An international survey of Health Literacy Education within schools of pharmacy


  • Glen J Swinburne Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Monash University
  • Gregory Duncan Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University
  • Kevin P McNamara Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Monash University & Greater Green Triangle University, Department of Rural Health, Flinders University and Deakin University
  • Kay Stewart Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Monash University
  • Lynne Emmerton School of Pharmacy, Curtin University
  • Safeera Y Hussainy Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Monash University


Communication, Curriculum, Education, Health Literacy, Pharmacy, Students


Background: Health literacy (HL) influences patients’ health status, use of the healthcare system and medication-related behaviours. However, the concept is relatively new to pharmacy and its incorporation in academic curricula has not been examined.   

Aims: To explore HL training in pharmacy schools internationally, and academics’ opinions in regards to how it should be taught and assessed.

Methods: An anonymous, online survey was administered to academics who teach within pharmacy degree courses from countries where English is the main language. 

Results: Responses were received from 21 pharmacy schools in seven countries; 20 stated that HL was taught within their pharmacy degree, in four as a stand-alone topic. Small-group tutorials were thought to be the most beneficial form of teaching health literacy, best assessed using oral and objective structured clinical examinations.

Conclusion: The majority of pharmacy schools taught health literacy and had similar opinions regarding best practice teaching and assessment.


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How to Cite

Swinburne, G. J., Duncan, G., McNamara, K. P., Stewart, K., Emmerton, L., & Hussainy, S. Y. (2014). An international survey of Health Literacy Education within schools of pharmacy. Pharmacy Education, 14. Retrieved from



Research Article