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MHC Collaborating With PACE Southeast Michigan to Pilot ‘The Power of Understanding’

The Power of Understanding is a project led by Michigan Health Council (MHC) intended to reduce health disparities by improving both personal and organizational health literacy. MHC is piloting this new project with PACE Southeast Michigan (PACE SEMI) with the ultimate goal of increasing their health care equity and quality even more – using the proven tools of health literacy. Medication management for people with type 2 diabetes will be our key focus.

So, what is health literacy?

  1. Personal health literacy is how well a person can find, understand, and use information to make good health choices, and follow health care guidance*

  2. Organizational health literacy is how well an organization can support its patients to understand and use information that will help them to make good health choices and follow health care guidance* *Paraphrased, Healthy People 2030

Health literacy is about “meeting people where they are.” In fact, studies show that better health literacy can go a long way to improve a person’s health. On a broad scale, it can help close gaps of racial health disparity and reduce stigma.

The Power of Understanding will build on the skills of PACE SEMI team members to help our participants know how to take the best care of their health. In order to accomplish this, PACE SEMI and MHC will work together to

  1. Review the diabetes education handouts most used at PACE SEMI, to make sure they are inviting, easy to read, and easy to understand.

  2. Host focus groups through our Participant Advisory Committees (PACs).

  3. Offer training opportunities across all roles and jobs where our team members talk with PACE participants about their health care.

Ultimately, we hope this project will lead to a reduction in health disparities and improved health literacy in medication management by older adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. We aim to accomplish this through improved provider skills in health-literate communication and patient education.

The Power of Understanding will launch at the PACE SEMI Eastpointe Center in fall 2021. In early 2022, we will roll it out across all six PACE SEMI sites.

PACE SEMI providers who would like to help lead this work can learn more on their intranet at If you are not a PACE SEMI employee but would like to learn more about health literacy and this project, please visit or contact us.

The Power of Understanding is supported by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and led by Michigan Health Council in partnership with PACE Southeast Michigan, Nancy Combs Communications, LLC, University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, and Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy & Health Services.



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