Meet the HHS Health Literacy Workgroup


At ODPHP, we know that improving how health professionals communicate with consumers is a critical part of improving health and health care. That’s why we’re so committed to providing professionals with health literacy and communication resources that can help them share health information in easy-to-understand ways.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Literacy Workgroup is a Department-wide workgroup composed of all operating divisions and most staff divisions under HHS. The HHS Health Literacy Workgroup is one way we make sure that improving health literacy remains a priority for HHS. The workgroup, which is co-led by Linda Harris, PhD (ODPHP) and Lee Zwanziger, PhD (FDA), has met regularly since 2003.

The Health Literacy Workgroup aims to:

  • Create understandable and actionable health information
  • Support and facilitate engaged and activated health consumers
  • Refresh the health literacy science base on a regular basis

The workgroup is behind some very important initiatives promoting health literacy in government. In 2010, the group developed the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, designed to facilitate multi-sector efforts to improve health literacy. The workgroup also created the HHS Health Literacy Biennial Action Plan 2015–2017, which helps HHS staff measure progress on health literacy improvement in HHS-funded activities.

We’re happy to report that the Department’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed! The Center for Plain Language gave HHS an A+ rating on its 2016 Federal Plain Language report card, which evaluates how well federal agencies comply with the Plain Writing Act of 2010.

We look forward to future contributions from the workgroup members — and we’re thankful for the important work they’ve done so far.

Learn more about the HHS Health Literacy Workgroup.