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Patient Education

The DUHS Patient and Family Education Governance Council helps ensure our patient education materials are consistent and best meet the needs of all our patients by using the best practices of health literacy. Pam Edwards and Gail Shulby are co-chairs of the DUHS Patient Education Governance Council.

DUHS requires that the committee review and approve all patient education materials before they are finalized. The group meets on the second Wednesday of each month to consider submitted materials. If you have a piece that needs review, please send the text and design document to For additional questions, contact Mary Susan Moss, Jen Massengill, Chuck Rodgers or  Margaret Sturdivant, members of the DUHS Patient Education team.

In addition to the committee's review, patient education materials should adhere to our Duke Health brand standards. Below are a few helpful tips related to branding and style guidelines for patient education materials.


All copy should be at least 12-point. Words can be bolded, but never italicized or underlined.

Reading level

The reading level of the materials should be at a 5th grade reading level.

Plain language should be used to simplify medical terminology.

Sentences should be short – 10 words or less.


  • Use a table of contents when there are more than seven pages of text.
  • Limit content to what the patient needs to know.
  • Direct patients to other sources of information as applicable.
  • Ensure content is free from bias.
  • Ensure content is gender neutral.
  • When appropriate, vet content with all Duke entities.


Patient education materials should include an identifiable, green bar that clearly reads "Patient Education." 

Iconography for use in patient education materials is also available for download on the brand center.

Materials also need to include a line with the date the materials were approved by the Patient Education Governance Council.

Patient Education SharePoint (For employees only)