Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Sandra Glista

Second Advisor

Mary Peterson

Third Advisor

Robert Wall Emerson


Accessing written health information is vital to any health visit (Blackstone, Beukelman, & Yorkston, 2015). People who have difficulty comprehending written text have difficulty understanding health-related information because it is usually written at a complex levels (Kanj & Mitic, 2009). If health information contains complicated content and is not easily accessible, people may not receive the health care needed (Blackstone et al., 2015). Many populations are considered communication vulnerable relative to health care which means they may not have access to understanding health information documents (Hallowell, 2016). These populations include people who are blind or visually impaired; people who are deaf or hard of hearing; people with a cognitive impairment; people of different cultures; and people with low literacy levels.

Another vulnerable population are people with aphasia, an acquired language disorder that impairs a person’s ability to understand spoken and written language (Hallowell, 2016). All of these populations may have difficulty accessing and understanding complex health-related forms and content (Hallowell, 2016). By making health information more accessible to people who are communication vulnerable, patient-provider communication can improve, thus allowing both patients and providers to participate more fully in health care provision and decision making (Blackstone et al., 2015).

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Honors Thesis Presentation .pdf (2099 kB)
Defense Presentation