Health communication and health literacy are deeply connected. Both are central to ODPHP’s mission and efforts to improve the health of all Americans.

Health communication refers to human and digital interactions that occur during the process of improving health and health care. Effective health communication is essential for public health strategy and practices.

Health literacy is the degree to which a person has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services in order to make appropriate health decisions.


Congress created ODPHP in 1976 to lead disease prevention and health promotion efforts and disseminate health information.

ODPHP has created tools and resources to help health care facilities, providers, and other professionals effectively communicate with health consumers:

ODPHP has also conducted original research that informed best practices for improving the quality and reach of online health information, including Expanding the Reach and Impact of Consumer e-Health Tools (2006).