Health Literacy

Plain Language: Writing for Understanding

This half-day or full-day workshop is about writing health information in ways that patients and the public can understand. Helen Osborne introduces plain language strategies, shows before and after examples, and offers exercises for participants to practice as they learn. Helen also addresses ways to assess a document’s readability and usability. As is her style, Helen not only talks about what to do but also encourages participants to practice on their own documents.

The goal is that participants leave with at least a starting level of plain language awareness and savvy. This workshop can be adapted for staff of all disciplines, backgrounds, and job responsibilities. Beyond the workshop itself, as requested Helen will participate in a follow-up conference call with participants to discuss successes and struggles when putting plain language into practice.

Workshop topics include:

  • Challenges communicating health information
  • Plain language strategies: organization, tone, word choice, sentence structure, numbers, layout, and graphics
  • How to assess materials and measure understanding
  • Putting plain language into YOUR practice

Once you and Helen agree to work together, she will:

  • Customize presentations. Helen will ask you to complete a Pre-Program Questionnaire (PPQ) and then schedule a call to discuss it. This way, Helen can adapt her talk to meet the specific needs, goals, and preferences of your audience.
  • Provide a master copy of her handout. This is not a collection of slides. Instead, Helen’s handouts are filled with valuable how-to information and resources that participants can use as reference after the presentation ends.
  • Discuss discount options when purchasing multiple copies of her book, Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition.
  • Work with you to obtain continuing education credits. This includes providing a timed agenda with teaching formats and behavioral objectives. Helen will also send you her CV.
  • Help promote your event. Helen will gladly review your promotional materials and be available for radio and television interviews.
To learn more and schedule a presentation, email Helen Osborne or call 508-653-1199.
Helen Osborne Speaking on Health Literacy

"Our deepest thanks for helping us to kick off the Pennsylvania Health Literacy Coalition in such wonderful fashion. I also want to add my own personal thanks for the creativity, expertise, and passion you brought to our meeting. We really cannot thank you enough for your support of our work.“

Susan Choi, PhD, CPHQ
Senior Director, Quality Partnerships & Initiatives
Health Care Improvement Foundation, Philadelphia, PA