Module 1: Introduction to Health Literacy
The ability to understand and use health information can have a broad impact on the health and well-being of
people in rural communities. This module provides an overview of health literacy definitions and introduces some
of the unique barriers and challenges to addressing health literacy in rural areas. It also provides important
background information needed before implementing a program to improve health literacy in a rural community.
People with adequate levels of health literacy
are better able to understand their health concerns and diagnoses as well as any treatment information. Interventions
that improve personal health literacy have been shown to result in better outcomes such as increased
personal health knowledge and improved adherence to prescribed treatment. Organizations that focus on improving
health literacy help people better understand and use health information and in turn make it easier for people
to interact with the healthcare system.
For general information on starting a rural community health program, see Creating a Program: Where to Begin in the
Rural Community Health Toolkit.
In this module: