I am a sociolinguist and internationally respected expert in health literacy and public engagement with health and science. I focus on analyzing and closing the information gaps between expert knowledge and lay knowledge. I am the lead author of Advancing Health Literacy: A Framework for Understanding and Action (with Andrew Pleasant, PhD., and Dr. David S. Greer, Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2006). I received my PhD in Linguistics, Language and Theories of Discourse from Brown University in 1984.
Over 40 years I have designed and executed a wide range of projects to develop and empirically test linguistically and culturally appropriate consumer/patient health information using an ecological approach including readability, usability and health literacy load analysis of consumer tools including websites, apps, SMS/texting, IVR systems as well as print and other mixed media. Collaborative work with target audiences and community members in under-served communities has been fundamental to my research, program development and evaluation activities, as well as my teaching. I have designed and taught graduate level courses in qualitative research, health literacy, health promotion and health and environmental communications for over three decades, designing the qualitative methods courses and health literacy and environmental literacy courses at Brown Univ., Mount Sinai School of Medicine, CUNY School of Public Health and the Anthropology Dept. at Hunter College.
I am presently writing a new book, The Simplicity Complex, which explores the roles and limits of simplicity in a complex world.