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Focused Outreach Vingette

Holyoke Community College HOSA MedlinePlus Train-the-Trainer

Focused Outreach is NN/LM NER’s approach to reach underserved areas experiencing high rates of health disparities in New England with National Library of Medicine services and resources. Holyoke, Massachusetts was the urban area for the Focused Health Information Outreach initiative during year one (May 2011-May 2012). The following is a story of NN/LM NER’s partnership with the Holyoke Community College HOSA.

In the spring of 2012, NER collaborated with the Holyoke Community College Health Occupations Student Association to train students on how to teach MedlinePlus. The evolution of this collaboration began when the Manager of Workforce Development for the Massachusetts Area Health Education Center’s (AHEC) introduced NN/LM NER’s Consumer Health Coordinator to the Springfield Technical Community College Workforce Stat Coordinator. NN/LM NER met several times with the Workforce Stat coordinator to strategize ways to work together.

NER provided two MedlinePlus trainings for Holyoke Community College’s HOSA (Health Occupations Student Associations) chapter. The first training was a hands-on tour of MedlinePlus.  For the second training, NER developed materials for the HOSA students to teach their own MedlinePlus presentations in a computer lab.  The students had the opportunity to practice presenting parts of the presentation during this training.

HOSA students presented in pairs for five separate Medical Day Encounters attended by local health school students interested in pursuing a health degree at the community college.  The five students trained by the NER taught MedlinePlus to 48 high school students. The HOSA presentation for Medical Day Encounters included all examples on diabetes, which was the theme for the Medical Encounters.

In the post-assessment, 95% of the high school students said the class improved their ability to find information they could trust on the internet. Seventy nine percent said they would be likely to use MedlinePlus in the future. Eighty percent of students were very likely or somewhat likely to tell others about the Web sites discussed in the class.

HOSA students expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to be part of the MedlinePlus Train-the-Trainer in the wrap up assessments. One student wrote, “I learned a lot about the reliability of MedlinePlus, which I am definitely able to use for school and everyday life. It was a great experience teaching others how to use MedlinePlus.” Another student wrote, “I benefitted from participating in the HOSA MedlinePlus Train-the-Trainer, because I was able to work through my fear of public speaking. Also, teaching the students helped me to reinforce what I learned from the training I received from Michelle.”

The HOSA project helped connect NN/LM NER with the Holyoke Community College Library. NER staff taught a MedlinePlus class for the Foundations of Health Program in the library’s computer lab. Also, librarians at the community college attended a PubMed training. Focused Outreach is helping NER make connections with a variety of libraries, health information providers and agencies. Stay tuned for more about our Focused Health Information Outreach.

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