Reynolds Journalism Institute Awarded New Grant to Help Improve Health Reporting

Jan. 22, 2010, Columbia, Mo. / The Center for Advanced Social Research (CASR) has been awarded a grant of $170,000 by the Missouri Foundation for Health to conduct a survey of more than 3,310 adults about issues of health literacy. Working with Health Literacy Missouri, researchers want to identify effective channels of communication and seek solutions to health literacy deficits and increased health disparities. 

CASR is a unit of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

"Collaborating with media professionals to improve health reporting will help the general public better understand health-related information in today's new media environment," said Ken Fleming, associate director of research at RJI and director of CASR. "We are excited about bringing RJI's media background into the medical field to improve the lives of Missouri citizens."

Current studies show that low health literacy, which is defined as getting and using easy-to-understand information about your health, contributes to poor health and gaps in care. Currently more than one out of three Americans does not have the reading, writing or life skills to clearly understand health information. Fleming hopes to better understand the level of health literacy of Missourians by conducting a telephone survey in 115 counties across Missouri.

"The HLM is working to improve the health literacy of Missouri's population in order to encourage better health decisions and healthy behaviors," said Arthur Culbert, president and CEO of HLM. "We hope this grant will help to promote health literacy education and training for health professionals by enhancing communication between consumers and care providers."

The project is one of several being championed by HLM, a non-profit corporation based in St. Louis and serving the entire state of Missouri. This new funding represents the largest sum of money ever devoted to a state health literacy center. CASR provides social science research services to government agencies, academic institutions, national foundations, media organizations and community organizations. During the past 10 years, CASR has established itself as a quality research organization and continues to focus on quality of research design and data collection to satisfy various research needs of its clients.

For more information, contact:
Kelly Peery, Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, [email protected]; (573) 882-9650

About Health Literacy Missouri
HLM is a non-profit corporation based in St. Louis and serving the entire state of Missouri with the mission to improve the health of all Missourians while becoming a national leader in health literacy. The non-profit operates on a $2.4 million annual budget funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health and receives an additional $1 million from the foundation to support several community-based health literacy projects across the state, including the RJI survey.

About the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute
The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute engages media professionals, scholars and citizens in programs aimed at improving the practice and understanding of journalism. Part of the Missouri School of Journalism, RJI collaborates with news and technology companies, professional associations, foundations and individuals to generate and test innovative models and technologies for journalism and advertising. Six Donald W. Reynolds Fellows spend an academic year at RJI, working with Missouri faculty and students and RJI staff to develop new ways to gather, process and deliver news, information and advertising. RJI was launched in 2004 with an initial grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

About The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named.  Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has committed more than $100 million to its National Journalism Initiative in the United States.