Improving health literacy online and in libraries


PROVIDING INFORMATION—David Smith, center, with Independence Blue Cross (IBC) discusses the opening health insurance exchange and provides information on health care reform to George Allen Oct. 1, 2013, at IBC’s mobile education and enrollment center in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Everyone should have reliable resources to make informed health decisions. If you are interested in locating health information that you can trust, try using MedlinePlus. MedlinePlus is a free Web site offered by the National Institutes of Health. The National Library of Medicine produces this site, using easy-to-understand information. The site has reliable, updated information about diseases, health conditions and general wellness tips.

People can use MedlinePlus to find out what health terms mean. They can look up information about a drug or vitamin or see medical videos and pictures. The site also has links to the latest medical research and information about clinical trials on a disease or condition. MedlinePlus is also a great resource for improving health literacy and helping people to understand Affordable Care Act information.

The University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library System houses the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region. The network aims to improve health for everyone. To do this, the network forms partnerships with community and faith-based organizations and libraries. In-person and online trainings for health professionals, community organizations and health information centers are offered through the network. Also, the network provides funding opportunities to help local libraries and health information centers to educate and support consumers.

For more information about the National Network of ­Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region and its services, visit, call 800-338-7657 or e-mail ­


Please see the Web site links below for more information on health literacy and the Affordable Care Act.

Regional Health Literacy Coalition:


MedlinePlus Health Literacy:

UPMC Healthcare Reform Information:

Highmark Healthcare Reform Information:

Affordable Care Act:


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