GAHL promotes health literacy with Georgia's First Lady

On April 8, 2015, GAHL was represented at the Literacy award ceremony for Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal by Georgia Adult Literacy Advocates (GALA.) GAHL Chair Don Rubin had the opportunity to discuss health literacy with Ms. Deal and the progress GAHL is making in advancing health literacy in Georgia.

Thank You For Making Literacy Day a Success

On Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy (GAHL) joined forces with Georgia Health Literacy Advocates (GALA) for Literacy Day at the Georgia Capitol – a great opportunity to educate legislators and staffers about health literacy and the issues surrounding access to health care and information in our state. The day began with a photo with the Governor in the Capitol and then a productive meeting with legislators and their staff members. We hope our new connections will help us advance health literacy one individual at a time.

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Gov. Nathan Deal joins GAHL members, others for Literacy Day at the Capitol 2015.

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Don Rubin, GAHL’s board chair pauses during Literacy Day at the Capitol 2015.

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Literacy Day at the Capitol 2015.

GAHL to Join Literacy Day at the Capitol

On Tuesday, February 17, 2015, members of the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy (GAHL) will meet with Georgia’s legislators to talk about elevating health literacy in our state. We know that improving health literacy will also improve the health of all Georgians and our economy. And we’ll be reinforcing some important points:

  • Improve understanding so citizens access preventive services & stay well
  • Provide patient education to help manage chronic conditions
  • Help prevent adverse medical events by improving patient-provider communications
  • Reduce excess hospitalizations & readmissions with better self-care
  • Contain the impact of illness and injury on Georgia’s economy


Use Teach-back and Help Every Patient Understand

Why do I need to use teach-back with every patient?

Studies show patients forget 40-80% of the medical information they receive and misremember about 50% of the information. You can use teach-back to help patients remember more information and remember it correctly.

What is teach-back?

  • Asking patients to explain information in their own words
  • Checking for understanding throughout the conversation
  • Sharing information with patients in a non-shaming way

Remember, teach-back tests how well you explain the information. It’s not a test of your patient’s intelligence.

When should I use teach-back?

Use teach-back every time you want patients to remember and understand. You can use teach back when you’re explaining:

  • Hospital discharge instructions
  • A new diagnosis
  • Treatment options
  • New medications
  • Procedure preparations
  • Goal setting
  • Informed consent
  • Self-care for chronic disease
  • Health education

Teach-back is a proven method to facilitate provider-patient conversations about health and medical safety. You can use the Universal Precautions Toolkit for ideas about using teach-back at your organization.

Where can I find Teach-back materials?

We suggest using the Universal Precautions Toolkit from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) web site at You can find other health literacy resources on the CDC’s web site at

The kit includes 20 tools, such as:

  • PowerPoint® presentations
  • Assessment tools
  • Discussion questions
  • Sample forms

Who can answer questions about health literacy?

Please contact the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy. One of our members will contact you.

Georgia Alliance Promotes ‘Good Questions for Good Health’ During Health Literacy Month

In recognition of Health Literacy Month this October, the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy is urging all Georgians to prepare for medical appointments by listing good questions to ask their doctors and other healthcare professionals.

This year’s Health Literacy Month theme is “Be a Health Literacy Hero…Ask Good Questions for Good Health.” It’s important for patients to feel comfortable asking questions about their health. The Alliance also wants doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and other care providers to encourage their patients’ questions. The American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that patients and their family members can begin by asking simple questions such as: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? Why is it important for me to do that?

“When people ask their doctors and caregivers Good Questions for Good Health, they are taking charge of their own health,” says Don Rubin, chair of the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy.” This October, we want to recognize patients, providers, and health organizations throughout Georgia who are encouraging conversations that advance health literacy in their communities.”

During the month of October, the Alliance is asking Georgians to nominate health literacy heroes. A health literacy hero could be a health professional who encourages questions and answers them clearly. Or a health literacy hero could be a family member who accompanies a patient to appointments to make sure that the right questions are asked. Any patient or consumer who takes responsibility for asking questions about her health could be a health literacy hero too. Georgians can post Health Literacy Hero nominations, including self-­?nominations, at or through the national Health Literacy Month website,

The Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy wants to foster more interaction and sharing of information among health professionals and patients, but many barriers need to be overcome.

“At times, patients may feel embarrassed or hesitant to ask questions about their health,” says Laurel Murrow, MD, medical director of Mercy Health Center and Assistant Professor at the GRU-­UGA Medical Partnership. “Yet good physicians, pharmacists, and nurses welcome questions, because they know that patients do better when they have the information they need.”

Available on the Centers for Disease Control web site, Good Questions for Good Health guides employers, providers, educators, and others in better understanding the information patients tell them. Questions increase overall communication, reduce medical errors, and lead to better patient outcomes.

“Health awareness campaigns such as this one become even more valuable when people put them into every day practice,” says Rubin. “With these programs, Georgians can improve health literacy one good question at a time.”

View PDF version of this news release here.

The Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy (GAHL) provides resources and coordination in support of health literacy, promotion, education, and health equity in Georgia. GAHL elevates health literacy among patients and consumers, employees, healthcare providers, organizations and systems in both private and public sectors throughout the state and fosters research to better understand the impact of health literacy on our local communities. Visit or send an email to [email protected] for more information.

Encourage Questions During Health Literacy Month

In honor of Health Literacy Month 2014 this October, The Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy encourages you (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, employers, and educators) to start conversations to give patients and caregivers the information they need to take charge of their own health. It’s not easy for some patients to ask questions and even harder for them to know what questions to ask.

Everyone benefits by asking good questions. Shared information leads to better understanding, which will help us all improve health literacy. Be a Health Literacy Hero when you encourage patient questions and then answer those questions so patients really understand:

  • What is my diagnosis?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are the benefits of each option?
  • What are risks and side effects?
  • What is the test for?
  • What happens during the test?
  • Are there risks associated with this test?
  • What will the results tell me?
  • What will the medicine you are prescribing do?
  • How do I take it?
  • What side effects am I most likely to have?
  • And many more!

For more information about Good Questions for Good Health and health literacy events in Georgia, please contact GAHL.

GAHL Invites You to Nominate a Hero

Health Literacy Month 2014 is this October

Be a Health Literacy Hero

Encourage Good Questions for Good Health and start the conversation.

Lit1Let us know what you are doing to encourage questions and advance health literacy by submitting a health literacy hero listing. Create your own listing, nominate someone you know who is promoting health literacy, or do both. Please mention on your submission to help us recognize all Health Literacy Heroes this October.



DPH Takes Cancer Prevention To City Streets

It’s a life-saving campaign and it’s about to move through metropolitan Atlanta in a big way, literally. With the single intention of connecting parents and physicians, dozens of city busses and trains will prompt a compelling question – If there were a vaccine against cancer, wouldn’t you get it for your kids?

Designed by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and MARTA, the CDC-funded campaign seeks to raise awareness about the human papillomavirus, or HPV, the leading cause of almost all cervical cancer. The messaging urges parents and guardians to “Talk To Your Doctor About Vaccinating Your Sons and Daughters Against HPV.”

Read the DPH blog post here: