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The 1st European Health Literacy Conference 2011


The first European Health Literacy Conference was heald 22-23 November 2011 at the Natural History Museum in Brussels. It was organised as the final conference the European Health Literacy project (HLS-EU) with the aim of launching the results of the European Health Literacy Survey and discussing the implications for the future. 


The conference was co-hosted by the members of the European Parliament, Mr. Christofer Fjellner, Mrs. Karin Kadenbach and Mr. Pat the Cope Gallagher and the consortium of the European Health Literacy Project. The registration was closed due to overwhelming interest when the maximum of 175 participants was reached. They represented more than 15 countries and a wide range of European and national institutions and organisations. 


European Commissioner for Health and Consumers Mr. Dalli opened the conference. 

“The results of this survey provide a sound evidence base

to guide national, regional and European approaches to

improve health literacy in the coming years”


“The survey also rightly points to the need for more detailed analysis to explore these differences so that countries can learn from each other to achieve the highest levels of health literacy”.

“In this respect, the EU is well placed to facilitate the exchange of best practice, knowledge and expertise to help people better understand their health and their treatment”.

– European Commissioner Dalli, 2011.


During the conference it was emphasised that the health literacy gap in Europe needs to be addressed. The necessary steps are two-sided: the knowledge, motivation and competences of citizens to take qualified health decisions need to increase, and the society as a whole need to decrease its complexity to guide; facilitate and empower citizens to manage health in a sustainable manner. All efforts are needed to strengthen the role of citizen in managing health and re-designing systems, roles and curricula of professionals to meet the challenge of the health literacy gap. By recognizing health literacy as a social determinant for health and a driver for change in terms of health and quality of life actions can be taken to impact the status quo.


The Programme of the First European Health Litercy Conference


Commissioner Dalli's speech at the European Health Literacy Conference








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