Health Literacy Initiatives

In 2010, with grant funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, HCIF and Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals established SEPA-READS, a regional learning collaborative to address health literacy in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Partners include hospitals, health systems, community organizations (including those that serve seniors, immigrants, and refugees), clinics, and health centers. In 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Health provided additional funding to expand health literacy activities in the Commonwealth and form the Pennsylvania Health Literacy Coalition (PA-HLC). A major PA-HLC priority to date has been to build an infrastructure for health literacy training across Pennsylvania through strategic partnerships and development of online training modules.


1. Enhance the capacity of health care systems and health professionals to address health literacy needs and improve their patients’ understanding of health information

2. Improve the ability of all patients to communicate with health care providers and staff in ways that increase their understanding of and capacity to effectively act on health information

Key Successes & Outcomes

1. HCIF and TJUH have trained nearly 300 health care professional trainers who have trained over 7,000 staff members in their organizations.

2. Over 100 consumer peer educators have also been trained.  These peer educators have reached over 700 members of their communities.

3. Participating healthcare organizations have made changes to staff and patient education practices, as well as to their websites, signage, and internal policies in order to better promote health literacy.


Susan CosgroveProject Manager, Team Leader of Health Literacy Initiatives