UPDATE: This event has been canceled.
Low Health Literacy: Blame to go Around
Event flyer: Ward Flyer
The past few decades of nation-wide research has shown indisputably that the health literacy of the American public is dangerously low, and that it is killing people. The average American reads at an eighth grade level, and the average Medicaid recipient closer to a fifth grade level. Despite well-documented shortfalls in the ability of Americans to understand prescription labels and implement healthcare instructions, solutions to the problem have been slower than anyone would like. Part of the problem can be traced to disagreement over who bears the responsibility for improving American health literacy. When a patient suffers ill health due to a misunderstanding of a healthcare instruction, who is to blame? The patient himself? The clinician? The hospital administration? State or Federal lawmakers? Dr. Ward will review some recent attempts to pin down the sources of blame and responsibility, and suggest that none of the parties is free of blame. In this talk Dr. Ward will offer recommendations for how to distribute the responsibility, to encourage each party, patient, clinician, and up the line, to find solutions to low health literacy.
In person: The lecture will take place in C102 East Fee Hall on MSU’s East Lansing campus. Feel free to bring your lunch! Beverages and light snacks will be provided.
Arthur Ward, PhD, is an instructor at Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University in the department of History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science. He has a PhD in philosophy from Bowling Green State University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. He does research in applied bioethics as well as theoretical topics that intersect ethical theory and philosophy of biology.