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Views About the Video Transcript Health Literacy and Literacy in Simple Ways

The video transcript defines health literacy and literacy in simple ways that make it easy for people, who are not in the health sector, to understand. It shows factors that could affect health literacy levels, such as culture, education, and income levels (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). After highlighting this fact, Laureate Education, Inc. (2011) suggests how to overcome some of the health illiteracy challenges that affect society. For example, it suggests that communication is a useful way of managing some of the negative influences of low health literacy levels in society. The article also shows the usefulness of health literacy programs in improving public health. From these findings, we see that public health officials and the public have a responsibility in improving health literacy. In this regard, health literacy is not simply reading or writing because it also involves having strong analytical, reading, and decision-making skills (National Network of Libraries of Medicine, 2015). Broadly, we learn the ease of realizing positive health outcomes if we apply these skills to public health programs.

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How Health Literacy May Affect my Actions as a Public Health Leader

Health literacy is a relatively new concept in public health (Jibaja-Weiss et al., 2011). However, when applied correctly, it affects different aspects of public health leadership. Key areas of concern include

Communication: An important part of public health leadership is conveying public health messages. Leaders have to make informed decisions about their communication strategies, based on the characteristics of their audience (Parker & Thorson, 2009). Health literacy is one characteristic of the target audience, which is important to consider when choosing the communication strategy. For example, public health leaders could communicate relatively complicated health messages to a population that has a high health literacy level because it would understand how the associated health strategies would work. However, if they meet a demographic that suffers from low health literacy levels, they have to adopt simple communication strategies to make this demographic understand their health messages.

Training: Education and training are important aspects of public health leadership. However, organisational structures and competency frameworks often affect education and training programs (Jibaja-Weiss et al., 2011). Their success depends on providing adequate training resources and choosing the right professionals to undertake the training programs. Knowing the health literacy levels of a population would help a public health leader to understand the resource requirements needed for a training program (National Network of Libraries of Medicine, 2015). This way, public health leaders would know what is adequate and inadequate to equip the trained professionals to carry out their duties.

Planning: Successful public health programs need proper planning. Proper planning would include properly designing the public health campaigns, creating effective implementation strategies, and outlining efficient monitoring systems. Health literacy information would help to make such decisions easier. For example, it would help the public health leader to find proper public health interventions, based on the health needs of the community and the capabilities of the health system (Zoellner et al., 2011).

How the Information provided in the Transcript would Impact the Campaign Development Process

Population Diversity: In the video transcript, Laureate Education, Inc. (2011) emphasemphasizeseed to appreciate the impact of population diversity in designing public health campaigns. To show this fact, it explains demographic changes that go with population changes (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). Using the same principle, the population dynamics of the Sierra Leone population would affect the planning process for the Ebola campaign. Based on this fact, the public health leader should acknowledge that not all people receive information in the same way. Using such information, the health campaign would find the easiest way for the population to receive health information after considering the impact of existing cultural practices and health beliefs on behavioural health practices. The aim of doing so is to work within existing cultural beliefs about Ebola and create a scientific base through which the population would understand the need to embrace new health interventions. This way, it would be easy to come up with a public health plan that works well for the community.

Health Literacy Assessment. In the video transcript, Laureate Education, Inc. (2011) explains why public health leaders should investigate a community’s health literacy level before designing a public health campaign. It explains that interacting with community members in an informal setting would allow public health officials to assess their health literacy levels by asking them health-related questions, such as finding out if they understand the medications they should take. This information would support the design process for the Ebola public health campaign by helping to find interventions that would resonate with the prevailing health literacy levels. This process would help to create a framework on which the Ebola campaign would depend on.

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Using Health Literacy Tools: Laureate Education, Inc. (2011) says health literacy tools would help health workers to find out people’s health literacy levels. The Newest Vital Sign, REALM, and TOHFLA are three tools identified by Laureate Education, Inc. (2011) to investigate health literacy levels in the community. Although they have variable reliability, researchers perceive them as accurate representations of people’s health literacy levels (compared to using interviews to investigate health literacy levels). Based on this fact, the proposed public health plan would use these tools to assess the health literacy levels of different Sierra Leone communities to know which public heal intervention to introduce. Such tools would also help to support decision-making processes and support the healthcare planning process.


Jibaja-Weiss, M., Volk, R., Granchi, T., Neff, N., Robinson, E., Spann, S.,…Beck, R. (2011). Entertainment education for breast cancer surgery decisions: A randomized trial among patients with low health literacy. Patient Education and Counseling, 84(1), 41-48.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2011). Health Literacy. Baltimore, MD: Author.

National Network of Libraries of Medicine. (2015). Health Literacy. Web.

Parker, J. C., & Thorson, E. (Eds.). (2009). Health communication in the new media landscape. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Zoellner, J., You, W., Connell, C., Smith-Ray, R., Allen, K., Tucker, K.,…Estabrooks, P. (2011). Health literacy is associated with health eating index scores and sugar-sweetened beverage intake: Findings from the rural lower Mississippi delta. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 111(7), 1012-1020. Web.

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