Professor Joanne Protheroe: Engaging Patients in their Health Care; from Shared Decision-Making to Health Literacy

Professor of General Practice

Health literacy encompasses the personal characteristics and social resources needed for individuals and communities to access, understand, appraise and use information and services to make decisions about health. It is crucial to the attainment of good health and provision of effective healthcare.

UK policy places emphasis on encouraging better patient participation in their health care, particularly with reference to managing long-term conditions or promotion of wellbeing. Participation is generally viewed as patients playing a more active role in their health care, including sharing information on their healthcare priorities and taking part in decision-making about their care. Research has shown that patients with low health literacy have difficulty in participating in their health care, resulting in poorer health.

A practising GP for over 18 years, I am an international expert in health literacy. In this lecture, I will explore how research and policy in this field have evolved and impacted on patient care, describing my personal contribution and future aspirations.


Image of Professor Joanne Protheroe Professor Joanne Protheroe has been a practising General Practitioner for over 18 years and has worked in various research capacities, before joining Keele University as Senior Lecturer in General Practice in 2011. Jo was recently appointed as Professor of General Practice in Keele Medical School where she leads the Academic Primary Care team. She continues to practise as a GP in an inner-city practice, a role which fuels her interest in health literacy and patient participation in their health, especially those in disadvantaged groups. She is a national expert in the field of Health Literacy, regularly invited to present at conferences, a member of Scientific Committees of Health Literacy conferences in US and Europe and sits on Editorial boards of national and international Journals. She is the current Chair of the Health Literacy UK Group and has recently been appointed as Honorary Health Literacy Clinical Advisor to NHS England.


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Westminster Theatre, Chancellor's Building
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01782 734036

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