Missouri health literacy trailblazers lead the way

When we wanted to find out who in Missouri is taking action every day to improve lives through health literacy, we consulted the experts: all of you. We emailed, we networked, and we posted on social media to reach thousands of friends and partners statewide and gather nominations for the 2018 Health Literacy Trailblazer awards.


And you delivered. The many nominations we received are a testament to the amazing and inspiring health literacy work that’s going on all over Missouri.



Come celebrate the 2018 Missouri Health Literacy Trailblazers on October 30th at our Awards Dinner in downtown St. Louis. We will present 3 trailblazer awards this year, and we're very excited to announce the recipients who, as organizations, and an individual, respectively, are applying health literacy in innovative and path-breaking ways!


  • Families And Communities Together (F.A.C.T.) This stalwart Hannibal, Missouri nonprofit has a stated mission to strengthen and empower families and communities through collaboration, and it organizes its many efforts around a strategic community plan. Through its empowering mission, F.A.C.T. applies health literacy in many of its activities, including its Mental Health First Aid program, which teaches the public how to recognize signs that a mental health issue may be at hand, and what to do next. Through its Affordable Care Act enrollment assistance with the Cover Missouri Coalition, youth literacy and school preparedness programs, education kitchen, and more, F.A.C.T.'s role in building community knowledge and capacity makes it a critical resource in northeast Missouri.

  • St. Louis Regional Health Commission Formed in 2001, the St. Louis Regional Health Commission is a nonprofit organization with a mission to increase access to health care for people who are medically uninsured and underinsured, reduce health disparities, and improve health outcomes among populations in the St. Louis City and County region, especially among those most at-risk. The Commission comprises an appointed body of government, health care, and community leadership, and serves as a key health planning body for the region. Current and past work includes improving access to care, improving community health services and health literacy efforts, transforming the behavioral health system, and implementing a community-wide effort focused on reducing the impact of toxic stress and trauma on our health and wellbeing.

  • Barbie Rudder, Children's Mercy Kansas City A child life specialist for over 15 years, Barbie’s current role is Child Life Manager at Children's Mercy Kansas City. Over the years, Barbie has both developed and overseen the development of numerous written materials, picture preparation books, and videos - all focused on helping children and families learn about medical procedures and events. A long-standing member of the Children’s Mercy Health Literacy Committee – and chair in 2017 – Barbie has increased the group’s membership and organizational influence. She has long been a champion for the use of plain language and teach-back, spearheaded efforts to create a formal Health Literacy Advocate Program at Children’s Mercy, and even assisted in planning and hosting a two-day Health Literacy Workshop in April 2018 for Kansas City community members and Children’s Mercy staff. Utilizing the momentum and passion of other committee members, Barbie continues to focus on evaluating and enhancing health literacy efforts for all patients and families within her organization’s reach.


These trailblazers are truly leading the way in Missouri: bringing resources to bear, delivering actionable information to the people who can use it, and making a measurable impact on health.


The celebration will continue as we honor the 2018 Cecilia and Leonard Doak Health Literacy Champion, Christina Zarcadoolas, Ph.D. at the awards dinner. An influential thinker and writer, Zarcadoolas' Health Literacy Lab is a hub for innovation and discussion around the myriad ways health literacy and communication intersect.

It is truly a privilege to present these awards, and to celebrate the many ways health literacy is applied in communities every day.


We hope to see you at the awards dinner! Click here to register now.


HLM is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, based in St. Louis, MO, but working around the world.

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