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Natick Woman Promotes Heal;th Literacy

Posted by Tom Coakley  October 13, 2009 08:30 AM

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By Cindy Cantrell Globe Correspondent

In 1995, Helen Osborne of Natick was working as director of psychiatric rehabilitation services at Carney Hospital in Dorchester when she said she experienced a "ta-da" moment.

As the leader of psychoeducational groups, she carefully prepared handouts to assist patients with stress management and other skills. It was only after she read an article stating that more than half of adults don't understand their health care instructions that she realized her patients also required assistance in health literacy.

Since that time, Osborne founded Health Literacy Consulting in Natick and Health Literacy Out Loud podcasts She also wrote "Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message" and created Health Literacy Month in October, a worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the importance of understandable health information.

As part of this year's observance, a different story will be posted each day this month on her health literacy month website about the importance of health literacy to healthcare providers, policy makers, patients, and families. The Web site also features podcasts, songs, and photos.

"I want others to be aware of why health literacy matters," Osborne said, "so they'll do their part in improving health communication."

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