The AHIMA Foundation seeks innovative ideas that support our vision of Health Literacy for Health Equity. The AHIMA Foundation 2021 Health Literacy Scholarship Essay is open to current undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level students in health information or health informatics and Ph.D. students focused on health literacy. All applications will be submitted online and reviewed by an independent panel of volunteer judges. The winner will receive a $5,000 prize for innovation that aligns with the Foundation's work to advance health equity.


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The CDC defines personal health literacy as the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others. Focusing on the “understand” dimension of health literacy, identify one or more barriers to consumer understanding of health information and outline a viable solution to address this challenge.


Prior to evaluation by the committee, staff will review completed essays to determine the eligibility of the submission, including the following:

1.     Essay must follow the submission instructions.

2.    Applicants must be enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours or eight quarter hours per semester or quarter respectively, and actively pursuing a degree.

3.    Applicants must have at least six credit hours remaining after the anticipated date of the award (December 31).

4.    Applicants must be currently enrolled in an associate, bachelor's, graduate, or doctoral program studying Health Information Management or Health Informatics or Ph.D. students focused on health literacy.


Essays will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Content

    • Uses credible science-based sources (e.g., scientific journals, reputable associations, government studies, etc.).
    • Provides an overview of key problems related to health literacy.
    • Clearly conveys the importance and impact of health literacy on society.
    • Offers consumer-focused solution(s) to highlighted problem areas.
  • Actionability

    • Proposed solution(s) are easy to understand/follow and offer a high-level overview of important implementation factors such as potential partners, resource requirement/s to execute plan, measurable outcomes, program sustainability, barriers to execution, testing/pilot opportunities, etc.
    • Solution(s) are aligned with and demonstrate understanding of the AHIMA Foundation's commitment to Health Literacy for Health Equity.
  • Form

    • Essay is free of significant grammatical and spelling errors and follows formatting guidance outlined in submission instructions.


  • The winning entry will be awarded to an individual.  Essays should not be submitted on behalf of a group, team, or organization.
  • Prize money is not mandated for a particular area (tuition, books, fees, etc.). The award may be used at the winner’s discretion.
  • The winner will be acknowledged in AHIMA Foundation promotional materials, including the website and other marketing materials.
  • The essay contribution process is designed to crowdsource consumer-focused program ideas addressing the dimension of understanding under health literacy for potential implementation and provide educational engagement for students.



  • Essay Submission Period
    • September 1 - November 1
  • Announcement of Award
    • The winner will be announced in December.