institute for Healthcare Advancement

The panel highlights an array of diverse theoretical perspectives that provide frameworks for health literacy research. “Connecting the Dots” is a metaphor referring to the importance of theory to clarify relationships between constructs, shape relevant research questions, delineate hypotheses, and employ appropriate research methodologies. The panel will discuss the relevance of theories from social science, adult education, and public health to frame health literacy research. In addition, the panel will discuss how the respective theoretical perspective guides research question(s) development and the rationale for selecting an appropriate research methodology in relation to the theoretical perspective. The goals of the panel include identifying the relevance of theory to health literacy research, using theory to develop and refine research questions, and critically evaluating the relationship between theory and research methodology.


Lunchtime Sessions: Thursday October 13, 11:45am to 1:15pm

NIH grantspersonship: Opportunities to fund research and training in health literacy

William N. Elwood, NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

Alan VanBiervliet, National Library of Medicine

Karen C. LeeEunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development

Kesi Williams, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

Wen-Ying (Sylvia) Chou, National Cancer Institute

Jennifer Villani, NIH Office of Disease Prevention

This session will provide participants with information and advice to write competitive applications for National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The format will include didactic presentations, and small-group mentoring sessions. NIH science and review officers will provide grantspersonship writing techniques, current funding opportunities related to health literacy, grant mechanisms, policies, procedures, and steps in the submission process. There will be ample time to answer questions regarding programmatic and review issues related to the NIH funding process. In addition, experiential and small-group activities will deepen participants’ knowledge of the grant writing process and provide individually-tailored feedback. Participants who’d like tailored advice for their projects-in-development should bring at least five paper copies of a one- to two-page synopsis of the research aims, hypotheses, and methods. NIH staff will provide participants with detailed feedback and advice.


Special Interest Group, Thursday October 13, 11:45am to 1:15pm

Pearls, Pitfalls and Perils of Publishing

Joy P Deupree, UAB School of Nursing

Cathy Meade, Moffitt Cancer Research Center

Come join the Nursing SIG to examine ways to make publishing enjoyable, rewarding and successful.  Learn practical ways to disseminate the outcomes of your research, education and clinical work for advancing the field of health literacy.  Share your publishing tips and ideas and hear about the new Journal of Health Literacy as an exciting new publishing venue.


Special Interest GroupThursday October 13, 11:45am to 1:15pm

Health Literacy Measurement

Jolie Haun, Veterans Administration

Tam Nguyen, Boston College School of Nursing

The Health Literacy Measurement Special Interest Group will facilitate a participatory discussion that is based on objectives and continued efforts from previous years. Objectives will include the following: (1) Discuss role of health literacy measurement in the field of research and practice, at individual, population, and organizational levels; (2) Discuss current research and the state of the science of Health Literacy Measurement; (3) Discuss the current status of the Health Literacy Measure Tool Shed; and (4) Discuss priorities for moving health literacy measurement forward in research and practice. The Health Literacy Measurement group has become an ongoing area of interest for HARC attendees over the years. As such, we want to introduce new elements, while building on group discussions and activities from previous years. First, we will discuss the broadening scope of health literacy measurement at the individual, population, and organizational levels. This discussion will be facilitated through the discussion of current research which describes the current state of the science.  We will solicit discussion from the group about their efforts and interests in these areas. Then, we will provide a follow up on the status of the health literacy measurement tool shed. Lastly, the session moderators will lead a discussion about how to move the state of science forward in the coming year. The goal of this closing discussion will be to continue the development of this group as a focus area of interest to inform short-term and long-term goals for this special interest group. To close out the session, the session moderators will encourage all participants to share their names and contact information to promote collaboration and foster community investment in efforts to promote the science of health literacy measurement.


Special Interest GroupThursday October 13, 11:45am to 1:15pm

Infusing Health Literacy Principles into Cultural Communication – What’s Being done to meet the health needs of minorities?

Jovonni Spinner, FDA/OMH

Cariny Nunez, FDA/OMH

Gloria Sánchez-Contreras, FDA

Do you want to learn more ways to communicate with minorities on important health topics? Join this session to learn about the cutting edge strategies being used in the field to improve health literacy among minorities. This session will feature thought provoking experts who will share their best practices for incorporating health literacy strategies into their work to meet minorities at their place of need in order to improve their health. The goals of the session are to share information in the following areas:

  • practical strategies for improving health literacy at the community level
  • current research strategies to improve health literacy among minorities
  • importance of translating materials for limited English proficiency populations
  • innovative strategies being used to communicate health information to minorities
  • how to build partnerships to achieve common health literacy goals
January 4, 2017
Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine