Health Literacy and the Disenfranchised: The Importance of Collaboration Between Limited English Proficiency and Health Literacy Researchers

a Family Medicine Research Programs, Department of Family Medicine , University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry , Rochester , New York , USA.
Journal of Health Communication (Impact Factor: 1.61). 10/2012; 17 Suppl 3:7-12. DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2012.712627
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Inadequate health literacy and limited English proficiency are associated with poor health care access and outcomes. Despite what appears to be an interaction phenomenon-whereby the rate of inadequate health literacy is particularly high among limited English proficiency populations-researchers in health literacy and limited English proficiency rarely collaborate. As a result, few health literacy instruments and interventions have been developed or validated for smaller linguistic populations. Interventions to improve health outcomes for people with low health literacy and limited English proficiency show great potential to alleviate many of the health disparities currently experienced by some of the most disenfranchised individuals in our health care system, those from smaller linguistic minority groups, including Deaf American Sign Language users. It is critical for health literacy and limited English proficiency researchers to work together to understand how culture, language, literacy, education, and disabilities influence health disparities and health outcomes. It is important to ensure that research is collaborative and inclusive in order to broaden the reach of future interventions to smaller linguistic minority populations.

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