Dr. McClintock Presents Research on Global Health Literacy

By Caitlin Burns | April 14, 2017

Dr. Heather McClintock, visiting assistant professor of Public Health, presented her research on health literacy at The Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) annual conference, “Healthy People, Healthy Ecosystems: Implementation, Leadership and Sustainability in Global Health” on April 7. Her work was rated among the top 3 percent of all submissions selected for a presentation at CUGH.

Dr. McClintock’s ongoing research focuses on the measurement of health literacy around the world. In her work examining Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) from 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, she derived a robust indicator based on the Institute of Medicine’s definition of health literacy in a large population.

Dr. McClintock found that health literacy varied greatly not only between countries, but between genders and education levels as well. Among men, 39.2 percent had some health literacy, compared to 34.1 percent of women. Additionally, only 8.9 percent of those who had received a primary education or less were health literate, compared to 84.4 percent who completed secondary education.

In future work Dr. McClintock plans to use this indicator with DHS datasets to measure health literacy in other countries, and ultimately test how health literacy relates to health behavior and outcomes, including for HIV/AIDS and domestic violence. An abstract of these findings was published in the Lancet Global Health.

CUGH is an organization of more than 145 academic institutions and other organizations globally engaged in overcoming international health challenges. CUGH aims to build interdisciplinary collaborations and facilitate members in sharing knowledge and expertise.