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Consumer health library experts teach free continuing ed workshops for VCU Health clinical staff during October

September 28, 2018

October is Health Literacy Month. Definitions of “health literacy” vary. But a broadly accepted definition from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine defines “health literacy” 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.”

VCU Libraries’ consumer health library, the Community Health Education Center in the Gateway Building, and the VCU Health Department of Education and Professional Development are offering a workshop about health literacy. Open only to VCU Health clinical health care staff, the sessions aim to offer providers new skills and knowledge they can use to improve patients’ health literacy.

Many adults in the United States are considered to have low health literacy, which impacts their ability to make appropriate health decisions and can negatively impact a person’s health.

"Many patients who visit the Community Health Education Center have low literacy,” says CHEC librarian Dana Ladd, Ph.D. “We can provide these patients with easy-to-read or audiovisual resources to meet their health information needs. This workshop will provide health care providers with an awareness of CHEC and its resources as a place where they can refer their patients."

Workshop participants will learn what health literacy is and how it impacts health care. Instructors will demonstrate how to find reliable consumer health information for patients; describe how to use the Teach Back method effectively for patient education; and teach participants how to critically evaluate written patient education materials. The workshop will include a hands-on activity so participants can practice their new skills.

The lunchtime workshops will be held during health literacy month. Sessions will begin at 11:45 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. and are open to all VCU Health clinical health care staff and providers. Those who want to attend can register in the Learning Exchange by searching, “Health Literacy Workshop.” Lunch will be provided. One CME credit will be awarded.

  • Oct. 2 Community Health Education Center (CHEC) 1200 E. Marshall St. Richmond, Va.
  • Oct. 8 Community Health Education Center (CHEC) 1200 E. Marshall St. Richmond, VA.
  • Oct. 16, VCU Health Stony Point 9000 Stony Point Pkwy, Richmond, VA.
  • Oct. 23 Neuroscience, Orthopedic, and Wellness Center (NOW Building), 11958 W. Broad St., Henrico, Va.
  • Oct. 30 Community Memorial Hospital, 1755 Mecklenburg Ave. South Hill, Va.


Health literacy initiatives do not end when health literacy month is over. The knowlegeable staff at the Community Health Education Center can direct health care professions to reliable information written in easy-to-read language that they, in turn, can refer patients to. CHEC will also offer additional workshops in finding consumer information. CHEC staff is also planning to offer health literacy workshops in collaboration with the VCU Center for Health Disparities for patrons at the Richmond East End Public Library and the East End Health and Wellness Center.

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