Posted on May 22, 2023
Health literacy – the ability to find and understand health information so a person can make informed health decisions – is a cornerstone for better health outcomes. Health literacy skills develop early in life and reflect an individual’s culture. Unfortunately, disparities exist, resulting in low health literacy among racial and ethnic minority populations. Recent COVID-19 pandemic studies have shown a direct relationship between racial and ethnic health disparities, low health literacy, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, and mistrust in the health system. These factors have increased COVID-19 cases and death rates among racial and ethnic minorities, including Black, African American, and Hispanic/Latino populations. Building health literacy can improve outcomes, and one key to doing so is empowering a corps of trusted messengers who can help others better understand health information by making it culturally and linguistically appropriate.