Health Literacy Month – October 2022

A woman looking like she has a question.

Each October, NIH joins others around the country to raise awareness about the importance of health literacy and its impact on the health of Americans. Consider these tips and resources as you plan your health outreach efforts for any audience.

Upcoming Events

Say “Yes!” to Health Literacy in Cancer Prevention and Control
Date: October 26, 2022
Time: 2:00 p.m. ET

  • Cathy Meade, Ph.D., Moffitt Cancer Center ​University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine
  • Clement K. Gwede, Ph.D. Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine



  1. Use common, everyday language.


    • About
    • Enough
    • Helpful
    • Make worse
    • Come back
    • Use

    Dont use

    • Regarding
    • Sufficient
    • Beneficial
    • Exacerbate
    • Recur
    • Utilize
  2. Use the active voice.

    Active Voice

    HHS published the draft report in the Federal Register for public comment. We carefully reviewed the comments and, when it was appropriate, we incorporated them into the report.

    Passive voice

    The draft report was made available for public comment through publication in the Federal Register. Comments received were considered and, when appropriate, incorporated into the document.

  3. Model jargon-free language. Give audiences model language for them to use.


    Patients can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any signs of disease. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the chances of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.


    Patients may have persistent hypertension without symptoms. Uncontrolled hypertension increases the risk of severe cardiovascular events.

  4. Get feedback.

    • Test with members of your target audience
    • Tests can be informal–try colleagues, family, and friends



This page last reviewed on October 18, 2022