Nearly 90% of English-speaking adults have limited health literacy skills, according to the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy. This lack of capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions is a key determinant of our nation’s inability to achieve health equity — an AAP universal principle. As a result, we’ve targeted health literacy as a key component of quality care for pediatric patients and families within a medical home.

To that end and in response to a resolution passed by the 2004 Annual Leadership Forum, the Academy has focused on providing pediatricians and families with health literacy tools to improve communication about managing health and illness. An AAP Health Literacy Project Advisory Committee (PAC) was established to head up these efforts.

Led by Mary Ann Abrams, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, and Benard Dreyer, M.D., FAAP, the PAC developed plain-language handouts for...

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