Health Literacy

health literacy 2

What is Health Literacy?

Health Literacy is the ability to find, understand and act on health information, make health decisions and use health services. The majority (59%) of Australians have low health literacy (ABS, 2006).  To build health literacy, emphasis must be placed on the ability of organisations to communicate information and provide services that are accessible, relevant and appropriate for their communities.


The Health Literacy Initiative

In 2017 we teamed up with Inner North West Primary Care Partnership (INW PCP) to develop and deliver the Health Literacy Initiative. We are combining our resources and experience to deliver a group of strategic projects. The Initiative projects will support our member organisations to respond effectively to the health literacy needs of their communities.


Vic PCP Online Health Literacy Course

INW PCP and HealthWest Partnership contributed to the governance and development of the Vic PCP Online Health Literacy Course.

Read about and access the course here.


Health Literacy Alliance

The Health Literacy Alliance supports the development of an effective and consistent regional approach to health literacy responsiveness in Melbourne’s west and inner north. The Alliance will:

  • Provide a forum for practical peer learning and support for health literacy practitioners.
  • Identify and respond to common issues and challenges faced by health literacy practitioners.
  • Explore and coordinate regional health literacy action as agreed by Alliance members

Find out more about the Health Literacy Alliance here.


Health Literacy Responsiveness Mentoring Project

This project consists of a series of workshops which aim to support organisations to improve their health literacy responsiveness. This is achieved via a supportive practice called ‘Peer-Group Mentoring’ in which PCP members share their experiences of the process of improving their health literacy responsiveness.


Consumer Led Health Literacy Assessment Tool

We are working to develop a tool for consumers and community members to assess how well organisations respond to their health literacy needs. This tool will be informed by existing health literacy assessment tools, however it is unique in that it places consumers and community members at the centre of the assessment process.


Past Projects

Click here to read about our past health literacy projects.



  • HealthWest Checklist for Written Information (HealthWest 2017): A tip sheet to help develop clear, user-friendly written information.
  • Tips sheets (CEH, 2014): A series of nine information sheets were developed to provide guidance in exploring three elements useful in understanding and achieving health literacy.
  • Health Literacy Data (ABS, 2006): Data regarding health literacy across Australia.
  • National Statement on Health Literacy (ACSQHC, August 2014): This national approach to health literacy was endorsed by all health ministers.
  • Health Literacy: Taking Action to Improve Safety and Quality (ACSQHC, August 2014): A consultation paper from the Australian Commission on Safety, Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) describing key issues and themes in health literacy. The report identifies areas and actions that require coordinated health literacy action.
  • Health Literacy Chronic Disease Network (The University of Sydney): A multidisciplinary, international research network which aims to improve the management of chronic disease for adults with lower literacy.



Estelle Donse
Health Literacy Project Manager
West and Inner North Metro Region
(03) 9248 9654