FH Bielefeld
University of
Applied Sciences

International Weeks - GEKO-MmgB



Health literacy as a basis for communicating health information - The impact of social context and digitalization. 

This event is part of the International Week 2022 of the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences.

Health literacy, defined as individuals’ ability to find, understand, critique, and use health-related information, has the potential to empower people to make positive health choices. Historically and clinically, health literacy has primarily been understood as an individual construct. However, recent research highlights the role of social contexts in acquiring knowledge and making health-related decisions. This includes the impact of ongoing digitalization, understood here as digital social change. In this event the impact of the social context and digitalization on health literacy will be discussed. 

Planned Program:

  • Warm Welcome (Änne-Dörte Latteck, Dirk Bruland))
  • Health Literacy: An overview of the state of the art (30 minutes, Tessa Schulenkorf, Germany)
  • Relevance of Digital Health Literacy  (30 minutes, Diane Levin-Zamir, Israel)
  • Health literacy and social context (30 minutes, Joy Agner, U.S.A.)
  • Sum up and Good By (Dirk Bruland).


It is an honor to welcome following speakers to the FH Bielefeld: 

Tessa Schulenkorf, M.A. (TU Munich) has been working in the Health Literacy in Childhood and Adolescence Consortium for several years and is currently developing an intervention for schoolchildren. Her research focuses on health literacy in childhood and adolescence and the

interconnections of media and health literacy. She is currently pursuing a PhD at Bielefeld University.

Prof. Dr. Diane Levin-Zamir is the National Director - Department of Health Promotion in Clalit Health Services, Associate Professor at the University of Haifa, School of Public Health, Israel, and Co-convener of International Union for Health Promotion and Education Global Working Group on Health Literacy. 


Dr. Joy Agner is an Assistant Professor of Research at the University of Southern California. She received her Master’s in Occupational Science and Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her PhD in Community and Cultural Psychology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. 



Health Information for people with intellectual disabilities. Promoting health with target-orientated information preparation.

As part of International Week 2021 of the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, the webinar was offered on May 5.

Health information is all information about the own health. This information covers a broad spectrum, such as information about symptoms or diagnoses, information about health services and where to find the best help for own health problems, as well as information about health promotion and prevention. It is very important that health information is understandable, because it supports the decision-making to take health-promoting measures, at least to assess the risks to oneself or others if one decides against them. The World Health Organization describe: „Intellectual disability means a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information…“ (WHO quote). The provision of adequate and understandable health information is crucial for this population group, which is particularly vulnerable to health problems.
Three researchers present their results and point out focal points in the dissemination of information, from an institution view, to communication with external health professionals (GPs) and to inform a whole population.

The presentations were recorded. These can be provided upon request. Please write an email to: dirk.bruland@fh-bielefeld.de.




Programme content


10 minutes

Warm Welcoming and Background 
(Health information for people with intellectual disabilities)

Prof. Dr. Ä.-D. Latteck (University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld, Germany)



30 minutes and

10 minutes discussion

Health Matters Programme: Promoting health where we live, learn, work, and play!

Dr. H. Bergstöm (Akademiskt Primärvårdscentrum, Stockholm, Sweden)


10 minutes



30 minutes and

10 minutes discussion

‘I have to explain to him’:  How companions broker mutual understanding between patients with intellectual disabilities and health care practitioners

Dr. D. Chinn (Kings College, London, UK)


10 minutes



30 minutes and

10 minutes discussion

Corona and how to create information for a whole population group. First results.

M. Lynch, L. Mc Cormack (RTI International, USA)


10 Minutes

Summarizing and concluding words

Dr. D. Bruland (University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld, Germany)



Dr. Helena Bergström is currently evaluating the Health Matters program, aiming at improving health literacy and empowerment among adults with intellectual disabilities. The program is developed in the US, and are now adapted to and tested in a Swedish context. One of her main interests is to promote health equity by targeting health among people with disabilities.

Dr. Deborah Chinn is a clinical psychologist who works with adults with intellectual disabilities, and a lecturer in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care at King's College London. The current focus of her research interests is health communication involving people with intellectual disabilities.

Molly Lynch is an experienced mixed-methods researcher and evaluator with content expertise in disaster preparedness (e.g., pandemic influenza, Ebola, Zika) and a communications researcher with expertise in media content analyses, formative research, campaign development and design thinking methodologies (e.g., journey mapping, co-creation, etc). Ms. Lynch works with a variety of non-profit and governmental clients—including the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), March of Dimes and the Arthritis Foundation—to conduct research and evaluation to inform program development.