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CALPACT Webinar: Health Communication Matters! Applying Health Literate Communications- Examples from a Nasty Flu Season

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Meeting Description:

Public Health professionals communicate with a variety of audiences in their daily work. While reasonably well-accepted that special consideration be given to low-literate health care consumers in clinical settings, less emphasis has been given to applying health literacy in diverse sectors of public health. Poor health literacy is not limited to those with language or reading skill barriers - only 12% of Americans understand the health information they receive.


As public health professionals we have a responsibility to understand the health literacy barriers. This presentation will provide tips and resources where public health professionals can make a difference in increasing the success of their communication efforts. 


While one flu season can pass mildly and with minimal activity, another may hit the country early and hard. CDC health communicators work with subject matter experts and stakeholders to develop messages for a variety of audiences, employing different types of media for effective reach. Due to unforeseen variables, the 2012-2013 flu season posed specific challenges. This presentation will highlight some of those challenges, showcase strategies and messaging used, and preview what’s to come for the 2013-2014 season.


After this session, you will be able to: 

  • Explain definitions of health literacy and plain language, statistics, prevalence, and costs associated with limited health literacy
  • Describe the role of health professionals as change agents for effective communications with diverse audiences
  • List strategies to develop health materials for readability/usability
  • Explain how CDC communicators apply fundamentals of risk communication and plain language to reach a diverse audience


FREE Webinar


The Health Communication Matters series will help participants in all walks of public health to apply health literacy principles to their everyday communications. 




Email or call (510) 643-0970.

Date: Wed, Mar 27, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM PDT
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Host(s): CALPACT - UC Berkeley
 Presenter Information
Michael Villaire, MSLM
Speaker Photo

Michael Villaire is Chief Operating Officer for the Institute for Healthcare Advancement, a nonprofit healthcare public charity dedicated to empowering people to better health, with an emphasis on health literacy.

Michael produces the Institute for Healthcare Advancement’s annual Health Literacy Conference. He has written numerous articles and lectures nationally on health literacy. He is co-author of the textbook, Health Literacy in Primary Care: A Clinician’s Guide and the easy to read self-help health book, What To Do When Your Child Is Heavy. Michael is adjunct faculty at Brandman University, where he teaches a health literacy course for the Master of Science in Health Risk and Crisis Communication program. 

His background includes 20 years as an editor in healthcare publishing. He has helped redesign and launch several medical and nursing journals, and managed the development of a multimedia, interactive curriculum in critical care.

Yvonne Garcia
Speaker Photo

Yvonne Garcia serves as Health Communication Specialist for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She recently joined CDC as the team lead for the national influenza vaccine communications campaign. Ms. Garcia supports her new role with over 14 years of experience as a CDC contractor charged with directing various immunization campaigns targeting audiences through the lifespan.
Prior to CDC work, Ms. Garcia spent 10 years working with domestic and international broadcast networks engaged in the production of health and science programming. She has applied her knowledge of health communication, social marketing, outreach to underserved populations, and media relations to support several communication activities at CDC including during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic to develop and test a Hispanic Risk Communication Model of which can be applied to test health messages with other ethnic populations.

California Pacific Public Health Training Center, Community Health Planning and Policy Development section, APHA, Health Communication Working Group, and CPHA-N.