What the term health literacy means and what it encompasses will be a subject of academic debate and revelation for many years to come but quite simply - for the moment - it is about the many skills, attributes, abilities and freedoms that are required to stay well. It is about the ways in which health information and health knowledge is communicated and how it is understood and received. Our own levels of health literacy are affected by who we are, where we come from, our level of social connectedness and what motivates us at a particular time.
This blog will record my efforts to learn more about health literacy from people who spend a great deal of time thinking about it. In my work as a producer of health information for consumers, I am constantly baffled by the problem of health literacy. Particularly how we, as a large organisation, with a community that spans the State, can increase our capacity to communicate with increasingly diverse communities and to play a genuine role in increasing health literacy.
I have been lucky enough to be awarded a travelling fellowship through the Victorian Quality Council to to further explore an area for which I am extremely passionate. I will visit the USA, Canada, England, the Netherlands and Finland - fourteen cities over about nine weeks. I will meet with health professionals, academics, practitioners, literacy professionals and researchers and attend three conferences. My journey starts in April 2011 but before I go I would really like to meet with similar professionals here to learn about where and to learn from them about the Australian context in their opinion.
I believe I have a lot to learn and I look forward to sharing it with you.