Health Literacy & Public Health: Introduction




This training:

  • Introduces the concept of health literacy.
  • Dispels common assumptions about people with low literacy.
  • Presents the consequences of low health literacy.
  • Describes public health activities with a health literacy perspective.

This training is the first of two that address health literacy and public health. After completing this training, it is recommended that you enroll in Health Literacy & Public Health: Strategies for Addressing Low Health Literacy.

This training contains four sections. The content and activities demonstrate how the public’s literacy skills affect interactions with medical and public health staff.


After completing the course, the learner will be able to:

  • Define fundamental literacy.
  • Define health literacy.
  • Describe how health literacy relates to public health.
  • List the four domains of health literacy.
  • Give an example of each of the four domains of health literacy.
  • List some coping strategies people use to compensate for their low literacy skills.
  • List some groups that are more likely to be less literate.
  • List some reasons why people may have low literacy.
  • List the consequences of low health literacy for individuals.
  • Describe why people, regardless of literacy skills, may fail to understand health information.
  • Give examples of how low literacy affects the essential services of public health.

The planners and course authors have no financial arrangements or affiliations with any commercial entities whose products, research or services may be discussed in this activity. No commercial support has been accepted for this activity.

Employed by or in New York State?

If you are employed by NYS or a local health department in NYS, we recommend that you enroll for this course through the NYS Department of Health Learning Management System (DOH LMS).