About Helen Osborne, M.Ed., OTR/L

I am passionate about health literacy and eager to make a difference. My interest builds on my experience as a patient, training as an educator, and perspective as a patient.

  • As a psychiatric occupational therapist, I treated patients from diverse backgrounds. This includes people with limited education and literacy skills as well as those who were older, from other cultures, or had trouble hearing, seeing, and remembering.
  • As department manager and chair of a hospital-wide patient education committee, I know what it is like to run programs with limited time, money, staff, and other precious resources.
  • And as a patient and family member, I am well aware of how hard it is to listen and remember when feeling scared, sick, and overwhelmed.

As president of Health Literacy Consulting, I help organizations communicate health information in ways patients, families, and employees can understand. I do this through health literacy workshops and presentations, plain language writing and editing services, and numerous learning resources including an e-newsletter, articles, books, and podcasts.

Significant Accomplishments:

  • President of Health Literacy Consulting, started in 1996.
  • Founder of Health Literacy Month, started in 1999.
  • Producer and host of the podcast series, Health Literacy Out Loud. This started in 2008.
  • Author of many books including: Podcasting Guide: A Little About Technology, A Lot About Getting Started With Audio Interviews (2009); Health Literacy Handbook: The Event Planning Guide for Health Literacy Advocates (2007); Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message (Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2004); Partnering with Patients To Improve Health Outcomes (Aspen Publishers, 2002); and Overcoming Communication Barriers in Patient Education (Aspen Publishers, 2001).
  • Columnist for the Boston Globe's On Call Magazine, from 1999 until it ceased publication in 2008.
  • Recipient of numerous awards including: Will Solimene Award for Excellence in Biomedical Communication from the New England Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association; Visiting Lecturer in Health Literacy from Pfizer Inc; and numerous National Health Information Plain Language Awards from the National Institute for Health.    

Professional Affiliations:

  • AMWA (American Medical Writers Association)
  • HeSCA (Health & Science Communications Association)
  • LANES (League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling)
  • NSA (National Speakers Association)
  • NSA-NE (NSA New England). Board member 2010-2011.
  • PLAIN (Plain Language Association International)


  • Master of Education in Humanistic and Behavioral Studies, Boston University
  • Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, Tufts University

To learn more, please visit the other pages of this Health Literacy Consulting website. You also can email Helen Osborne at Helen@healthliteracy.com or call 508-653-1199.