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The Power of Understanding


The Power of Understanding is Michigan Health Council's tested approach to health literacy that focuses on organizational change and provider education, unlike more traditional tactics that focus on changing the patient. At the heart of The Power of Understanding is reducing health disparities, using a stigma-free, person-centered, team-based approach. 

Why Health Literacy? Consider This.

  • More than 43 million Americans - 1 in 5 adults - cannot read, write or do basic math above a 3rd grade level (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2020)

  • Patients with low health literacy

    • Use emergency services more often

    • Have higher healthcare costs

    • Use fewer preventive services

    • Low health literacy = Generally higher mortality

Advancing Health Literacy in Your Organization 

Health literacy requires a strategy in order to succeed. The good news: health literacy supports the strategic goals you already have set in place to provide high-quality, equitable patient care. Three vital components: 

An Organizational Approach
The Power of Understanding helps build your scaffolding to become a health-literate organization. Chances are, you will find much of what you need already is in place. DEIJ programs, customer service initiatives, clinical protocols, employee engagement, and community partnerships have laid the foundation.

A Patient-Centered Approach
As your partner, The Power of Understanding framework includes practices and tools to gain valuable feedback on what patients and families are seeking, and how they learn best. Your patient-centered approach will ensure educational resources are accessible, empowering, understandable, and readily available at all "teachable moments" in the care process.

Team-Based Provider Education
The Power of Understanding is based on a tested provider education curriculum that engages all employees who interact with patients - not just clinical staff, but the whole team. From patient assistants and receptionists to pharmacists and physicians, staff reflect on how they can improve their own communication styles to encourage a stigma-free zone where no one needs to feel ashamed if they are low readers.

How MHC Can Help Support Your Health Literacy Journey 


Engage us to provide health literacy consultation using The Power of Understanding framework.


Our team will evaluate your current patient education materials for accessibility, reading level, and cultural competency. We will offer improvements as needed. 


In partnership with your team, we will offer a strategy for transformative, sustaining, measurable change in becoming a health ­literate organization, helping to support your quality, equity, and customer service goals.


We provide tested staff education on teach back, plain language, and other proven techniques to help patients understand in a non-shaming way. 


This framework will help to empower your patients to better manage their chronic condition(s) and live healthier lives. 

Available Training Options

Training can be delivered in-person, virtually, or in combination. A set of optional workshops and tutorials is available to clinicians. Learn more about training opportunities and additional services here. 

Want to learn more?

To schedule a free consultation, please click the button below to complete an interest form. Or, contact Michigan Health Council at or 517-908-8223.


Learn more about our consultants and read testimonials here. 

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