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All-New Health Literacy Training Kicks Off at PACE Southeast Michigan


March 8, 2022

PRESS CONTACT: Ana Hornburg 517-908-8229 or [email protected]

LANSING, Mich. — Staff from the PACE Southeast Michigan Eastpointe Center will meet today to begin training from an all-new health literacy framework titled The Power of Understanding. The Power of Understanding is a project led by Michigan Health Council (MHC) and funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund which aims to improve patient outcomes by improving health literacy. Today's training will help prepare PACE Southeast Michigan staff to communicate even better with participants and empower them to take the best care of their health.

“PACE Southeast Michigan is very excited for the launch of this new training on health literacy for our team! For so long, health care providers have forgotten that we speak a language that most people are unfamiliar with. Yet, we assume our participants understand and then are surprised when instructions are not followed," said Mary Naber, President and CEO of PACE Southeast Michigan. "This training program is PACE Southeast Michigan’s opportunity to help bridge that gap in communication with our participants to ensure understanding and empowerment in their health.”

MHC, Nancy Combs Communications, and PACE Southeast Michigan have been collaborating to develop this new project over a two-year period. The program first involved a review of commonly used diabetes patient education materials to ensure they were accessible, easy to understand, and culturally attuned. While that review took place, focus groups were held and a training curriculum was developed.

“The Power of Understanding is providing a great opportunity to build health literacy competencies for all PACE Southeast Michigan team members," said Nancy Combs, principal at Nancy Combs Communications. “Anyone who works with PACE SEMI participants or caregivers will be able to improve their ‘teachable moments’ and already strong communication skills.”

Training will take place in two parts and participation is mandatory for all staff who interact with patients. The first hour-long session, which began today, is called "The Power of Understanding: Health Literacy for All" and will cover the basics of what health literacy is and why it is important. The second training session, “The Power of Understanding: Health Literacy in Clinical Conversations,” will provide additional skill-building for clinicians.

While today’s training began at the Eastpointe Center, it will eventually roll out across all six PACE Southeast Michigan locations.

"Our ultimate goal is to see improvements in the three critical objectives of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim framework," said Melanie Brim, President and CEO of MHC, "improved patient care experiences, improved health of populations, and reduced health care costs."

The project, which aims to address health disparities, focuses on type 2 diabetes at PACE Southeast Michigan but is scalable over time to other conditions as well. Organizations interested in utilizing The Power of Understanding framework may contact MHC at to get started or visit to learn more.

About Michigan Health Endowment Fund

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of healthcare, with a special focus on children and seniors. You can find more information about the Health Fund at

About Michigan Health Council

Michigan Health Council (MHC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization on a mission to create products and provide services their partners rely on to build health care workforce capacity. Learn more at

About PACE Southeast Michigan

PACE Southeast Michigan is a unique health care plan that provides home and community-based care and services to help seniors maintain their independence. For more information, visit

About Nancy Combs Communications, LLC

Nancy Combs is a seasoned health communicator and community health strategist with a track record of more than three decades working in health system, public health and health plan settings.




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