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Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Health Literacy and Cultural Competency

Resource LinksOnline resources relating to health literacy and cultural and linguistic competency
Health LiteracyPathfinder page to consumer decision aids and clinical information
Cultural & Linguistic CompetencyPathfinder page to guides and resources for improving health care delivery


AHRQ Funding Opportunities

AHRQ Health Services Research (R01)
Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy (R01)
Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy (R03)
Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy (R21)

Articles of Interest Alert

A weekly compilation of AHRQ-supported articles appearing in recently released journals and newsletters. Topics include health literacy and cultural and linguistic competency.

Grants Online Database

Abstracts of research and data projects funded by AHRQ, including health literacy and cultural and linguistic competency topics.

Research Activities: Online Newsletter

Summarizes AHRQ-supported study findings, specific or relevant to health literacy and cultural and linguistic competency.

Consumer/Patient Resources

Questions are the Answer
Quick Tips—When Planning for Surgery
Spanish Language Resources
Twenty Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors in Children
Ways You Can Help Your Family Prevent Medical Errors
Your Medicine: Play It Safe

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Health Literacy

Agency Press Releases

Date   Title
6/18/08 New Spanish-language Consumer Guide Compares Oral Diabetes Medications
10/30/07 New AHRQ Tools Help Pharmacies Better Serve Patients With Limited Health Literacy

News and Numbers

Date   Title
6/4/08 Asian-Pacific Islanders Most Likely To Die From Serious, but Treatable, Hospital Complications
5/14/08 Only About 1 in 10 Adult Americans Have All the Skills Needed to Manage Their Health
3/26/08 Problems with English Help Block Many Hispanics from Medical Care

Healthcare 411 Audio/Video Products

podcast 6/18/08: Health Literacy Limited For Many Americans  (Transcript)  Podcast Help
podcast 4/23/08: Getting the Most Out of Your Next Checkup   (Transcript)  Podcast Help
podcast 12/26/07: Health Literacy  (Transcript)  Podcast Help
podcast 12/19/07: Health Literacy and Understanding Health Information  (Transcript)  Podcast Help

Advances in Patient Safety: From Research to Implementation

Language, Literacy, and Communication Regarding Medication in an Anticoagulation Clinic: Are Pictures Better Than Words? (PDF Help)
Preventing Medication Errors in Ambulatory Care: The Importance of Establishing Regimen Concordance (PDF Help)
Speaking Plainly: Communicating the Patient's Role in Health Care Safety (PDF Help)

Evidence Reports

Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, No. 43:
Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices (Chapter 48: Procedures For Obtaining Informed Consent)
Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, No. 87:
Literacy and Health Outcomes

Health Information Technology

Accessible Health Information Technology (IT) for Populations with Limited Literacy: A Guide for Developers and Purchasers of Health IT (PDF File, 268 KB; PDF Help)

Patient Safety Network

Health Literacy Improvement
Informed Consent

Patient Safety Research Highlights

Guide for Developing a Community-Based Patient Safety Advisory Council (PDF File, 550 KB; PDF Help)
Most people have difficulty understanding pharmaceutical label instructions, regardless of their cultural background and level of education
Patient Safety Toolkits: Discharge—resources to help hospitals discharge patients safely without medication or other problems
Patient Safety Toolkits: Communication and Patient-Centered Care—resources to enhance communication between caregivers and patients
Reducing Discrepancies in Medication Histories and Orders at Handoffs

Pharmacy Tools

Automated Telephone Reminders
How to Create a Pill Card
Is Our Pharmacy Meeting Patients' Needs? A Pharmacy Health Literacy Assessment Tool User's Guide
Strategies To Improve Communication Between Pharmacy Staff and Patients

Program Brief

Health Literacy


Testing Your Materials and Dissemination Strategy

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Shared Decision-Making About Screening and Chemoprevention: A Suggested Approach from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force


Language Barrier
Lethal Cap

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Cultural and Linguistic Competency

Setting the Agenda for Research on Cultural Competence in Health Care

Evidence Report

Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, No. 90
Strategies for Improving Minority Healthcare Quality

Guides for Managed Care Plans

Oral, Linguistic, and Culturally Competent Services: Guides for Managed Care Plans
Providing Oral Linguistic Services
Planning Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services
What Is Cultural and Linguistic Competence? Definitions


The Council of State Governments (CSG's) Health Literacy Tool Kit

User Liaison Program Workshop Summaries

Strategies to Reduce Health Disparities: Part 7. Cultural Competence (April 2001)
Addressing Critical Concerns of Health Care Systems Serving American Indians/Alaskan Natives (June 2000)
Providing Care to Diverse Populations: State Strategies for Promoting Cultural Competency in Health Systems (June 1999)

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AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care