Health literacy teaching in US medical schools, 2010

Clifford A. Coleman, Shannon Appy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Increasing and improving training about health literacy for US health professionals has been repeatedly called for at the national level. However, little is known about the current state of health literacy teaching in US health professions schools, including medical schools. This study aimed to provide a baseline snapshot of the quantity and characteristics of health literacy teaching in US medical schools. METHODS: We conducted a self-administered web-based survey of the deans responsible for medical education at 133 US schools of allopathic medicine. RESULTS: Data were received from 61 institutions; 72.1% of respondents reported teaching about health literacy in their required curriculum. Among schools with a required health literacy curriculum, the median time spent teaching about health literacy was 3 hours. The majority of health literacy teaching occurred in the first 2 years of the curriculum. The most commonly reported techniques for teaching about health literacy included didactics, simulated patient encounters, and workshops. Evaluation of learners was most commonly achieved using standardized patients, clinical observation, and written examinations. CONCLUSIONS: Many US allopathic schools of medicine report teaching about health literacy in their required curricula. There is considerable variability in the number of hours devoted to such instruction and in the content and teaching and evaluative techniques used in these health literacy curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-507
Number of pages4
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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