[lg policy] Center for Disease Control: Plain Language Policies Can Generate Organizational Changes

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 14 15:36:59 UTC 2012

Plain Language Policies Can Generate Organizational Changes

Categories: Plain language

July 9th, 2012 11:31 pm ET  -  Cynthia Baur

How many of you work in organizations that have plain language
policies? If you work for a federal executive branch agency, the Plain
Writing Act of 2010 [External Web Site Icon] requires you to use plain
language in public communication.  The law says that federal agencies
must train their staff in plain language and report annually on plain
language practices and products.

You can find information on CDC’s plain language practices and read
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ first annual
reportExternal Web Site Icon on plain language.  At CDC, we train
staff who create and clear public communication products in plain
language. You can comment on the agency’s use of plain language
through our toll-free public information number, 1-800-CDC-INFO.

The Plain Writing Act positions federal agencies to serve as leaders
and role models for plain language. Last week, I wrote about the Ten
Attributes of Health Literate Health Care OrganizationsExternal Web
Site Icon. Several attributes rely on plain language as a technique
for clear communication. The large-scale training and monitoring
processes that federal agencies are putting in place may help other
organizations see how they can do something similar.

Plain language will not solve all the miscommunication that occurs in
health. But, plain language policies bring attention to the issue and
help clear away the verbal clutter that confuses, distracts and bogs
down health communication. Plain language policies can be important
catalysts for organizational change.

Please post your comments about plain language policies in your
organization. If you have plain language policies, are they working?
What are your successes and ongoing obstacles? If you don’t have a
policy, what do you need to help create a policy?


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