Michael Wolf, PhD, MPH
Dr. Michael Wolf is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Learning Sciences, and Associate Division Chief – Research for General Internal Medicine. He is a health services researcher and cognitive/behavioral scientist with expertise in adult literacy and learning in healthcare, patient education, medication safety and adherence, and the use of health technologies to support chronic disease self-management. In 2004, Dr. Wolf founded and continues to lead Northwestern’s Health Literacy and Learning Program (HeLP) - a joint entity linking the Schools of Medicine and Education. The mission of HeLP is to develop innovative strategies to support patients’ in promoting, protecting, and managing health. Working with educational researchers, psychologists, communication specialists, and patients, HeLP has developed and tested numerous print, web-based, and video education tools for chronic disease self care, use of preventive services, among other topics. Dr. Wolf’s work has been funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), California Endowment, Missouri Foundation for Health, Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making (FIMDM), among many other industry partners including Target Corporation. He has received numerous awards for his work in health literacy and medication safety, and is widely published on this topic.
Dr. Wolf received the J. William Fulbright Research Faculty Scholars Award and will have the opportunity to work with several academic and public health institutions across the United Kingdom, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Policy Research on Social Determinants of Health (based at the University of Liverpool). The goal for his Fulbright is to bridge longstanding collaborations between Northwestern and the UK around the topic of health literacy and health disparities research. His hope will be that the time spend abroad will spark many future partnerships – from sharing knowledge on health interventions to joint research applications in either country.
Beyond several planned guest lectures, Dr. Wolf intends to be focused on several research projects that investigate the feasibility of promoting health literacy in the context of medication safety, chronic disease management, and physician-patient communication. In particular, one of his colleagues, Ian Deary, leads the first cognitive epidemiology unit within a Department of Psychology in Edinburgh, Scotland. Given his current NIA-funded work (a project referred to as LitCog) through our Health Literacy and Learning Program, Dr. Wolf expects to spend a great deal of time addressing how health tasks can be deconstructed and simplified. Through the WHO centre, Dr. Wolf will be working with Margaret Whitehead in the School of Public Health at the University of Liverpool to promote health literacy in the context of other psychosocial determinants of health, not only in the UK but throughout the European Union.