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Health Information Literacy Happenings…in Missouri

There’s been a lot happening to increase health information literacy in the MidContinential Region, so I checked in with three librarians in Missouri to ask about their work and see what projects have been keeping them busy.

Will Olmstadt, Public Health Librarian at Becker Medical Library – Washington University –St. Louis, was recently at the Creve Coeur Government Center to present a class to the St. Louis Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) on NIHSenior Health. NORC is a community program that supports health aging of seniors by providing community involvement, support services, health & wellness and educational programming.

Photo of training with a website projected on a screen

NIHSenior Health class at the
St. Louis Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC)

This class was offered as a follow up to previous classes, highlighting the recent changes on the NIHSenior Health web page such as a new search feature, improved readability, a “share” feature, and expanded topic information. In 2011, Will taught two hands-on classes teaching NORC members how to find health information on NIHSenior Health, MedlinePlus, and the Becker Medical Library web site.  Last summer the NORC visited the Becker Medical Library for a tour and to see a traveling exhibit. Will plans to continue support for this partnership by offering classes once a year as resources get updated and NORC requests.

At the Middendorf-Kredell branch of the St. Charles City-County Library District Denise Ulett, Consumer Health Librarian, has been busy with programming a wellness fair and events at Community Commons. The recent stroke event at the Community Commons was well attended. Telemedicine and a doctor controlled robot in the ER were demonstrated to show how a specialist could still treat patients at rural hospitals  in the event of a stroke.

Denise attended a women’s health fair and offered classes on topics such as aging gracefully, preventing diabetes, and bone density and body composition screenings. The Middendorf-Kredell branch also had a display in May for Mental Health Awareness Month that offered pamphlets on mental health topics.

Mental Health Awareness Display

Mental Health Awareness Display
at the Middendork-Kredell Branch Library

Cory Mihalik, Health Librarian at the Springfield Green County Library District, talked to me about a new partnership that has formed with the Jordan Valley Community Health Center.

The Jordan Valley Community Health Center offers medical and dental services to low-income residents based on a sliding fee scale.  With a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health, the Springfield Green County Library District set up an 800-book library inside the Jordan Valley Community Health Center. The books are available to anyone who comes into the community health center and has been open since August of 2011. The consumer health library is staffed by Cory 24 hours a week. Cory offers classes in the consumer health library on a rotating schedule. Topics include finding health information online, communicating with medical providers, finding OTC and prescription medication information online, community resources, and a specialty class for pregnant women. Cory assured me he covers NLM resources in these classes such as MedlinePlus, Drug Information Portal, Clinicaltrials.gov, Lactmed, and womenshealth.gov.

–  Monica Rogers, Health Information Literacy Coordinator

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