Lyman Briggs instructor Arthur Ward to speak on the impact of low health literacy in America

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.

mar26Join us for Arthur Ward’s lecture on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 from noon till 1 pm in person or online:

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.

Online: Here are some instructions for your first time joining the webinar, or if you have attended or viewed them before, go to the meeting!

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.

About Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences

Devoted to understanding and teaching the ethical, social and humanistic dimensions of illness and health care since 1977.
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