Collection of Engaged Learning


Dr. Teresa Strecker, Xinqi Mike Ren

Publication Date



Health literacy, the ability to obtain, read and understand healthcare information, is the paramount indicator of an individual’s health; it determines how individuals request and understand information necessary to make appropriate health decisions. This project investigates associations between the system of healthcare delivery and the health literacy of the population. Ultimately, the purpose of the project is to explore this connection by comparing the health literacy of three homeless populations, one served by the limited American model of healthcare, another by a universal American model, and the last under a Western European model. The study was conducted in homeless centers in Copenhagen, Denmark, Boston, Massachusetts and Dallas, Texas. The project utilized surveys based on two established methods of evaluating health literacy: REALM and short-TOFHLA. Surveys in Denmark produced an averagescore of 8.7; surves in Boston produced an average REALM score of 57.2 and S-TOFHLA score of 9.1. It was reasoned that the readily available and utilized access to healthcare among the Danish homeless population led to higher rates of health literacy over the health literacy of both the Boston and Dallas individuals.

Document Type



Engaged Learning 2014, health literacy, health care, universal healthcare, healthcare


17 pages




The files in this collection are protected by copyright law. No commercial reproduction or distribution of these files is permitted without the written permission of Southern Methodist University, Cox Business School. These files may be freely used for educational purposes, provided they are not altered in any way, and Southern Methodist University is cited. For more information, contact