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PHO Grand Rounds: Health Literacy in Ontario: Increasing Awareness and Capacity through Partnership Development
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 12:00 pm to 01:00 pm
Venue: 480 University, Suite 300
Health Promotion; Health Promotion:Health equity
City: Toronto
Type: PHO Grand Rounds
Format: In Person; Webinar
Health literacy is defined as “the ability to access, comprehend, evaluate and communicate information as a way to promote, maintain and improve health in a variety of settings across the life-course”.1 
Increasing health literacy levels in Ontario can have a positive impact on health, well-being outcomes, health equity and patient engagement.  Low health literacy has been associated with decreased physical health and higher anxiety and depression,2 as well as numerous behavior-influenced health outcomes including more use of the emergency department, increased hospitalizations, and lower use of some types of preventive care.3
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and University Health Network are working together with other partners to build interest and momentum around health literacy, connecting champions across Ontario and supporting health literacy awareness and capacity building.  This session will examine data on the state of health literacy in Ontario as well as strategies and tools to address health literacy in public health initiatives.
1. Rootman I, Gordon-El-Bihbety D. A vision for a health literate Canada: report of the Expert Panel on Health Literacy. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Public Health Assocation; 2008. Available from:
2. Smith SG, Curtis LM, Wardle J, von Wagner C, Wolf MS. Skill set or mind set? Associations between health literacy, patient activation and health. PLoS One. 2013;8(9):e74373. Available from:
3. Berkman ND, Sheridan SL, Donahue KE, Halpern DJ, Crotty K. Low health literacy and health outcomes: an updated systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2011;155(2):97-107.
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
•       define health literacy and explain its impact on people’s well-being and health outcomes
•       describe the state of health literacy in Ontario
•       identify strategies and tools to address health literacy in health promotion work
Presenters: Farrah Schwartz & Maja Filipov
Farrah Schwartz is the Manager of Patient and Family Education at Toronto Rehab, University Health Network. She is also co-founder and manager of the Canadian Health Literacy and Patient and Family Education Network, or CHLPEN.  Farrah has worked in the field of health literacy for more than 10 years.
Maja Filipov is a communications senior advisor with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.  She is a communications specialist with more than 15 years of experience in the communications field, including public and private sectors, both in Canada and in Europe.
The opinions expressed by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of Public Health Ontario, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by Public Health Ontario.
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If you have submissions, or questions or comments about the items above, send them to
Public Health Ontario is committed to complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If you require accommodations to participate in this event, please contact 647-260-7100 or .

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Page updated on [date/time] 2018-02-26 11:33 AM
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