October 19th - Opening Plenary: Working Together to Support Health Literacy

This opening talk sets the stage for one of the conference themes – that of deeper collaboration amongst us. First though, it is important to note that our efforts focused on health literacy offer opportunities to contribute to social justice. Our emphasis on dignified exchanges and reduced barriers to information, action, care, and services sounds an optimistic note during these difficult times. This collaborative conference offers an opportunity to shape strong and broad partnerships and perhaps a health literacy collectivity that eliminates some of the traditional divides amongst us -- whether it be based on our identify as researchers, practitioners, or policy makers or based on our work focus on activism, disaster mitigation, health care, environmental health, occupational health and safety, or public health. We look at some of the downfalls of segregated areas of work, move to examples of productive achievements from collaborative efforts, and note opportunities to help shape new research, further enhance practice, and support new public policies.

Learning Objectives:

  • Conference participants will identify at least one action they can take to enhance the ability of policy makers and practitioners to shape research questions from their experiences and observations.
  • Conference participants will identify at least one change that can further support efforts to turn research findings into practice and policy initiatives.
  • Conference participants will identify at least one outreach strategy to bridge the divides amongst those focused on a variety of non-medical health literacy concerns.
  • With a collectivity in mind, conference participants will submit at least 2 ideas for new conference themes and structures.

Michael Villaire, MSLM

President/CEO - Institute for Healthcare Advancement

Michael Villaire, MSLM, is President and Chief Executive Officer for the Institute for Healthcare Advancement, a nonprofit healthcare 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to empowering people to better health, with a major mission emphasis on health literacy.  

Mr. Villaire has written numerous articles on various aspects of health literacy, and lectures nationally on health literacy. He is co-author of the textbook, Health Literacy in Primary Care: A Clinician’s Guide, published by Springer in 2007, and the self-help health book, What To Do When Your Child Is Heavy, published by IHA in 2009. 

His background includes 20 years as managing editor for peer-reviewed journals in nursing and medicine, hospital publications, physician news magazines, and an online healthcare portal experiment for WebMD.  He has helped redesign and launch several medical and nursing journals, and managed the development of a multimedia, interactive curriculum in critical care. 

Mr. Villaire earned his baccalaureate degrees in English (Journalism) and in Communications from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Mich.  He earned his Master’s of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management from the University of La Verne, La Verne, Calif., in 2006. His thesis examined health literacy in community clinics in regard to adequacy of patient education materials.


Viki Lorraine, MS

Education Consultant, Michigan Department of Education

Whether teaching patient-centered communication at a medical school, teaching staff to deliver English as a Second Language programming, or working with communities to increase access to healthy foods, for the past 30 years Viki Lorraine’s work has focused on making sure verbal and written communication can be used and understood by all audiences.
Recognizing that plain language is a fundamental social justice issue, Viki has provided plain language and health literacy education for staff across many state departments and at national, state and local conferences.
Born and raised in Flint, Viki often says that the best parts of her are the product of being a Flint kid.

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October 19th - Opening Plenary: Working Together to Support Health Literacy
Recorded 10/19/2020
Recorded 10/19/2020 This opening talk sets the stage for one of the conference themes – that of deeper collaboration amongst us. First though, it is important to note that our efforts focused on health literacy offer opportunities to contribute to social justice. Our emphasis on dignified exchanges and reduced barriers to information, action, care, and services sounds an optimistic note during these difficult times. This collaborative conference offers an opportunity to shape strong and broad partnerships and perhaps a health literacy collectivity that eliminates some of the traditional divides amongst us -- whether it be based on our identify as researchers, practitioners, or policy makers or based on our work focus on activism, disaster mitigation, health care, environmental health, occupational health and safety, or public health. We look at some of the downfalls of segregated areas of work, move to examples of productive achievements from collaborative efforts, and note opportunities to help shape new research, further enhance practice, and support new public policies.
Session Evaluation
4 Questions
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