September 2018
Wisconsin Health Literacy Digest
In this issue:
  • 2019 Wisconsin Health Literacy Summit speaker line-up
  • Wisconsin Health Literacy seeks new Health Literacy Director
  • New workshop – Health Online: Finding Information You Can Trust
  • Opioid workshops have positive impact on learning and behavioral change
  • Medication Label Project makes great strides
  • Health Literacy training opportunity - working with Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds
Save the Date!
2019 Wisconsin Health Literacy Summit:
April 1 - 3, 2019
You won't want to miss this line-up!

Join us April 1 - 3, 2019, for the Wisconsin Health Literacy Summit in Madison, WI.

You'll hear from respected experts in the field who take us beyond our everyday discussions and broaden our scope on health literacy. From community health to academia, literacy to communication, and many other professions, the summit theme focuses on "a sharper view through the lens of health literacy".

Check out these nationally known health literacy experts who already have committed for plenary sessions (more to come):

Dean Schillinger, MD ( Keynote Speaker)
Professor of Medicine, University of California-San Francisco
Founding Director, Center for Vulnerable Populations, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital

Perri Klass, MD
Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics, New York University
National Medical Director, Reach Out and Read

Shonna Yin, MD, MSc
General Pediatrician
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Population Health at the NYU School of Medicine / Bellevue Hospital Center

Michael Paasche-Orlow, MD, MPH
Professor, Boston University School of Medicine
Editor-in-Chief, Health Literacy Research and Practice

Annie Griffiths ( Closing Speaker)
National Geographic Photographer
Executive Director, Ripple Effect Images

Pre-Conference Session Speakers:

Sabrina Kurtz-Rossi, M.Ed.
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
Tufts University School of Medicine

Audrey Riffenburgh, Ph.D.
President, Plain Language Works
Founding Member, Clear Language Group

*Requests for Proposals for breakout sessions will be sent in mid-October!
Seeking Health Literacy Director
Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. seeks a full-time Health Literacy Director for its nationally-recognized division, Wisconsin Health Literacy. The division promotes clear communication between people that give and receive healthcare to improve health understanding, access, costs and ultimately, health outcomes. A full job description can be found here .  

We encourage you to share this announcement with your networks, as we work to find a new director who will replace Steve Sparks, retiring in January.
Now scheduling! Workshops on how to find trustworthy on-line health information
Health Online: Finding Information You Can Trust
Wisconsin Health Literacy (WHL) has started a new project in digital health literacy. WHL is partnering with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) Greater Midwest Region (GMR) to bring communities in Wisconsin educational workshops on how to find reliable and trustworthy health information online.

The project will help persons from under-served populations better access, identify and use reliable health information on the internet. WHL will partner with local organizations to host 32 “digital health literacy” workshops for consumers most at risk for low health literacy, including seniors and individuals with low literacy. 

The workshops are designed to be interactive. Participants will use tablets, provided by Wisconsin Health Literacy, to follow along and try web searches during the workshop.

If this program sounds of interest to you, please contact Caitlyn Mowatt, Health Communications Specialist at , or (608) 257-1655, ext. 6.
Opioid workshops
Data shows workshops have positive impact on learning and behavior change

Pictured right: Dr. Cindy Henry, Wisconsin Medical Society member, facilitates the Let's Talk About Pain Medicines workshop at Montello Senior Meal Site, in partnership with Marquette County Aging & Disability Resource Center.
Wisconsin Health Literacy (WHL) has been busy this year partnering with organizations throughout the state of Wisconsin to address the opioid academic. To do this, WHL created educational workshops on the safe and effective use of opioid medicine.

On June 30, 2018, WHL completed the first grant funded by Wisconsin Department of Health Services Minority Health Program. This grant allowed WHL to partner with organizations across the state serving minorities, refugees and immigrants - implementing 25 workshops to help their clients more safely and effectively use their pain medicine.

Workshop survey results revealed a significant increase in understanding where the best place to store opioid medicine is by 34.4%. Sixty-day post-workshop surveys also showed increases in behavior changes.

WHL is still facilitating workshops through December of this year, supported by two additional funders: Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation and Security Health Plan.

If you are interested in hosting a workshop at your organization, contact Kari LaScala at , or (608) 257-1655, ext. 5.
Pictured above: Dr. Byron Crouse, Wisconsin Medical Society mem ber, facilitates the Let's Talk About Pain Medicines workshop at Essentia Health-Spooner Clinic, in partnership with Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board, Inc.
“I want to thank you so much for coming to our community! The workshop was very informative and well received. More of this type of education is much needed within every population we serve..... Yaw^ko (Thank you)!” – Oneida Nation Site Coordinator

Making prescription labels easier to read - Sig Improvement Task Force
Pictured above: Dr. Ken Schellhase, Family & Community Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin presented on a panel at the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin's Annual Meeting in August.
The directions for medicine use on a prescription label, or the "sig," is crucial information for patients to fully benefit. Making improvements to the sig is a complex issue that is being addressed, in part, in this phase of the Medication Label Project. Wisconsin Health Literacy has developed a Sig Improvement Task Force (SITF) to develop recommendations to help organizations improve medications' directions for use to help patients use them more effectively.

Members of the SITF include representatives from Epic Systems, as well as providers, pharmacists and pharmacy techs.

This project is funded by the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin endowment of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Read more about the pilot phase of this project in the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin (PSW) Journal article: Adopting Patient-Centered Prescription Medication Labels in Wisconsin .

Know a pharmacy that may be interested in joining this project or want additional information? Please contact Kari LaScala, Project Manager, at, or 608-257-1655, ext. 5. You can also visit our website for more information.

Training Opportunities
New: Module-based Training Available
Wisconsin Health Literacy has debuted a new series of training modules as a fee-based service. The four modules are:
  • Module 1: Effective Communication Strategies with Plain Language
  • Module 2: Health Literacy and Health Numeracy
  • Module 3: Oral and Written Communications
  • Module 4: Communication with Seniors

These modules provide valuable information and experience to those working in health and those working in other fields. One attendee attending a recent session commented, "Beneficial training for anyone really. Makes you think about how to speak to be understood and respect the individual."

For information on content and cost, contact Steve Sparks, Health Literacy Director, or (608) 257-1655, ext. 2.
Wisconsin Health Literacy | 608-257-1655 |