Health Literacy From A-Z

Health Literacy
Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Third Edition is written for professionals, students, and others who care a lot about clearly communicating health messages. It also is for people who have multiple projects competing for time and attention. In other words, this book is written for you.

Intended as an easy-to-use guide, this book is written in a way to inform and inspire you without being overwhelming. There are 43 stand-alone chapters. Arranged alphabetically from A to Z, each chapter includes:

  • Starting Points. Introductory information with context for strategies that follow.
  • Strategies, Ideas, and Suggestions. How-to tips for communicating clearly.
  • Stories from Practice. Real-life experiences that make key points “come alive.”
  • Cited Sources. References from podcasts, research papers, articles, books, and more.
  • Sources to Learn More. Ways to continue learning about each topic.

To buy this book

Reader Reviews

“The book is written for those studying and working in all aspects of health care. In particular, it is intended for those who interact with any aspect of health communication, whether a pharmacy tech, web designer, or clinician. Additionally, the author’s ability to write clear and simple communication makes this a perfect book to be used in a university and/or allied health school setting.”

Doody’s Book Reviews, 2022


Health Literacy from A to Z is the primary textbook for my undergraduate health literacy class. It offers foundational knowledge in a succinct and relatable way and supports in-depth class discussion. I often pair chapters of the book with Health Literacy Out Loud podcasts. This combination allows students to hear from multitude perspectives about ways to reduce barriers and increase access to health information and services.”

Catherine Maybury, PhD
Instructor, Horowitz Center for Health Literacy
University of Maryland School of Public Health

“I’m savoring all the fantastic new information in the new edition of Helen’s book, Health Literacy from A to Z. When I get stuck on something, I have a “What would Helen write?’ moment and grab the book. It is my go-to reference for making health communication easier.”

Mark Hagerty
Biomedical Writing Services


“Your book is brilliant and comprehensive. It should be required reading for every medical student…and nurse, and patient. Even someone who is fairly savvy about medical terms and comfortable with doctors and nurses will benefit from this work.“

Joel Kowit PhD,
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biology,
Emmanuel College, Boston, MA & Founder and Director, Immunology Workshops

“This timeless guide is essential for health communicators. Especially in this era of complex, consumer-drive health care, Health Literacy from A to Z is like having a trusted colleague offer thoughtful, clear, practical advice for making health information usable, understandable and always respectful.“

Leigh Curtin-Wilding MSc,
Director of Boston University’s Health Communication Graduate Program

“This book provides a great solution to this ubiquitous problem. It’s very well-written; easy to read; and chock-full of facts and information, which can be used daily in clinical practise. I especially love the ‘Stories from Practice’ which provide real life examples of how these tools can be used!”

Aniruddha Malpani, MD,
Mumbai, India

“As Patient/Family Education Coordinator for our hospital I spent a over a year learning piecemeal what is offered in a nutshell in this book. It also gives detailed ‘Sources to Learn More’ at the end of each chapter. No digging for additional info–it is right there at your fingertips. I wish I had had this book when I first started in this postion. It would have been helpful in steering me on a more efficient path.”

Bonnie Ronan,
Patient/Family Education Coordinator

“You can read the book from A to Z, if that’s your preferred approach. Or you can look up a topic of interest, such as Document Design, Interpreters and Translations, Listening and Speaking, Numeracy, Visuals, or any of the others, including several important chapters on Knowing Your Audience. My favorite way to read it is to open it up anywhere and read whatever is on that page, because everything in the book is practical what-to-do and how-to-do-it.”

Naomi Karten,
Author and Speaker

“Your book, Health Literacy from A to Z, is one of the most informative books I have ever read on the subject. It has helped me with several projects.”

Kashika Sahay,
Student at the University of Rochester

“I received a copy of Health Literacy from A to Z in the mail last week, but just now had a chance to crack the binding. What a joy it is. The tone is at once folksy and warm, but also authoritative. It contains so many good ideas for practice that I feel I ought to number them 1-365 and try one out each day. Not surprisingly, the best thing about it (to me, at any rate), is that you’ve done that Helen Osborne thing that you do so well: woven together diverse voices into a tapestry of collective wisdom. Bravo!”

Don Rubin PhD,
Center for Health & Risk Communication,
University of Georgia

Health Literacy from A to Z, 3rd Edition by Helen Osborne
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Author: Helen Osborne, M.Ed., OTR

From Health Literacy Press, a division of Aviva Publishing. March 1, 2022

ISBN for print version: 978-1-63618-175-2
ISBN for digital version: 978-1-63618-176-9