Rima Rudd
Emeritus Faculty

Rima Rudd

Senior Lecturer on Health Literacy, Education, and Policy, Emerita

Social and Behavioral Sciences



Dr. Rima Rudd has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences [with its various name changes] for over 30 years. Her research and teaching initially focused on the design and evaluation of community based public health programs. The influence of Paulo Freire's pedagogy and community based participatory models helped shape her work in evaluation studies, community organizing, health promotion, participatory materials development, and model program development.

In the mid 1990s, Rima Rudd began to focus her research studies on health disparities and literacy related barriers to health information, health programs, and health care. Dr. Rudd drafted the first national call to action, served on the Health Literacy Committee at the National Academies of Science, and developed the first population based measure of health literacy. She has written and contributed to multiple health policy reports, white papers, and research studies related to health literacy in public health, medicine and dentistry. She developed health literacy courses for health professionals at HSPH, with Veterans Affairs, with the Centers for Disease Control, and for state adult education professionals.

Dr. Rudd is currently engaged in research and policy projects in the U.S. as well as in Australia, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, and the U.K. She is expanding the concept of health literacy with attention to the skills of health professionals, the demands of health texts, the expectations regarding tasks to be undertaken, and the context within which people function and interact. Rima Rudd is a founder of and leader in the burgeoning field of health literacy studies and has won multiple awards for her contributions.


Health Literacy and Power.

Paasche-Orlow MK, Schillinger D, Weiss BD, Bickmore T, Cabral H, Chang P, Bailey SC, Dewalt DA, Fernandez A, Fransen M, Leung A, McCaffery K, Meade CD, McCormack LA, Protheroe J, Parker R, Rothman R, Rubin D, Rudd R, Sørensen K, Von Wagner C, Wolf MS, Yin HS, Ownby RL.

Health Lit Res Pract. 2018 Jul. 2(3):e132-e133. PMID: 31294288


Consumers overwhelmed in sea of health information

While health information is more widely available than ever, most consumers are unable to understand it well enough to make appropriate decisions, according to a new editorial by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers. While education…

Improving Americans' health literacy

January 2011 -- Why do hospitals have signs for the "nephrology department" when patients with kidney disease who need that department's services are unlikely to know what the word nephrology means? Rima Rudd, senior lecturer on society, human…