Published March 1, 2023
According to the National Institutes of Health, “Everyone, no matter how educated, is at risk for misunderstanding health information if the topic is emotionally charged or complex.” As the rise in misinformation demonstrates, health literacy matters now more than ever.
That is the message behind the panel discussion happening at the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Annual Forum on March 15. The discussion is the centerpiece of the 2023 forum, which will be held in person from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Murphy Family Seminar Room (5019 A&B) at the Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. See full agenda and registration link.
“Listening and understanding builds trust”
CTSI Director Timothy F. Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor, says health literacy is about speaking and communicating in a way that is understandable.
“Traditionally, many of us who are healthcare providers and researchers struggle with that,” Murphy says. “However, it is vital that we communicate what needs to be communicated to people. Listening and understanding builds trust. And if people don’t understand, then it’s hard for them to take control of their own health and participate actively in their healthcare. ”
To assist researchers, the CTSI’s Recruitment Resources Toolkit now features a plain language section, along with a downloadable readability tip sheet. CTSI Clinical Recruitment Coordinator Ashley Regling, MA, explains, “We are always available to assist with the development of study materials, but we hope to instill autonomy in research teams to develop plain language content specific for their areas of expertise.”
On February 22, CTSI Integrating Special Populations Coordinator Andy Strohmeier, MEd, hosted an Open Research Office session on the topic. The session can be watched in its entirety here.
“We must take steps to ensure that the information we present can be understood by as many people as possible — including fellow scientists, allies, or community members,” Strohmeier says. “By becoming ‘bilingual’ in plain language, we are that much closer to fostering greater trust in the community, and, ultimately, improving health and health literacy for all.”
Panel featuring community members and UB faculty
The Annual Forum panel discussion is the next step in disseminating information on this critical issue. The panel will feature presentations from two community members and three UB faculty members, followed by a group Q-and-A. Below is the lineup of the panel in order of appearance, along with presentation titles and brief biographical information:
“The importance of our commitment to promote health literacy”
Murphy believes forum attendees will gain an understanding of the necessity of focusing on improving health literacy. “I hope people come away with an understanding of the importance of our commitment as researchers and healthcare providers to pay careful attention to improving our language and promoting health literacy,” he says.
Read a recent CTSI article for additional details about the March 15 Annual Forum, which will feature a “State of the CTSI” talk from Murphy, along with a presentation from Erica Rosemond, PhD, Acting Deputy (Division) Director, Branch Chief and Acting Section Chief, Initiatives & Consortium-Wide Activities Section, Division of Clinical Innovation, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health. In addition, Buffalo Translational Consortium Clinical Research Achievement Awards Oversight Committee Chair Anne B. Curtis, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor, Department of Medicine, Jacobs School, will introduce the winner and finalist of the 2022 Clinical Research Achievement Awards.