Plain Language Writing and Editing
Helen Osborne helps organizations write print and web-based health information in ways that intended readers can relate to, understand, and use. With many years experience as a plain language writer/editor, Helen brings writing skills, health literacy expertise, clinical training, and patient perspective to all projects. Examples include:
- Plain language materials for average readers
- Websites for the general public
- Reference materials for professionals
Organizations can contract to work with Helen at an hourly rate, project fee, or yearly retainer. Contact Helen to discuss ways she can help clearly communicate your health messages. You can reach her by email at Helen@healthliteracy.com or call 508-653-1199.
Plain Language Materials for Average Readers
Plain language is more than just using short words. It includes setting a tone, organizing concepts, and using layout, graphics, and formats to help readers understand. While Helen has worked on a wide range of documents for many clients, here are some of her projects that are available to the public:
Finding Comfort Living with Advanced Dementia in Residential Care: A Consumer Guide. Published by CaringKind, this booklet is for family members, friends and caregivers of a person who has dementia. The purpose is to provide information about the best ways to offer comfort and the best possible quality of life for someone whose dementia is progressing. Published 2022.
Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment, published by the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Health. Winner of a Gold Plain Language Award from the National Institute for Health, 2010.
- Chemotherapy and You: Support for People with Cancer, published by the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Health. Winner of a Gold Plain Language Award from the National Institute for Health, 2008.
- Radiation and You: Support for People with Cancer, published by the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Health. Winner of a Gold Plain Language Award from the National Institute for Health, 2008.
Websites for the Public
Health messages are now communicated in many formats. That of course includes printed teaching sheets and written booklets. Health messages are also communicated on websites and in other electronic media such as video scripts and audio podcasts. Helen can help with the writing part of those, too. Examples include United Hospital Fund’s Next Step in Care Guides and Checklists for family caregivers.
Reference Materials for Professionals
Helen often writes about patient education and health communication. For 10 years, she was a columnist for the Boston Globe’s On Call magazine. Helen is author of several books. They include:
- Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Third Edition (Updated 2022). This award-winning, best-selling book is considered by many as the most important health literacy reference today.
- Health Literacy Month Handbook: The Event Planning Guide for Health Literacy Advocates. A how-to handbook filled with up-to-date examples of ways to raise awareness about health literacy.
- Podcasting Guide: A Little About Technology, A Lot About Getting Started with Audio Interviews. Co-authored with her audio editor, this guides include lots of practical how-to podcast information.
Want Helen’s help writing your health materials in ways readers can understand? Get started by emailing Helen or calling her at 508-653-1199.
Kierstan Boyd, Director of Patient Education
American Academy of Ophthalmology