Special Issue "Health Literacy and Health Equity"

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Olayinka O. Shiyanbola
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Social and Administrative Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53705, USA
Interests: health literacy; health equity; medication adherence; diabetes; health communication; underserved populations
Dr. Vanessa Simonds
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Health and Human Development, Montana State University, Herrick Hall 316D, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA
Interests: health literacy; community-based participatory research; American Indian populations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A Special Issue on health literacy and health equity is being organized in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Health literacy is commonly defined as the ability to access, understand, and use information to make health-related decisions. Health literacy research has also emphasized the interaction between individual skill levels and the attributes of available health information and services. Studies show that on average, adults have inadequate health-related literacy skills which do not match the complexity of existing health-related tools, materials, and services. This discrepancy, often more pronounced among underserved and vulnerable populations, is a source of escalating health disparities.

This issue is interested in how health disparities can be mitigated, and health equity for underserved populations improved through the lens of health literacy. There is interest in research contributions that examine the relationship between health literacy and health equity, interventions implemented to reduce health disparities with a core focus on addressing health literacy, public health efforts to address health literacy as a social determinant of health, and papers that feature innovative strategies towards enhancing health literacy among vulnerable and underserved populations. The keywords listed below provide a summary of some of the possible topics of interest.

Dr. Vanessa Simonds
Dr. Olayinka O. Shiyanbola
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Health literacy
  • Health communication
  • Disparities
  • Health inequalities
  • Social determinants of health
  • Public Health
  • Vulnerable populations
  • Cultural competence and cultural safety
  • Community participation

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
A Systematic Review of Cross-Cultural Adaptation and Psychometric Properties of Oral Health Literacy Tools
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10422; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910422 - 03 Oct 2021
Viewed by 639
Abstract
The aims of this systematic review were to critically appraise the quality of the cross-cultural adaptation and the psychometric properties of the translated versions of oral health literacy assessment tools. CINAHL (EBSCO), Medline (EBSCO), EMBASE (Ovid), and ProQuest Dissertation and Thesis were searched [...] Read more.
The aims of this systematic review were to critically appraise the quality of the cross-cultural adaptation and the psychometric properties of the translated versions of oral health literacy assessment tools. CINAHL (EBSCO), Medline (EBSCO), EMBASE (Ovid), and ProQuest Dissertation and Thesis were searched systematically. Studies focusing on cross-cultural adaptation and psychometric properties of oral health literacy tools were included. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed according to the COSMIN Risk of Bias checklist. Sixteen oral health literacy instruments in 11 different languages were included in this systematic review. However, only seven instruments met the criteria for an accurate cross-cultural adaptation process, while the remaining tools failed to meet at least one criterion for suitable quality of cross-cultural adaptation process. None of the studies evaluated all the aspects of psychometric properties. Most of the studies reported internal consistency, reliability, structural validity, and construct validity. Despite adequate ratings for some reported psychometric properties, the methodological quality of studies on translated versions of oral health literacy tools was mostly doubtful to inadequate. Researchers and clinicians should follow standard guidelines for cross-cultural adaptation and assess all aspects of psychometric properties for using oral health literacy tools in cross-cultural settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Literacy and Health Equity)
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Article
Implementation, Mechanisms and Context of the MAMAACT Intervention to Reduce Ethnic and Social Disparity in Stillbirth and Infant Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8583; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168583 - 14 Aug 2021
Viewed by 640
Abstract
The MAMAACT intervention aimed to address ethnic and social disparity in stillbirth and infant health by improving management of pregnancy complications. This process evaluation of the intervention was guided by the British Medical Research Council’s framework. We examined implementation through dose, reach, and [...] Read more.
The MAMAACT intervention aimed to address ethnic and social disparity in stillbirth and infant health by improving management of pregnancy complications. This process evaluation of the intervention was guided by the British Medical Research Council’s framework. We examined implementation through dose, reach, and fidelity, important mechanisms and the influence of contextual factors. The intervention included a six-hour training session for antenatal care (ANC) midwives in intercultural communication and cultural competence, two follow-up dialogue meetings, and health education materials (leaflet and app) on warning signs of severe pregnancy complications and how to respond for pregnant women. A mixed-methods approach was applied. Cross-sectional survey data and administrative data were used to assess intervention reach and dose. Qualitative data (records from dialogue meetings with midwives, participant observations and field notes from ANC visits, focus group interviews with midwives, and individual interviews with non-Western immigrant women) evaluated intervention fidelity, mechanisms, and contextual barriers. More than 80% of women received the MAMAACT leaflet and many found the content useful. The app was used more selectively. Midwives described being more aware and reflective in their communication with women from various cultural backgrounds. Organizational factors in ANC (time pressure, lack of flexibility in visits, poor interpreter services), barriers in women’s everyday life (lack of social network, previous negative experiences/lack of trust and domestic responsibilities), and habitual interaction patterns among midwives served as contextual barriers. The reach of the intervention was high and it was evaluated positively by both pregnant women and midwives. Organizational factors hindered changes towards more needs-based communication in ANC potentially hindering the intended mechanisms of the intervention. When interpreting the intervention effects, attention should be drawn to both organizational and interpersonal factors in the clinic as well as the pregnant women’s life situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Literacy and Health Equity)
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Article
Estimating the Economic Burden of Low Health Literacy in the Blacktown Community in Sydney, Australia: A Population-Based Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2303; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052303 - 26 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1199
Abstract
Evidence shows that inadequate or low health literacy (LHL) levels are significantly associated with economic ramifications at the individual, employer, and health care system levels. Therefore, this study aims to estimate the economic burden of LHL among a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) [...] Read more.
Evidence shows that inadequate or low health literacy (LHL) levels are significantly associated with economic ramifications at the individual, employer, and health care system levels. Therefore, this study aims to estimate the economic burden of LHL among a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community in Blacktown: a local government area (LGA) in Sydney, Australia. This study is a secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from publicly available datasets, including 2011 and 2016 census data and National Health Survey (NHS) data (2017–2018) from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and figures on Disease Expenditure in Australia for 2015–2016 provided by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). This study found that 20% of Blacktown residents reported low levels of active engagement with health care providers (Domain 6 of the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ)), with 14% reporting a limited understanding of the health information required to take action towards improving health or making health care decisions (Domain 9 of the HLQ). The overall extra/delta cost (direct and indirect health care costs) associated with LHL in the Blacktown LGA was estimated to be between $11,785,528 and $15,432,239 in 2020. This is projected to increase to between $18,922,844 and $24,191,911 in 2030. Additionally, the extra disability-adjusted life year (DALY) value in 2020, for all chronic diseases and age-groups—comprising the extra costs incurred due to years of life lost (YLL) and years lived with disability (YLD)—was estimated at $414,231,335. The findings of our study may enable policymakers to have a deeper understanding of the economic burden of LHL in terms of its impact on the health care system and the production economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Literacy and Health Equity)
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Article
Exploring Knowledge and Experience of Health Literacy for Chinese-Speaking Nurses in Taiwan: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7609; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207609 - 19 Oct 2020
Viewed by 684
Abstract
Background: Health literacy has become the best predictor of healthcare status. However, two-thirds of health providers are unaware of patients’ health literacy. Thus, the aim of the study is to investigate factors related to Chinese-speaking nurses’ knowledge and experience of health literacy. [...] Read more.
Background: Health literacy has become the best predictor of healthcare status. However, two-thirds of health providers are unaware of patients’ health literacy. Thus, the aim of the study is to investigate factors related to Chinese-speaking nurses’ knowledge and experience of health literacy. Methods: This cross-sectional study used a web-based survey. A total of 430 nurses were recruited by stratified sampling from different levels of hospitals and community health centers in Taiwan. Primary outcome measure by Health Literacy Knowledge and Experience. Results: The participants’ overall health literacy knowledge was limited; the correct responses were 51%. The education level of the participants, job category, working years, and having attended in-service patient education programs were the predictors of knowledge of health literacy (p < 0.05); Institute, job category, and having attended in-service patient education programs were the predictors of experience of health literacy (p < 0.01). Conclusions: Participants’ education levels and In-service patient education programs are beneficial factors to improve nurses’ knowledge of health literacy. Furthermore, nursing education should emphasize on how to identify individuals’ health literacy and using readable healthcare materials to improve health education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Literacy and Health Equity)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Feasibility and Acceptability of the Peers LEAD (Supporting Health Literacy, Self-Efficacy, Self-Advocacy, and Adherence) intervention for African Americans with Diabetes
Authors: Olayinka Shiyanbola
Affiliation: Division of Social and Administrative Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53705, USA

Title: The role of Health Literacy in health disparities: a review of interventions in racial/ethnic populations
Authors: Vanessa W. Simonds
Affiliation: Department of Health and Human Development, Montana State University, Herrick Hall 316D, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA

Title: Exploring the relationship between medical research literacy and respondents’ expressed likelihood to participate in a clinical trial
Authors: Dorothy Farrar Edwards
Affiliation: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, United States

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