Center for Health Literacy Promotion - Action research for effective use of health info & services
Health Literacy Library
Selected papers and presentations on health literacy
by Sandra Smith, PhD, MPH

Research Papers & Presentations

Peer Reviewed Article
Health Literacy and Depression in the Context of Home Visitation
Smith SA. & Moore EJ. (2011). Health Literacy and Depression in the Context of Home Visitation. Maternal and Child Health Journal. (5)

We explored health literacy in parents as an underlying construct that develops through social interaction and reflection and involves an array of skills that enable a parent to manage personal and child health and healthcare. We hypothesized that depression impairs health literacy and impedes efforts to promote health literacy through home visitation. We found that depressed and not depressed parents achieved significant improvements in health literacy. Depressed mothers made the greatest gains.


Peer Reviewed Conference Presentation
Health Literacy and Depression in the Context of Home Visitation
Health Literacy Annual Research Conference 2011
View slides here. Read the text.
Please note these are copyrighted materials. No reproduction or reuse is permitted without prior written permission.

Peer Reviewed Conference Presentation
Promoting Health Literacy through Reflective Practice
Parents As Teachers Annual Conference November 8, 2011.
You can view the slides and handouts. It will be most effective to use the Do-It-Yourself Handout along with the slides. Look for white numbers on the slides. They refer to  the number of the  question(s) on the DIY Handout that is answered on that slide. The teaching story illustrates a home visitor using Dynamic Tension (David Emerald, Power of TED*) to promote health literacy through reflective practice. The story is true and the characters are real. The story was written as part of an independent review of evidence on Dr Smith’s  NIH/AHRQ-funded research titled “Does Home Visitation Promote Maternal Health Literacy?" Please note these are copyrighted materials. No reproduction or reuse is permitted without prior written permission.

Research Summary
Home Visiting Programs Provide Opportunity for Enhancing Health Literacy
Smith, Sandra A. (Spring 2011). Northwest Bulletin: Family and Child Health 25 (1);11. University of Washington with U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services

This item summarizes findings of the study titled Does  Home Visitation Promote Maternal Health Literacy? Overall mothers in seven home visitation programs across the country achieved significant improvement in health literacy scores, demonstrating improved management of personal and child health and healthcare. Those with lower estimated reading ability (<6th grade level) made the greatest gains.

PhD Dissertation
Promoting  Health  Literacy: Concept,  Measurement  & Intervention
Smith, S. A. (2009). Promoting Health Literacy Concept, Measurement & Intervention. Literacy, 170. Dissertation. Union Institute and University.

This study focused on health literacy as one of multiple functional literacies which enable a person to function in some social context. Health literacy enables a person to function in the health arena; to participate in healthcare and manage health at home. The study proposed a theoretical framework for promoting health literacy, field tested an instrument for measuring maternal health literacy and investigated the impacts of a reflective model of home visitation on maternal health literacy. The report describes an intervention that aimed to develop maternal health literacy as a personal asset through community-based health promotion efforts. The overarching goal was to enable parents to use health information and services in ways that maintain and promote health and so to exert greater control over family health and health actions.

Engaging Differences in Healthcare
Sandra Smith October 2006
This paper explores the effects of difference on access to healthcare, delivery of services, and quality of care. Focus is placed on differences in healthcare providers’ and consumers’ logic, language and experience. In this wide communication gap lie endless opportunities for misunderstandings, misdiagnoses, unnecessary or inaccurate testing, breaches of confidence, unreliable research data and other errors that impede access, confound equity, increase costs and reduce quality of care. Also reviewed are the social policies intended to motivate healthcare service providers to engage differences in a timely manner and thereby improve access and quality of services to diverse populations.
Read the text here.

Peer reviewed Scientific Poster Presentation
Theoretical Framework for Promoting & Measuring Health Literacy as an Asset
Health Literacy Annual Research Conference
Washington, DC November 19, 2009
View poster

Functional Health Literacy and the use of Dental Services in Young Children. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine parental Functional Health Literacy and their child's subsequent utilization of dental services.
Melissa Paige Fries
Read the text here.

Calderon JL,  Smith SA and Baker RS. (2007) FONBAYS: A Simple Method for Enhancing Readability of Patient Information. Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education 13 (1), 20-24.  

This 2007 article focuses on a method to increase the readability of  health information. It includes 9 Steps to Readability Enhancement using the FONBAY method. FONBAYS= For Or Nor But And Yet So. These connector words make for complex difficult-to-read sentences and signal the need for punctuation.
Read Text Here.



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