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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

South Carolina: Daniela Friedman Wins Grant from The Duke Endowment to Improve Health Literacy

Dr. Daniela Friedman, professor and chair of the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (HPEB) in the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, will lead a project, which focuses on enhancing quality of care through improved health literacy — the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions. She and co-investigator HPEB professor. Dr. Heather Brandt, will use the grant to work with an established team of academic, clinical, and community partners including adult literacy centers and the South Carolina Hospital Association to evaluate patient communication needs across South Carolina, increase awareness among staff and care team members of health literacy disparities, and encourage informed and engaging health care-related dialogue to improve patient understanding and active participation in their plan of care.

“Nationally, only 12 percent of U.S. adults have proficient health literacy. South Carolina has the 13th highest rate of functional illiteracy in the U.S. and poor health literacy rates placing communities at extremely high risk for poor health outcomes,” Dr. Friedman says. “This is extremely concerning because health literacy skills are a strong predictor of health status.”

Previous research has connected limited health literacy with higher health care costs and elevated morbidity and mortality rates as well as high hospital readmission rates, low perceived trust in the health care system, and poor self-care management and treatment outcomes.

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