Health Literacy

Health literacy is defined as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions" (Healthy People 2020). People with limited or low health literacy have less knowledge of disease management, report poorer health status and are less likely to seek preventive services. 

The Center for Health Policy envisions a future in which the policies and practices of Missouri institutions promote understanding of health and medical information for everyone. This is accomplished with informed decision-making, health-enhancing actions, and improved health outcomes.

To date, the Center has jointly created a number of innovative health literacy training programs, including doctor/patient clinical simulation models, and continues to provide writing and editing services for plain language material development. The Center also authored a commissioned paper, “Improving Health and the Bottom Line: The Case for Health Literacy,” for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at the 2017 Roundtable on Health Literacy workshop in Washington, D.C. Funding for the report was provided by the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies.

If your organization needs assistance developing materials in plain language or if your organization has other health literacy needs, please contact healthpolicy@health.missouri.edu, or call 573-882-1491.

Health Literacy Quality Improvement Training Program for Physicians 

Do you want to improve your patients’ satisfaction? Spend one day with CHP health literacy coaches and learn how you can improve your patients’ experience in your health care setting.

Our Health Literacy Quality Improvement Program (QIP) is a practice improvement module that can help you and your staff achieve better communication and outcomes for your patients. Currently, we have two board-approved QIP offerings:

Health Equity

In 2007, the Centers for Health Policy at the University of Missouri and Washington University established the Missouri Health Equity Collaborative (MOHEC) through a contract with the Missouri Foundation for Health and later, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. The collaborative serves as a conduit for connecting policy experts, practitioners, communities and researchers.

One way the collaborative makes these connections is by hosting meetings to bring together professionals working around the state in the area of health disparities. This is done once yearly on a state-wide basis as well as other smaller, regional meetings throughout Missouri.

Finally, MOHEC is committed to developing and distributing disparities-focused information.

Diversity and Inclusion

The Center for Health Policy has a novel training method for addressing diversity and inclusion in health care, which has become an increasingly popular component of the center's educational offerings. 

Stan Hudson, the Center’s associate director, and his colleagues began developing the new method after he became a Certified Diversity FaciliTrainer with the National Conference for Community and Justice in 2014. With more than 15 years of experience as a health literacy expert and policy analyst, Hudson has developed and implemented Center workshops and training sessions that have reached more than 5,000 health professionals and policy makers.

The Center has adopted the National Conference for Community and Justice model of using group participation, interaction, and dialogue to teach about the many social determinants of health. Ethnicity, race, gender identity, income, sexual orientation and religion are among the determinants used to show how the broader social system values some identities and penalizes others.

To learn more, contact Stan Hudson at hudsonst@health.missouri.edu.

MO HealthNet

The Center for Health Policy and the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis (OSEDA) at the University of Missouri have developed a collaborative partnership with the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) Mo Health Net Division. Through the collaborative, CHP and OSEDA provide ongoing research and analysis on the MO HealthNet program, Missouri’s public health coverage for low-income families with children, senior citizens and people with disabilities. Research teams, under the direction of DSS Mo HealthNet Division, provide tailored analyses to better understand program costs and quality of care issues.

Recent analyses included the examination of atypical anti-psychotic medication use in Mo HealthNet children and evaluation of the Medicaid Transformation Grant, Money Follows the Person, and the Chronic Care Improvement Program. CHP and OSEDA also provide-an annual evaluation of MO HealthNet.