Dr. Denise Britigan is an Assistant Professor in the College of Public Health in the Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and serves in a Courtesy Faculty Appointment to the McGoogan Library of Medicine at UNMC as well.
Dr. Britigan holds a BS degree in Medical Technology (Saint Louis University, 1978) and a MA degree in Library and Information Science (University of Iowa, 2000). She became interested in health communication and consumer health via webinars on Health Literacy through the Medical Library Association and the American Library Association. Her doctorate in Health Education (University of Cincinnati, 2009) examined acculturation, sources of health information, and health literacy levels among Latino residents in Southwest Ohio.
As a nationally certified health education specialist, Britigan served on the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) Health Literacy Committee 2007-2011, and served as a Parent Education advisor for the Clinical Content Committee for Cincinnati Children’s. Dr. Britigan has become a certified trainer for the evidence-based Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) program and served as a health literacy and health communication consultant for MEND: “Mind, Exercise, Nutrition… Do it!”, which is an international program that designs programs and services offering long-term solutions that help people improve their health, fitness, and self-esteem.
Dr. Britigan is a co-founder and member of the steering committee for Health Literacy Nebraska . Currently, we are a growing partnership of physicians, librarians, students, ESL instructors, interpreters, nurses, higher-education faculty, local and state public health personnel, pharmacists, and health educators, and consumers focused on advancing health literacy in Nebraska. Health Literacy includes listening, speaking, reading, writing, and math skills. Ideally, healthcare providers use these skills to clearly inform patients and patients use these skills to understand and participate in healthcare choices (shared decision making). Almost 90% of Americans need at least some help understanding health information. People from all age groups, language groups, races, socio-economic statuses, and educational backgrounds need help communicating about health at one-time-or-another. Healthcare personnel and organizations need health literacy skills to make communication about health easier for everyone. Dr. Britigan enjoys teaching courses for graduate students in multidisciplinary colleges at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Dr. Britigan has experience in clinical, community, and academic settings in the area of health communication and health literacy. Her research includes working with minority and vulnerable populations regarding health information-seeking behavior. She conducts research and health education training programs through community collaborations and outreach opportunities to improve communication throughout the health care system.
Britigan is married to Dr. Bradley Britigan, MD, and has two children that experienced life as Denise went back to school as a “non-traditional” student. Dr. Britigan currently serves as the AAUW-Nebraska Membership Vice President. “As the student-mother of a married daughter (Master’s degree) and an artist son (BA) working as a computer animator for a university, I know that I instilled in them the importance of higher education as they grew up because they saw me live it. I am enjoying the opportunity that the AAUW affords me to learn about helping others do the same… experience & model education for their families!”