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Archive for the ‘Health Literacy’ Category

CommunicateHealth Webinars

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Librarians  HeartHealth Literacy

We have a crush on health literacy. Maybe you do, too. Or maybe you only like it as a friend. And of course it’s possible that you have no idea what health literacy is. Whatever kind of relationship you have, it’s about to get better. Join us on Thursday, November 19th at 10:30 AM for a webinar chock full of practical health literacy tips and tricks from Stacy Robison, President of CommunicateHealth and creator of the weekly We Heart Health Literacy series.

Make an Impact with Your Online Content: Design for Usability and Accessibility

Join us on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 10:30 AM for a webinar that delves into the latest evidence-based, applied tips to make your online health information and services more appealing, accessible, and usable for your audiences — particularly for users who don’t have strong reading or health literacy skills. Using the latest version of HHS’ Health Literacy Online, Sandy Williams Hilfiker, Director of User-Centered Design at CommunicateHealth, will walk us through the latest research trends to make your online (including mobile!) health content effective and impactful.

Presenter Bios

Stacy Robison, MPH, MCHES, President and co-founder of CommunicateHealth, Inc. started the business at age 30… in her attic. 7 short years later, CommunicateHealth has 40 employees — and an impressive roster of government and private sector clients.

CommunicateHealth was founded on a core principle: people deserve clear and simple information about their health. Under Stacy’s direction, the CommunicateHealth team has won numerous awards for their work on consumer health websites and plain language materials. Their clients include CVS Pharmacy, UnitedHealthcare, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.

Stacy has been a key player in the field of health literacy for the past decade, helping to develop several tools and resources for health professionals. In 2013, Stacy and the CommunicateHealth team launched We Heart Health Literacy — a light-hearted weekly email tip delivered to the inboxes of more than 1,200 subscribers.

Sandy Williams Hilfiker, MA, Director of User-Centered Design and Principal of CommunicateHealth, Inc., is a leading expert in the design and development of consumer health websites and e-health tools for users with limited health literacy skills and limited experience with the web. With experience testing websites, apps, and print materials with well over 2,000 limited literacy users and public health professionals, her expertise in the intersection of health literacy and usability is unparalleled. She is a passionate advocate for user-centered design spending over a decade dedicated to health communication and usability research. Sandy served as a Lead Editor for both editions of Health Literacy Online.

Register on our Training Calendar at:


Ayer Library: Story-time Garden

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015


[Guest post by Samantha Benoit]

The Ayer Library has been hosting a weekly story-time every Thursday for many years, it is during this time that we, as a librarians, try to expose this rambunctious group of toddlers to a variety of life experiences. With the introduction of STEM the library has been trying to incorporate science based events into its weekly story-time program. In early spring we had the idea to plant a garden with kids, and give them the experience of caring for, and growing plants.

The inspiration for this program stemmed from a number of families who lamented the fact they would not be able to plant a garden of their own. Many of the families in Ayer rent either apartments or houses, and cannot cultivate gardens on their property. Most of the staff however grew-up having gardens, and learned how to care for and harvest plants. We thought that planting a garden at the library would be a way to provide this learning experience for the kids, and it fit in nicely with the STEM programming we had been encouraging.

We had decided upon a raised bed for the garden, for easy maintenance, and so we would not have to ruin the library’s lawn. The bed is 4ftx6ft, and 7in. deep, and made from a few boards of untreated wood, and was built by the library staff. We lined the bottom with newspaper to prevent the grass from growing through, and then it was filled with soil. When buying plants for the garden, we kept in mind that we wanted the kids to interact with the plants, so a variety of vegetables were purchased, as well as herbs that had distinctive smells. From this planning we have a number of easy to grow vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, green beans and cucumbers, as well as herbs like mint, rosemary and lavender.

There were two programs running on the day of planting, one where a small group of kids planted and another where the kids were able to learn about worms. Since worms are essential to a garden’s health, we felt it was important of the kids to be able to have some hands on experience with them. This also broke up the group into two smaller and much easier to handle groups for planting. The worms were later released into the garden. Many of the kids loved planting the garden and continue to check on it each week. They like to report on how big their plants have grown. The parents have also shown an interest in the garden’s progress, which is encouraging. Other patrons have been asked to become involved in this project, we leave watering cans by the garden so that everyone can help take care of it. We have tried to make this a community effort, and it has been very successful, and we will definitely continue this project in the next few years.

Samantha Benoit, MLIS – Young Adult Librarian

Amy Leonard, M.Ed – Children’s Librarian

Christina Zoller – Assistant Children’s Librarian



It’s Summertime . . . and the Reading is Easy

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

[Guest post by Cara Marcus, MSLIS, AHIP, Director of Library Services, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital]

During the splendid days of summer, our thoughts shift to vacations, relaxing at the beach or by the pool, sipping lemonade on a chair on the porch as a gentle breeze passes by, and an enthralling book to read and lose oneself in.  So where do you find a great summer reading book?  At your local health sciences library, of course!

At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, our Medical Library and Patient/Family Resource Center regularly host BookTalks throughout the year.  They are open to all staff, volunteers, patients, family members, and the community.  During the summer, BookTalks include topics that invite reflection and relaxation, such as Learning to Dance with the Dragonfly: Healing Lessons of Nature, Hope in the Midst: 30 Devotions of Comfort and Inspiration, and 100 Quotations to Make You Think.  These talks are only a half-hour in length, suitable for staff to come during their lunch or break, and for patients before or after an appointment.  I introduce the books, and participants take turns reading passages and often view beautiful illustrations or photos.  The talks lead to spirited interactions and discussions, and yes, many people want to read the books.

Since 2014, I have facilitated a summertime community read for BWFH’s Cultural Competence Steering Committee entitled “One Book: One Hospital”.  Each year, the committee selects a book focusing on a different culture – last year’s choice was My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor, and this year’s selection is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.  The program includes in-person and social media book discussion sessions, open house tables with raffles to win the book, table tent signs in the cafeteria with book discussion questions to get people reading and talking about the book, and immersion into the book’s culture with food, music, art, and more.  This year’s program has been so successful that the book has been checked out over two dozen times, and even with twelve books in the collection, there has been a waiting list all summer.

We also hold periodic special BookTalks when a member of the hospital staff publishes a book of interest to the general public.  These wonderful programs are of great interest to the whole community.  We’ve held talks on The Origin of the Human Mind, If You Felt Like I Did, You’d Start Running, and The Migraine Solution: A Complete Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Pain Management.  The authors themselves lead these special BookTalks, with the added bonus of having an expert Q&A session included in the program.  We’re ending this summer with a very special program by a BWFH surgeon – Dr. Onali Kapasi, who will be reading from his book of poetry, Mind’s Eye: A Vision into the Depths of Consciousness.  Of course, NER’Eastah readers are invited – the poetry reading will be held on September 21, 2015 at 7 pm in Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s Huvos Auditorium (directions).  Hope to see you there!

If you want to get started hosting similar programs in your library, here are some tips:

  • Visit some BookTalks and book discussion groups in your area. Your local public library probably has some that you can participate in.
  • Learn about how to start your own group, develop questions, and promote the program. The American Library Association has some excellent resources.
  • Comb your collection for fascinating and unique titles. Don’t forget your e-books – we’ve had some great BookTalks with e-books by passing around the library Nook.  Make sure that you enjoy the book you are presenting!
  • You don’t even have to own the book in your library to host a program – you can ask participants to purchase a copy or borrow a copy from their local library.
  • Find departments or groups in your organization to champion the program. You may even be invited to present a book at a staff meeting and have a ready-made audience.  Public Affairs and Marketing departments always have great ideas and can help you spread the word about your program.
  • Practice with your staff or volunteers (or even your own family or friends) before going live with your book discussion group.
  • At the end of each session, ask participants what other books they’d like to read – it’s never too early to start planning for next summer.

Happy reading!

By Cara Marcus, MSLIS, AHIP
Director of Library Services, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital

RFI for NIH-wide Strategic Plan

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

[Guest post:  NIH]

National Institutes of Health
Office of the Director
Bethesda, MD 20892

Date: July 21, 2015

Dear Colleague,

In order to advance the NIH mission, we are developing an NIH-wide Strategic Plan. The goal of this 5-year plan is to outline a vision for biomedical research that ultimately extends healthy life and reduces illness and disability. NIH senior leadership and staff have developed a proposed framework for the Strategic Plan that identifies areas of opportunity across all biomedicine and unifying principles to guide NIH’s support of the biomedical research enterprise. The aim is to pursue crosscutting areas of research that span NIH’s 27 Institutes, Centers, and Offices.

I invite you to review the framework in our Request for Information (RFI: and on the NIH website (, and to provide your feedback via the RFI submission site ( I encourage stakeholder organizations (e.g., patient advocacy groups, professional societies) to submit a single response reflective of the views of the organization/membership as a whole. We also will be hosting webinars to gather additional input. These webinars will be held in early to mid-August.

Your input is vital to ensuring that the NIH Strategic Plan positions biomedical research on a promising and visionary path. I appreciate your time and consideration in assisting us with this effort.


Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Principal Deputy Director, NIH

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