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Health Literacy Institute Chair Discusses the Importance of Health Literacy with TV20 Cleveland

By Brad Hauber on 
Posted on October 8, 2019

Health Literacy Institute Chair Discusses the Importance of Health Literacy with TV20 Cleveland

Learn more about the Health Literacy Institute at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center here.

October is Health Literacy Month and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center's Karen Komondor and Healthy Cleveland's Jessica Jurcak sat down with TV20 Cleveland to talk about health literacy in Cleveland and why it matters. Watch the full interview here.

Komondor is the director of education at St. Vincent Charity and chair of the Health Literacy Institute at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. She is also president of Ohio Health Literacy Partners. Jurcak is the health promotion coordinator at the Cleveland Department of Public Health.

During the interview, Komondor described the original definition of 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.”

She then discussed how that definition is evolving. “With the original definition, the onus is on the individuals. Now, it’s recognized as a systems issue. Providers need to explain things in a way patients can understand. Health systems need to make health literacy a priority with information that has plain language and is easily accessible,” she added.

Komondor also discussed the barriers patients face when speaking to health care professionals, and how health literacy can affect everyone, regardless of their overall literacy level. Plus, how the Health Literacy Institute has been making an impact at St. Vincent Charity for more than a decade.

Health Literacy Month is a time for hospital, health centers, libraries and other organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information. Healthy Cleveland (also known as the Healthy Cleveland Initiative) is a partnership of individuals, nonprofits, and businesses seeking the common goal of a healthier Cleveland.

The Health Literacy Institute at St. Vincent Charity has been a nationally recognized leader in developing a program model that would institutionalize health literacy across the continuum of patient care since 2007. Information from health professionals, the media and organizations often present information that is difficult to understand and act on. St. Vincent Charity recognizes that health literacy isn’t just about the skills of an individual patient, but that health systems and professionals impact health literacy by making health information and services understandable and actionable.

Learn more about the Health Literacy Institute at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center here.

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