County Public
Health Contacts
Find Us on Facebook

Follow IDPH on Twitter
Plain & Simple: A health literacy project for Iowa


Health Literacy and Plain Language Guides

Readability Calculators and Formulas

Please see the Readability page.

Pictograms and Graphics

  • General medication instructions
    • Download more than 80 free standardized images from U. S. Pharmacopeia Pictogram Library to convey medication instructions, precautions, and/or warnings to patients and consumers.
  • Pictograms for points of dispensing (PODs) or emergency dispensing sites (EDSs)
    • The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services/Department for Public Health has developed pictogram signage to help direct people through PODs and mass care clinics that would serve as dispensing sites for Strategic National Stockpile assets such as vaccines or prophylaxis. Spanish and English accompanies pictograms.
    • The Cambridge (MA) Advanced Practice Center for Emergency Preparedness developed a series of pictograms in collaboration with local and state public health professionals, and experts in universal design and accessibility. Simple, one-word descriptions in English and Spanish included. Also available in 13 other languages.
  • Public Health Image Library from CDC
  • Information and Knowledge for Optimal Health (INFO) Project

Searchable Web-based Medical Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Why use "hypertension" when "high blood pressure" means the same thing, and is understood by more people? These dictionaries and encyclopedias put plain language at your fingertips.

Evaluation Tools

  • Award-winning guide developed by IDPH and Iowa State University Extension for the Iowa WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program. Originally designed for evaluating written and audio/visual nutrition education materials, this guide can help you gauge the effectiveness of education materials on other topics.
  • Item Set for Addressing Health Literacy was developed by CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) to provide health care providers with data that could help them improve their health literacy practices. Hear a podcast introducing this tool.

Educational Tools

Adult Education / English as a Second Language (ESL)

Tools for Organizations