While the issue of health literacy affects Americans of all races, the U.S. Department of Education reports that this is a particularly important issue for African-Americans because 67 percent of African-American adults are reading at the two lowest levels in the nation. This can have a dramatic impact on health care as it can lead to failure in properly following through on physicians’ instructions, as well as a misunderstanding of directions on prescription medicines.
"Promoting health care literacy is an important focus for Aetna, and we view this calendar as an important tool for raising visibility of the issue," said Ronald A. Williams, chairman and CEO of Aetna. "Our 2008 calendar recognizes 17 outstanding health care professionals who are working to improve health literacy within their communities. We applaud their determination and devotion to help people better understand their health and the care that is provided to them."
The annual calendar, featuring commentary and inspiration on a variety of topics by influential doctors, authors and noted health care leaders, has become an important classroom resource for schools across the country. Aetna has produced the African American History Calendar since 1982 as an annual tribute to the extraordinary contributions and educational endeavors of African-Americans.
The 2008 calendar highlights the activity of national leaders on the issue of marginal literacy, and how their work to create awareness has resulted in unprecedented collaboration among the physician and pharmaceutical communities to address the root causes of the problem. These leaders are addressing health literacy in unique settings such as churches, libraries and even barbershops — places where people gather to share information.
The calendar features actual examples of how medical professionals, educators, religious and community leaders are rethinking the words they say and write to help make easy-to-understand health information available to everyone. The calendar includes messages of hope with real-life tips and examples.
The 2008 edition of Aetna’s African American History Calendar -- Health Literacy: A Dose of Understanding -- is available for $4 per copy by calling 860-273-0509. The online version of the calendar is available at Aetna’s diversity website: www.aetnaafricanamericancalendar.com.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.4 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, government-sponsored plans and expatriates. www.aetna.com