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MU offers training program to improve health literacy

COLUMBIA, Mo. The cost of low health literacy the difference between patients' abilities to understand health information and providers' abilities to effectively communicate complex medical information is $106 billion to $238 billion annually, according to Pfizer, a leading biopharmaceutical company. To improve the health literacy of professionals and patients, the University of Missouri will offer a health literacy study emphasis beginning this fall. The MU School of Health Professions will be the first health professional training program in the country to offer a health literacy certificate to health professionals, including physical and occupational therapists, radiological technicians and administrators.

"Health literacy training is important because health professionals and patients need to be aware of the non-medical factors that affect their abilities to care for themselves," said Brick Johnstone, health psychology professor in the School of Health Professions. "Currently, the majority of health literacy training consists of brief workshops and is primarily offered to physicians. This area of emphasis will fill the void by training non-physician health professionals, which is important given there are 120,000 health professionals in Missouri."

The health literacy courses will provide health professionals with more thorough training of issues relating to health literacy and health compliance of patients with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Class topics will include culture and health literacy, religion and health literacy, health policy/ health disparities, behavioral compliance, and bioethics/legal issues. The certificate will be offered this fall through traditional and online classes. An estimated 300 students will be educated during the first two years based on the interest of students in the health sciences program, Johnstone said

"The Institute of Medicine has determined that many deaths are the result of low h

Contact: Emily Martin
University of Missouri-Columbia

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MU offers training program to improve health literacy
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