This career development award proposes a program of training, data collection and research to advance knowledge in the area of health literacy and health disparities among the elderly. Specifically, the aims of this project are (1) to understand the relationship between measures health literacy and more general measures of cognition, such as memory and numeracy;(2) to estimate the relationship between health literacy, general cognition and health outcomes in a large and nationally-representative sample of older Americans;(3) to analyze the mechanisms through which health literacy and cognition affect health outcomes;(4) to analyze the role that health literacy plays in determining health disparities across racial, ethnic or socio-economic groups;(5) to explore similarities and differences between the concepts of health literacy and financial literacy, and compare the relationship between literacy and outcomes in both domains. The research activities will be carried out through a program of primary data collection and secondary data analysis based on the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). The primary data collection consists of a module of questions on health literacy and health knowledge to be collected from a subset of respondents to the 2010 wave of the HRS. Analysis of the data will also be carried out with guidance from an interdisciplinary team of mentors.

Public Health Relevance

This study examines how an individual's health literacy - that is, the ability to understand and process information related to health - affects his or her health. The study focuses on how health literacy in the elderly and near-elderly population is related to more general cognitive skills such as memory and the ability to do simple math problems. The study will provide information to help improve the health of older Americans.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
National Institute on Aging Initial Review Group (NIA)
Program Officer
Baker, Colin S
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Biostatistics & Other Math Sci
Organized Research Units
Ann Arbor
United States
Zip Code
Levy, Helen; Janke, Alex (2016) Health Literacy and Access to Care. J Health Commun 21 Suppl 1:43-50
Nikpay, Sayeh; Buchmueller, Thomas; Levy, Helen G (2016) Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion Reduced Uninsured Hospital Stays In 2014. Health Aff (Millwood) 35:106-10
Levy, Helen (2015) Income, Poverty, and Material Hardship Among Older Americans. RSF 1:55-77
Baicker, Katherine; Levy, Helen (2015) Cost sharing as a tool to drive higher-value care. JAMA Intern Med 175:399-400
Baicker, Katherine; Levy, Helen (2015) How narrow a network is too narrow? JAMA Intern Med 175:337-8
Levy, Helen; Janke, Alexander T; Langa, Kenneth M (2015) Health literacy and the digital divide among older Americans. J Gen Intern Med 30:284-9
Leininger, Lindsey; Levy, Helen (2015) Child Health and Access to Medical Care. Future Child 25:65-90
Levy, Helen (2015) Assessing the Need for a New Household Panel Study: Health Insurance and Health Care. J Econ Soc Meas 40:341-356
Hirth, Richard A; Gibson, Teresa B; Levy, Helen G et al. (2015) New evidence on the persistence of health spending. Med Care Res Rev 72:277-97
Nikpay, Sayeh; Buchmueller, Thomas; Levy, Helen (2015) Early Medicaid Expansion In Connecticut Stemmed The Growth In Hospital Uncompensated Care. Health Aff (Millwood) 34:1170-9

Showing the most recent 10 out of 17 publications