Research project

Health Literacy

National Action Plan health literacy

For the first time health literacy in the German population is systematically promoted by a National Action Plan. The plan was developed by a joint research project between the Hertie School and Bielefeld University directed by Klaus Hurrelmann (Hertie School), Doris Schaeffer and Ullrich Bauer (Bielefeld), and Kai Kolpatzik (Federal Association of the AOK). The project is under the patronage of the Federal Ministry of Health with funding from the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Federal Association of the AOK. Following the example of health literacy initiatives in other countries, German-based experts from varying disciplines developed concrete recommendations for improving health literacy in Germany.

The National Action Plan Health Literacy project was presented in 2018. It focuses on four areas of action and presents 15 concrete recommendations for promoting health literacy in Germany.

The implementation of the National Action Plan is accompanied by various expert workshops, which are devoted to concretise and deepen individual recommendations of the plan. The results of the workshops are incorporated into strategy papers, which are successively published.

Website of the National Action Plan Health Literacy

National Health Literacy Contact Point

Promoting health literacy

More than half of the population in Germany has limited health literacy and thus reports difficulties in accessing, understanding, appraising and applying health information. In particular, people with a migration background, with chronic diseases, young people or older people are more likely to lack the knowledge to deal with relevant health information. To change this, a group of experts, scientists and politicians has developed a national action plan for health literacy. The National Health Literacy Contact Point has been created to implement the plan's objectives.

What does the National Health Literacy Contact Point do?

It has a diverse range of tasks and responsibilities since research on health literacy is still in its infancy and there are several gaps. For this reason the Health Literacy Contact Point aims to:

  • Link existing studies and projects on the topic of health literacy
  • Collect data and knowledge to promote further research
  • Encourage stakeholders to collaborate
  • Initiate coordinated and multidisciplinary approaches for better health literacy 

Who is addressed?

The National Health Literacy Contact Point considers itself a contact partner for everyone who works on the topic of health literacy. This includes the following stakeholders and organisations from the fields of science and research or healthcare and self-help as well as these groups of politicians and practitioners:

  • Public Health Scientists
  • Health care professionals 
  • Self-help and patient associations
  • Health care associations and organisations

Project leads


  • Yvonne Adam, Research Associate | National Coordination Office Health Literacy

  • Svea Gille, Research Associate to Klaus Hurrelmann