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National Health Promotion Summit

Guest blog post by: Margot Malachowski, Outreach Librarian, Baystate Health, Springfield, MA

In early April, I attended the 2012 National Health Promotion Summit in Washington, DC. I was there with a poster describing my NN/LM NER-funded collaboration with the Springfield City Library. Over the course of the day, I spoke about my poster with over a dozen people. My business cards and copies of my poster flew off the board.

At the Opening Presentation of the Summit, Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, welcomed the attendees. He exclaimed that it was tremendous to have us here from all over the country to show our passion. He exhorted us to protect the gift of good health, pray for boredom and enjoy the miracle of a healthy day.

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took the stage for the Keynote Address, claiming the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. We all need that level of confidence! She spoke to the national goal of improving health as fundamental to opportunity. Prevention, she said, is not just the work of health agencies. I felt heartened by this, as my goals are to work with public libraries and other community organizations to disseminate reliable health information. Here are her priorities for a healthier, stronger, more prosperous America: http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/about/priorities/strat_initiatives.pdf

After the Summit, I took at look at the section in this document that addresses Accelerate the Process of Scientific Discovery to Improve Patient Care. Health sciences libraries play a part in this translational process. We support biomedical discovery by supporting our researchers as they expand the knowledge base. And, this knowledge base encompasses everything from developing medical treatments to designing screening programs. Our outreach programs address the Secretary’s call to disseminate health information to the public. As my director says, this is where the rubber meets the road in translational science.

I recommend attending HHS events—great to meet people who work in a variety of public health organizations. For my comments on the Plenary Panel and presentations, please visit my blog at http://pointguardlibrarian.com

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