Institute of Politics

Health Literacy

What is Health Literacy?

The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Who is the Regional Health Literacy Coalition?

The Regional Health Literacy Coalition is a trusted resource that health care providers and the public can turn to for best practices in health literacy information. 

History

In 2010, the University of Pittsburgh's Institute of Politics (IOP) held a town hall meeting that introduced health literacy as a critical topic in our region. As a result, regional health and human service leaders came together with a goal to improve health literacy in our region. Under the IOP’s guidance and leadership, that group has come to be known as the Regional Health Literacy Coalition. The Coalition is currently housed at the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania.

Mission

The Regional Health Literacy Coalition promotes health literacy and helps providers and patients find ways to better understand each other by:

  • Working with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and others in southwestern PA to raise awareness about health literacy
  • Identifying best practices and ensuring that community partners have the tools necessary to effect positive change in health literacy
  • Developing meaningful policy options related to health literacy using evidence-based research.

Vision

RHLC is working to make our regional health care system more person-centered, health literate and easy to use for all by the year 2020.