CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  NIDDK - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

NDEP is a partnership of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than 200 public and private organizations.

Address Health Literacy and Numeracy Issues

Attention to health literacy is essential if people are to successfully contribute to their diabetes management. A range of skills and knowledge about health and health care are required, including literacy and numeracy; the ability to find, understand, interpret, and communicate health information; and the ability to seek appropriate care and make critical health decisions. Older people, non-whites, immigrants, and those with low incomes are disproportionately more likely to have trouble reading and understanding health-related information. [1] Limited health literacy is associated with poorer health outcomes and higher health care costs. [2] Resources to help address health literacy issues provide tools, information, resources, and reports:

Using Stories in Healthcare Communication

Stories can be powerful tools for healthcare communication.

  • Inviting patients to tell their story to the clinician can be critical for patients’ participation in shared decision-making.
  • Stories or narratives can help patients develop coping behaviors and become involved in a ‘healing process.’
  • In group sessions or writing groups, shared patient stories can motivate other patients to carry out self-management tasks – to be physically active, do daily foot care, take medications, etc.
  • Stories can help engage medical students, nurses, and health care staff in learning about the personal impact medical conditions and treatments can have in a patient’s life.

For more information visit:


  1. Kutner M, Greenberg E, Jin Y, P, Paulsen C: The Health Literacy of America’s Adults: Results From the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy(NCES 2006–483). Washington, DC: U.S.Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2006.
  2. Berkman N, DeWalt D, Pignone M, et al.: Literacy and Health Outcomes (AHRQ Publication No. 04-E007-2). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2004.