Preparing for an epidemic of limited health literacy: Weathering the perfect storm

Ruth M. Parker, Michael S. Wolf, Irwin Kirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Empirical data collected over the past two decades have demonstrated strong links between low literacy skills and poor health outcomes, including mortality. Recently, the Educational Testing Service released a relevant report predicting that our nation is at great risk as a result of declining adult literacy, shifting demographics, and a changing economy. It is essential to understand how these educational and socioeconomic changes will impact health care and prepare for a likely epidemic of limited health literacy. A formative public health response should include seeking out new strategies for health systems to advance our public's health literacy, while working with the educational system to better equip younger generations with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate health care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1276
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Adult literacy
  • Education
  • Epidemic
  • Health literacy
  • Preparedness
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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