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Consumer Health Information Hub

July 2022 to Present

A new Maryland law designates the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy as the state's consumer health information hub. We're planning hub activities right now and we'd like to hear from you!

Please use this form to let us know what activities you'd like to see the new hub take on.

Read more about the creation of the hub

Marylanders will soon have a new and reliable ‘hub’ for accessing consumer health information | READER COMMENTARY

July 8, 2022 - Published in the Baltimore Sun

Dean Boris Lushniak wrote a commentary the passing of HB1082 in which he discussed the impacts of the bill on the Center's work addressing health literacy concerns in Maryland.

Maryland has, once again, set a national standard to address the health care needs of its residents. This time, we at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, are excited to be at the nexus of this new and innovative approach.  Our Horowitz Center for Health Literacy will become Maryland's Consumer Health Information Hub, which has been established by the new law championed by Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk.  She recognizes the need to ensure that the public receives clear and useful health information. Our School is proud to partner with her, the rest of the Maryland General Assembly, and the Hogan administration on this new initiative.  

As the School of Public Health at the state’s flagship university, we are dedicated to taking on grand challenges and serving the public good in all we do. We educate future leaders, we research what works and doesn’t, and we create and share information and resources that promote health, prevent disease and prolong wellbeing throughout life. The Consumer Health Information Hub is just one example of how we serve the public. 

Our Maryland model has several elements.  First, the hub will consult with state and local agencies,  health and social services providers, hospitals and community nonprofits to ensure their  public information  in websites, social media, print materials and community meetings meets the highest standards for  clear communications.  Healthcare providers, in particular, are a vital link with patients and their families and are the most trusted sources of health information. 

Second, the hub will provide our students with the opportunity to learn and practice clear health communication methods and prepare them to staff our state and local health departments, community organizations, clinics, and health education programs. Working professionals will gain valuable on the job skills to respond to everyday health concerns like preventing diabetes and heart disease and the extraordinary ones like responding to a pandemic.

Third, there will be an annual report to the General Assembly that lays out progress in serving  Marylanders’ with all levels of health literacy.  This is critical to  improving the health of our residents and addressing health equity.  

Maryland consumer advocate Leni Preston expressed the urgent need for clear, accessible and usable health information in a recent Maryland Matters oped. Despite having worked on health care issues for decades, she still found it challenging to navigate the healthcare system after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis.  Many more Marylanders with fewer resources face additional barriers that have led to health disparities and structural inequities in our healthcare system today.   Addressing these issues will be a focus of the hub's work  to meet everyone’s need for information they trust and understand. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has painfully reinforced the need for clear messages about public health. Communication missteps by some government agencies and the proliferation of misinformation online led to confusion about health risks and the unfortunate mistrust in reliable sources of information about the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We can and must do better to help people make informed choices  to protect their health. Clear communication is critical to building trust and delivering information people can act upon; it can be life-saving.

The hub approach will bolster Maryland’s commitment to improve healthcare quality and lower costs. Our state has been a leader in healthcare innovation, and our one-of-a-kind arrangement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (known as the “total cost of care model”) aims to  transform care delivery by rightly putting patients at the center. The Consumer Health Information Hub will play a critical role in contributing to the model’s success and to advancing health equity in our state.

The School of Public Health welcomes the opportunity to serve all Marylanders with the consumer health information hub. We are committed to a healthier, safer Maryland for all.       

New Law Makes UMD’s Horowitz Center for Health Literacy a Statewide Health Information Hub

June 16, 2022 - Published in UMD SPH's News Feed

This article describes the scope and purpose of the law created by HB1082. Center director Dr. Cynthia Baur and health policy expert Leni Preston are quoted speaking to the importance and innovativeness of the new law.

Opinion: Health Literacy – This Is Personal

March 16, 2022 - Published in Maryland Matters

Independent health policy expert Leni Preston wrote this op-ed prior to the passage of HB1082 about the need for the bill. She spoke to the system-wide challenges of navigating the healthcare system and her personal experiences managing her care.

Maryland Bill Aims to Make Center for Health Literacy the State's Consumer Health Information Hub

March 7th, 2022 - Published in UMD SPH's News Feed

This article, written before the passage of the bill, explains the need for a consumer health information hub. Dr. Baur and Dr. Mariam Assi, a legislative staff member of Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, speak to the ubiquity of health literacy in all health matters, the intended health equity impacts of the bill, and the necessity of a systems-level approach to tackling health literacy issues.