About PHLA

The Arkansas Health Literacy Partnership was organized in July 2009 when a group of approximately 50 people interested in promoting health literacy in Arkansas gathered at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension offices to discuss the issues around low health literacy and plan next steps.  The meeting was sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arkansas Literacy Councils, and Cooperative Extension Services.  The Partnership formally became a Section in the Arkansas Public Health Association (APHA) in May 2010 at the APHA annual meeting. This arrangement allows the Partnership to have has a fiduciary infrastructure and an affordable annual meeting venue.

The mission of The Partnership is to improve health literacy among Arkansans by developing strategies and promoting collaboration to:

  • Provide professional education and improve the health literacy of health care organizations and systems;
  • Provide education for the public through the adult education community and other networks serving Arkansans at risk for low health literacy;
  • Increase awareness and use of evidence-based practices; and
  • Increase capacity for conducting health literacy research in Arkansas.

The Partnership holds general meetings twice yearly–one at the APHA Annual Meeting and one in the fall of each year. The workgroups which meet regularly: the Professional Education Workgroup chaired by Cathy Irwin (CIrwin@uams.edu) ; the Education for the Public Workgroup chaired by Lucy Towbin (Lucy.Towbin@arkansas.gov).  The The chair for the Plain Language Workgroup is currently vacant. The workgroups welcome new members.  There are no membership dues.  Please contact the workgroup chair to find meeting times and locations and to learn more about their projects.

The Health Literacy Research Think Tank, chaired by Kristie Hadden (KBHadden@uams.edu) is also part of the Partnership. It is comprised of a group of academic faculty members that are interested in establishing an Arkansas network that is focused on health literacy research. This is a new group, which began meeting in April 2011.  Already, however, it includes faculty members from ASU, UALR, UAMS and UCA. . If you would like to participate in this group or learn more about its activities, please contact Kristie Hadden.