Using Stories to Teach About Health

Stories are powerful health communication tools. By combining emotions and facts, stories can help people connect with health information in a more personal way. Stories can help people of all ages and cultures find qualities they have in common. Stories not only can...

Metaphors, Similes, and Analogies

Metaphors, similes, and analogies are figures of speech used to help people understand unfamiliar words and concepts. They do so by comparing new information to that which people already know. While there are important distinctions among the three forms of speech, for...

Helping Patients Problem-Solve

The more stories I hear from family and friends about medical mishaps, the more I become convinced that patients need yet another skill–the ability to independently figure out what to do in unexpected or unfamiliar situations. Here are my musings about how...

Respecting Our Readers

Here’s my wish. As you choose words and graphics for health-related materials, please consider not only the learning and language needs of your intended audience but also their emotions and life experiences. Several years ago I was leading a plain language workshop...

Listening & Speaking

Health Literacy How-To Just because listening and speaking happen a lot doesn’t mean that this form of communication is always easy or effective. For instance, speaking can be hard when providers are rushed, explain the same concepts over and over again, or assume...