Interactive Health Communication Project


The main menu for the Pediatric Child Care Cener, providing access to information about pediatric care for low-literate individuals.

Pediatric Child Care Center


With an estimated 40 million adult Americans suffering from severe literacy problems, health providers are chronically challenged to find innovative ways to convey health information and instructions.  This problem has garnered significant attention in recent years as analysts have begun to estimate a price tag of $8-12 billion per year due to the link between illiteracy and poor health outcomes. A recent study conducted by UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Institute demonstrated the need for Medicaid agencies to develop strategies to educate parents on treatment of childhood illness management as a cost savings strategy.

The Pediatric Child Care Center web site contains information on how parents should treat children with symptoms from common childhood illnesses with the goal of educating the parents to prevent costly and unnecessary trips to physician offices and emergency departments. The web site, while useful to literate audiences, is specifically designed for low-literate individuals (3rd to 6th grade reading level.) The site is made accessibility to this low-literate audience by forgoing the common text-heavy information available in most medical information sites, and instead making extensive use of animation and narration. The site also employs design recommendations from previous research on building accessibility sites for low-literate audiences.


Peer Reviewed Awards:

  • 2006 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Best of Web Creative for Pediatric Care - Online Child Care Center (second place)


  • Electronic Health Literacy for Michigan’s Medicaid Population. Pam Whitten (PI), et al. (Michigan Department of Community Health), $318,980. Funded 2004-2005


My role on this project was as director of web site development. In this capacity, I led a team of student artists and designers on producing the “Child Care Center” web site, including coordinating the content research, script writing, and audio and visual production. In this capacity, I worked closely with Pam Whitten, the principal investigator. I also working with Pam on the usability and accessibility testing of the prototype.


The Pediatric Child Care Center web site is available online. NOTE: Flash plug-in required.