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Outreach Program Summary May 1, 2014 - April 30, 2015


National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region (NN/LM GMR) Outreach Programs include Outreach to Health Professionals and Public Health Workers, Outreach to Consumers, Exhibits and Presentations at Meetings, and Technology Awareness: Policy and Improvement. Each program answers a specific need and responds to the mission and goals set by NLM for the NN/LM. In order to accomplish its outreach goals, the GMR's five program coordinators will teach classes, do presentations and site visits, exhibit at professional conferences and provide technical assistance to Network members. The GMR offers outreach awards to network members, and each coordinator serves as a liaison to awardees in assigned program areas and provides assistance in implementing projects.

GMR Outreach Programs emphasize reaching the targeted populations identified by NLM. These include public health workers; rural, inner city, and unaffiliated health care providers; minority health practitioners and minority health professions students; and health professionals and librarians that work with vulnerable populations such as HIV/AIDS patients, minorities, seniors, and people with low incomes. Network health sciences librarians are encouraged to partner with community-based organizations, community colleges, public libraries and other organizations that have established relationships with one of the targeted populations. The goal is to build community alliances that improve access to electronic health information resources in an ongoing way.

In addition to reaching out to the NLM target populations described above, the GMR has defined three priorities for the 2011-2016 contract:

  • To place greater emphasis on engaging hospital librarians in the work of the Network, including assistance with professional development and capacity building;
  • To develop programs that assist health professionals with integrating health information technologies into their clinical practice and research endeavors;
  • To increase the health literacy of the public by developing programs for librarians, health professionals, and community health advocates that enhance public access to trusted health information resources that are culturally and linguistically appropriate.

Fifteen GMR Resource Libraries and the Regional Medical Library are designated as Outreach Libraries for their respective states. These libraries teach classes about NLM resources, provide reference services and document delivery to unaffiliated health professionals, partner with affiliate network members to conduct outreach projects, and exhibit and/or present at community events or meetings of health professionals in their states to promote NLM resources and services. A list of the Outreach Libraries is found at:

The GMR works with the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) of the NN/LM to identify methods and measures for evaluating the region's programs and services. The GMR Outreach, Planning and Evaluation Coordinator serves as the GMR liaison to the OERC and will continue to offer "Grant Writing" classes and revised modules of "Measuring Your Impact” in the region. The Option Year 3 goal is to teach at least three classes related to planning and evaluation.

Funding opportunities are offered to libraries that wish to conduct outreach on behalf of GMR. Descriptions of GMR awards can be found at: A Toolkit for GMR-funded outreach is found at: Three Target Project Awards (up to $15,000) will be offered during Option Year 3 of the contract. Project focus options for the Target Project Awards include:

  • Community and patient-centered research
  • Evidence-based librarianship
  • E-science initiatives
  • Electronic health records and other health information technologies
  • Minority health professionals and/or students

Funding will continue to be available to assist librarians with small outreach projects and with the planning and evaluation needed to complete larger projects. The GMR will fund a minimum of two Community Engagement Awards during Option Year 3. In addition, the GMR will offer two new awards in Option Year 3. We will fund at least two Community College Library Awards and two Hospital Library Awards.

The GMR will create and/or identify professional development opportunities for librarians to acquire new knowledge and skills that will enable them to expand their roles and to apply knowledge management principles to address common challenges facing health care, health education, and health research institutions. In addition, the GMR staff will promote development opportunities for librarians and health information professionals in as many of the following areas as possible:

  • Evidence-based health information practice
  • Expert searching and systematic reviews
  • Searching for chemicals, drugs and genetics
  • E-science and e-research activities
  • Implementation and meaningful use of electronic health records
  • MedlinePlus Connect as a solution for the patient information portal of the electronic health record
  • Clinical and translational science collaborations
  • Community engagement initiatives that promote patient participation in research and clinical trials
  • Patient safety initiatives in hospitals
  • Assisting hospitals with obtaining and retaining “Magnet” status through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (AANC)
  • Health literacy of patients and their family members
  • Planning outreach to minority communities

Outreach to Health Professionals and Public Health Workers

The goal of the Outreach to Health Professionals and Public Health Workers program is to provide all health professionals with easy access to quality biomedical information resources. The program focuses on unaffiliated and minority health professionals who lack access to health information and health professionals who serve targeted populations identified by NLM such as minority populations, seniors, AIDS/HIV patients, low income communities, and rural areas. The GMR will provide Loansome Doc, reference, collection access, training and mediated searching referrals to health professionals in the region. The GMR has established agreements with 31 resource libraries to provide these services to unaffiliated health professionals, including health professionals who work for community-based organizations. The Regional Medical Library will serve, on a cost recovery basis, any areas where there are no agreements. The GMR will also provide professional development and offer pilot projects for librarians to build the knowledge and skills needed to work with health professionals on e-science initiatives and to assist health professionals with using health information technologies.

For Option Year 3 of the contract, the GMR will pursue strategies to improve outreach to minority health professionals and/or health professionals serving targeted populations. The strategies include (1) encouraging Outreach Libraries and other Network members to contact historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) to increase their knowledge of available health information resources; (2) working with the Rural Assistance Center (RAC) in North Dakota, the National Center for Rural Health Professions (NCRHP) in Rockford, IL, and the Upper Midwest Rural Health Research Center (UMRHRC) jointly sponsored by the University of Minnesota and the University of North Dakota to target outreach to rural health professionals to promote awareness of quality health information; and (3) continuing to work with Tribal College Libraries and other local Native American community-based organizations to promote awareness of NLM services. The GMR will also work with hospital and Area Health Education Center (AHEC) libraries to reach these health professionals. Public health workers and public health agencies also have been identified as target populations for outreach initiatives. The GMR will work with state health agencies and encourage network members to partner with state and local agencies to provide training to improve public health workers' skills in using NLM resources. The GMR also will encourage public health agencies to link to NLM resources from their Web sites. The GMR plans to exhibit at a minimum of one state/regional public health meeting during Option Year 3.

New to the 2011-2016 contract is an increased focus on encouraging librarians to develop and promote their expertise in assisting health professionals and biomedical researchers in a number of areas. The GMR will provide professional development opportunities to build capacity in the areas of e-science and e-research. A particular focus will be the “results” section of and the GMR will offer a class specific to this database to be taught at least twice during the contract year. The GMR will also promote, PubMed Health, and HSRProj as sources for informing comparative effectiveness research. In addition, the GMR will promote librarian involvement in supporting the use of health information technologies for health professionals working in clinical settings. In particular, MedlinePlus Connect will be promoted as the preferred information source for the patient portal in the electronic health records (EHRs) located in hospitals and physician practice settings.

Demonstrating PubMed,, MedlinePlus,, and other information access tools at exhibits and holding training sessions for health professionals are key elements of this program. The GMR will exhibit at a minimum of two national meetings of health care providers, as well as at regional and local meetings.

Training for health professionals will emphasize NLM databases such as PubMed, ToxNet and other environmental health resources,, and when the audience includes public health workers, CDC and PH Partners resources will be included. The GMR Outreach and Exhibits Coordinator will teach a minimum of ten online and/or in-person PubMed and ToxNet classes within the region during Option Year 3. The development of culturally and linguistically appropriate resources and training in the use of these resources will be emphasized as appropriate. Training for librarians will focus on advanced aspects of the NLM databases and special topics such as Emergency Preparedness, Patient Safety, and technology awareness. Newer classes include topics such as chemicals, drugs and genetics, evidence-based PubMed, tablets and e-readers, and electronic health records. Network members are encouraged to consult the web site to identify courses available in the region:

The GMR will continue the focus begun in Option Year 2 on raising awareness of NLM databases and resources among community college (CC) librarians with a goal toward increasing the use of NLM resources among CC students and faculty, as well as increasing the number of CC libraries that are NN/LM members.

Outreach to Consumers

The goal of the consumer health information services program is to increase the public's awareness of and access to high quality electronic health information so they can make informed decisions regarding their health and the health of family members. The GMR will focus on two primary audiences to achieve this goal: (1) individuals from community-based intermediary groups, such as public libraries and voluntary health organizations that have a consumer health mission, and (2) health sciences librarians and health professionals who come in contact with patients and the general public through their work in a health care organization. Target populations include minorities, seniors, teens, LGBT populations, veterans' groups, and low-income populations, with an emphasis on special topics such as health disparities, health information literacy, HIV/AIDS, public health issues, personal health records, and emergency preparedness. The GMR will continue to foster the development and use of culturally and linguistically appropriate resources for use with these populations. A new class on genetic information for consumers has been launched recently and the GMR will continue to work with public libraries and other organizations that need help locating resources to support the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The program works with a variety of organizations and networks to identify consumer health information needs and develop strategies to meet those needs. Initiatives include exhibiting at state library association meetings to raise awareness among public, school, and community college librarians; exhibiting and presenting at meetings of community-based organizations (CBOs); participating in programs at health sciences library association meetings; promoting MedlinePlus and other consumer health resources to health care providers so that they can assist their clients in finding health information; and encouraging public libraries and other community-based organizations to link to MedlinePlus and other NLM resources on their Web sites.

As part of its consumer health outreach, the GMR will recruit public libraries, school libraries, community college libraries, tribal college libraries and health-related CBOs to join the network as affiliate members. This will allow them to take advantage of partnerships with full members to provide health information to their users. In particular, outreach to tribal colleges and tribal community centers will continue to be a focus.

During Option Year 3 of the contract, the GMR will exhibit at a minimum of three state library association meetings promoting NLM products and services and providing classes to participants. GMR staff members will attend meetings of a minimum of two health-related community-based organizations. The goal is to teach workshops at as many of these library and CBO meetings as possible. GMR staff will also attend local events sponsored by libraries that host the NLM Traveling exhibits.

Training for public, school, and community college librarians, and CBO-based health information promoters and educators will focus on the basics of key NLM databases, such as MedlinePlus,, ToxTown and other databases accessible to the public. Other classes focus on resources for seniors, teens, women, Native Americans, and immigrants. Consumer health courses can be customized to meet the needs of the local group and many of these courses will be available in online format. The goal for Option Year 3 is to teach consumer health classes in a minimum of 5 states in the region. Network members are encouraged to consult the web site to identify courses available in the region:

Train-the-trainer sessions will be available to librarians and health educators who are charged with training others about NLM resources, including those who train the public. Whenever possible, training will be scheduled with professional meetings to assure efficient use of GMR staff time and resources.

Exhibits and Presentations at Meetings

Exhibits play an important part in publicizing NLM products and services to health professionals, public, school, and community college librarians, and the staff of community-based organizations that include a health literacy component. The GMR Exhibits Program includes staffing exhibits during national and state meetings, and providing awards to network members to assist them in exhibiting at conferences, health fairs and other health-related events. The GMR office also loans exhibit displays and educational materials for regional conferences, fairs, and other outreach events.

During Option Year 3 of the contract, the GMR will exhibit at the following national meetings: the Radiological Society of North America in December 2014, the Emergency Nurses Association in October 2014, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in April 2015. The GMR office offers opportunities for network librarians to volunteer to staff these exhibits.

In addition the GMR will exhibit at a minimum of one state or regional public health meeting, three state library association meetings, and two health sciences librarians' meetings. The GMR plans to fund a minimum of five Exhibit Awards for network members to exhibit at state or regional meetings and events.

Information Technology: Policy Awareness & Improvement

The GMR provides programs to meet the information technology awareness and improvement needs of health professionals, librarians, and consumers. Information technology awareness aims to ensure that GMR members and health care professionals are knowledgeable about how to use information technology to access electronic information and how to integrate data with other types of information to enhance collaborative and innovative methods in research. The technology improvement program aims to provide libraries with hardware and software and other resources to expand electronic services for their patrons. The GMR will fund a minimum of four Technology Improvement Awards to assist network members with technology upgrades and enhancements and/or to introduce new technologies into their institutions.

The GMR staff will monitor trends and use their Web site to feature information on new technologies and will publish articles about technology in the GMR blog, The Cornflower. Announcements about new technological developments will be distributed on GMRLIST, the GMR Twitter feed, and the GMR Facebook page. Network members often face significant barriers, including hospital firewalls that prohibit access, lack of compatibility among information systems, lack of skilled technological assistance, and lack of administrative support. The GMR Technology Coordinator provides phone consultation to network members and teaches online and in-person workshops on new technologies as needed. The GMR currently offers classes on screencasting, mobile technologies, and new technology trends. The GMR Technology Coordinator will teach a minimum of five (5) courses during Option Year 3 of the contract.

Prepared January 2014; updated 6/25/14

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