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How health literacy is defined has a meaningful impact on the medical field.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sought public feedback on their new definition of health literacy for Health People 2030 by Aug. 5, 2019.
We thought it focused too little on the social determinants of health, so we drafted a model comment and a revised definition for our members to consider.
In all, 43 Salud America! network members emailed HHS to push for this revised definition!
The Old, New, and Suggested Health Literacy Definition
The Healthy People report provides science-based national objectives for improving the health of all Americans over a 10-year period. The report focuses on the leading causes of death and disease and drives action at the national, state, and local levels.
In June 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) invited public input on their working definition of health literacy for Healthy People 2030.
Old Definition (from Healthy People 2020): “Health literacy is the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions.”
Working Definition (for Health People 2030): “Health literacy occurs when a society provides accurate health information and services that people can easily find, understand, and use to inform their decisions and actions.”
Salud America!’s Suggested Definition: “Health literacy occurs when a society provides accurate information about health and social determinants of health that people can easily and equitably find, understand, and use to inform their decisions, actions and advocacy.”
What Happens Next?
The final definition of health literacy will be known when Healthy People 2030 is released.
For now, HHS and its Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 continue to work on finalizing this report.
We will continue to track progress on the development of Healthy People 2030.
In fact, the health literacy definition is the second time Salud America! members have weighed in during the development of Healthy People 2030.
By January 2019, more than 2,000 Salud America! members emailed public comments urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences in proposed objectives for Healthy People 2030.
We will share updates on childhood trauma and health literacy soon!