UAMS Team Wins Top National Award for Patient Handbook in Simple, Clear Language

By ChaseYavondaC

UAMS won the Grand ClearMark Award in the Spanish language category for its plain language handbook, “Cómo Hablar con su Doctor/How to Talk to Your Doctor.” The booklet was developed by the Center for Health Literacy and the UAMS Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System (ANGELS) interpreters at the Center for Distance Health.

The ClearMark Awards recognize clarity and simplicity in documents created by North American companies, governments and organizations. The Center for Plain Language award ceremony also serves as an annual meeting of the minds for some of North America’s greatest plain-language champions.

Brochure cover

‘Cómo Hablar con su Doctor/How to Talk to Your Doctor’ won the top award in the Spanish-language category at the ClearMark Awards Ceremony.

“Improving patient-provider communication and increasing patient engagement are very important for health care outcomes, quality of care and appropriate use of health care resources,” the ClearMark judges wrote in their feedback. “This tool represents a great step forward in teaching patients in an easy-to-understand piece how to communicate better with their providers.”

Kristie Hadden, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Health Literacy, said the award was the result of great teamwork.

“Every member of the health literacy team contributed, and our partnership with UAMS ANGELS interpreters made it come to life,” Hadden said. “Our team set a goal for this year to develop an award-winning patient tool, and we are all very proud of this achievement.”

The Center for Health Literacy’s mission is to improve society and population health by making health information easy to understand and use. This includes training health care providers to communicate with patients in plain language and improving patients’ understanding of health care topics. For more information, visit

“Cómo Hablar con su Doctor” does both. It was designed to help Spanish-speaking patients prepare to visit their health care provider. The manual uses the patient’s hand as a reminder of the five things to keep in mind for each visit – one per finger. The goal was to overcome known communication barriers related to health literacy for Spanish-speaking patients and to give clinics a tool for helping facilitate communication.

“Better communication and more engagement can lead to more informed patients, better health outcomes and higher satisfaction for the patient,” Hadden said. “It’s a win-win for both provider and patient.”

Lee Kitchen, program manager and Spanish interpreter with the Center for Distance Health, said the collaborative project aligned perfectly with the center’s core belief that all people have the right to clearly understand their health condition and health care plan.

“This project required a lot of outside-the-box thinking,” Kitchen said. “There are phrases, mnemonic devices and other cultural nuances that don’t translate from American culture to Latin American culture. Our team worked hard to not only translate words, but also transfer creativity.  We are honored to have that work recognized.”

The Center for Health Literacy staff who worked on the project were: Hadden, Tina Moore, Alison Caballero, Katie Leath, Nancy Dockter, Latrina Prince and Andrea Roy. The collaborating Center for Distance Health ANGELS staff were: David Fletcher, Lee Kitchen, Veronica Hernandez, Diana Johnson and Elizabeth Sweat.

The Center for Distance Health enables UAMS to keep health care providers both on and off campus trained in the latest health care innovations through continuing education, teleconferences, trainings and other programs. Its ANGELS program aims to improve antenatal and neonatal care, through both online and onsite training; research; and evidence-based guidelines. For more information, visit

The Center for Plain Language’s mission is to champion clear communication.


UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.