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North Carolina Health Literacy: Consumer Health Resources

This guide serves as the information hub for health literacy resources and efforts at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as throughout the state of North Carolina.

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Health information is often complex for patients, so it’s important to make sure they receive clear and understandable information. With the overload of health information on the Internet and social media, people have access to more information but it’s hard to know which sources to trust. The resources below are great starting points for reliable and trustworthy health information you can point your patients and their families to, that can help them ask questions and be active participants in their own health. Accessing and evaluating online quality health information can be challenging, so the following are vetted resources selected by experienced health sciences librarians:

  • These resources are recommended better starting points than a general Google search
  • Your patients and their families will seek out information on the Internet, so pointing them to quality sites and encouraging questions is a good way to engage with them
  • Can help combat misinformation found, worthwhile to understand patient concerns and promote further education

General Resources

Health Literacy from MedlinePlus

Provides an overview of Health Literacy.


Recommended starting place for searching for reliable and trustworthy health information. MedlinePlus covers over 1000 health conditions, drugs and supplements, medical tests, a medical encyclopedia and more. All of the information is free and the site is a service of the National Library of Medicine, one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their mission is to present high-quality, relevant health and wellness information that is trusted, easy to understand, and free of advertising, in both English and Spanish. This site is great to recommend for your patients and their families in general, but particularly for materials that are designated easy to read. An alphabetical listing of all designated “easy-to-read” materials are available on the Easy-to-Read page or can be found on various health topic pages by looking for the “Easy-to-Read” label.

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Patient handouts from the MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. These are also available on each Health Topic page.

NC Health Info

NC Health Info

Use NC Health Info to find reliable and easy-to-use information. NC Health Info is a service of the Health Sciences Library and is maintained by volunteer librarians statewide.

My Healthfinder

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, this site offers health information in English and Spanish, on a wide variety of health topics, including the ability to get personalized recommendations for screenings and vaccines.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

This Center is one of the National Institutes of Health and conducts and supports research and provides information about complementary health products and practices. Sections include Health Topics A-Z, Herbs at a Glance, Know the Science, Be an Informed Consumer, Tips on Complementary Health, and more. (formerly Lab Tests Online)

Health information resource designed to help patients and caregivers understand the many lab tests that are part of medical care. Laboratory and medical professionals develop and review all content.

National Center for Farmworker Health: Patient Education Resources

The National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH) is a private non-profit corporation, established in 1975, located in Buda, Texas. NCFH provides information services, technical assistance, and training to more than 500 private and federally funded migrant health centers as well as other organizations and individuals serving the farmworker population. The organization’s resources include bilingual patient education materials handouts and a few videos.

How Do Vaccines Work? A Lifeology “flashcard” Illustrated Primer

2020 (Lifeology) A new collaboration between virology and public health experts Shauna Bennett and Jessica Malaty Rivera (The COVID Tracking Project), and UK artist Matthew Griffiths has resulted in a Lifeology “flashcard” illustrated primer on How Vaccines Work. The primer course is open access (CC-BY-SA) and available in both English and Spanish. English: Spanish: Feel free to use and share. There are other COVID-related illustrated “flashcard” courses available in English and Spanish at The Coronavirus Center by Lifology.

Health Information Translations

Provides education resources in multiple languages for health care professionals and others to use in their communities. Resources are easy-to-read and culturally appropriate.

Healthwise: Health Content and Patient Education

Patient discharge and take-home summaries. Available to UNC only through Epic@UNC

Insured and Informed: Your Health Insurance Guide

This interactive, online learning module has eight lessons users can use to review in order, or choose what topics are of interest. Each lesson provides a video overview of the content, with information presented in a variety of formats and interactions.

Drugs, Herbals and Supplements

MedlinePlus: Drug Information

Information on prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

National Library of Medicine's Drug Information Portal

Gateway to selected drug information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and other key U.S. Government agencies.

Dietary Supplement Labels Database

The database is intended to capture all information from the labels of products sold as dietary supplements in the U.S.


This searchable database from the National Library of Medicine, provides labeling submitted to the Food and Drug Administration by companies. It contains labeling for prescription and non-prescriptions drugs for human and animal use, and for additional products such as medical gases, devices, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and medical foods.

The Drug Information Database on this site is powered by several independent medical information suppliers, including the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Cerner Multum and IBM Watson Micromedex. All content is peer-reviewed.

About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products

From the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, this site provides comprehensive and objective information, backed by scientific references, about herbs, botanicals, supplements, complementary therapies, and more.

Natural Medicines

Evidence-based information about complementary and integrative therapies.

Mental Health Resources and Online Support Communities

Mental Health (CDC)

This site from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information, data and publications, tools and resources, and a link to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number and website.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance and improve the behavioral health of the nation and to improve the lives of people living with mental and substance abuse disorders, and their families.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

One of the National Institutes of Health, NIMH is the agency for research on mental disorders. Booklets, brochures, fact sheets, ebooks, and posters are available.

National Institute of Mental Health: Health Topics

This organization is the federal agency leading research on mental disorders and offers information on mental disorders and a range of related topics.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The 988 Lifeline is a network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call 988 to get in touch with the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

The nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

American Psychiatric Association: Patients and Families

This site provides information on common mental disorders, including symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options.

Daily Strength

Moderated communities of support groups on a wide variety of challenges.

Patients Like Me

Communities of people that can provide support through shared experience and outcomes.

Terri Ottosen, MLIS, AHIP

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Terri Ottosen