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Archive for the ‘Health Literacy’ Category

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: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-118.html) and on the NIH website (http://www.nih.gov/about/strategic-plan), and to provide your feedback via the RFI submission site (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/rfi/rfi.cfm?ID=46). 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.

Sincerely,

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

“Let’s March Into May” Community Wellness Program

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

[Guest Post by Dawn Brown]march into may 2015 FACEBOOK BANNER

How do you get the community involved in a wellness program that centers around Libraries? That was our question last fall, as we created the “Let’s March Into May” Community Wellness Program.  Here at Springvale Public Library, we had created many ‘in house’ wellness programs for our employees and thought, why not convert this fun idea into a community wide program?  So we did.

With the help of a talented and highly valued volunteer, we brainstormed our initial idea into an actual game board.  We then invited our neighbors Goodall Memorial Library, Sanford-Springvale YMCA, Partners for Healthier Communities and Sanford Institution for Savings to join us.  There were many meetings and lots of enthusiasm for this out-of-the- box idea before it was launched on March 1st.

The program was in the form of a game in which participants completed various ‘healthy’ tasks listed that marched them through a game board.  Examples of tasks included:  going for walks, attending a Library program, exercising at the YMCA, checking out a cookbook from the Library, exploring  your roots at Ancestry.com and  16 other health-related tasks.  As each task was completed they were able to come into either Library and get their game board stamped and earn raffle tickets for donated prizes from local organizations.  Wild spaces also allowed participants to choose their own healthy option for the day.  The program ran from March 1st to May 11th.

We were thrilled to have 144 people sign up; the first 25 at each library received a pedometer.  During the 10 week program we had a steady stream of participants visiting the library.  We concluded the program with a “Celebrate Spring” event that featured a smoothie blender bike, various venders promoting health and wellness, a mini book sale, a local band and of course PRIZES for our participants.

Our goal was to raise awareness about the important role that Libraries play in the community and how they can offer many resources to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Where else can you go to check out books on wellness or exercise DVDs and attend an educational program?

Overall, we feel the program was a huge success and we’re planning on doing it again with a few tweaks.  It was a great collaboration with local organizations and the feedback from our community was tremendous and very positive.  A win-win for both Libraries and participants and most importantly, it was FUN!

By Dawn Brown,  Assistant Library Director

Springvale Public Library

Springvale, Maine

 

Office of Minority Health Resource Center

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

This week, I presented at the Office of Minority Health Resource Center’s Higher Education Technical Assistance Program. The HETAP workshop included a New England Region Federal Panel. I had the pleasure to connect with Regional Administrators for HHS, HRSA, and SAMHSA. Each presented shared an overview of their services and funding opportunities.

The OMHRC presented about the services they provide to the public such as research assistance to prepare grants. The OMHRC is the nation’s largest repository of information on health issues specific to African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. The OMRHC’s Information Services can help you identify the most current minority health data.

-Michelle Eberle

Description of the OMHRC
Source: http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=17

Information Services

The Office of Minority Health Resource Center researches and responds to telephone, e-mail and mail inquiries from the public. Examples of information we can assist with include database search results, funding sources and the most current data specific to a variety of health conditions and issues affecting racial and ethnic minorities.

All of our Information Specialists provide free, high-quality customized responses for health professionals, community/faith-based organizations, students, consumers and members of Congress on a variety of topics related to minority health and health disparities.

Information Specialists are available to provide searches on sources of federal and non-federal funding, the latest minority health research, and current data and statistics on a variety of health conditions and issues affecting racial and ethnic minorities. We are also able to provided limited quantities of consumer health publications.

The Office of Minority Health Resource Center is also a referral service and Information Specialists can provide free assistance referring clients to health information or to relevant health organizations.

How do I request information?
Call: 1-800-444-6472 (English and Spanish)
TDD: 301-251-1432
Email: info@minorityhealth.hhs.gov
Mail: Office of Minority Health Resource Center
PO Box 37337
Washington, DC 20013-7337
The toll-free telephone line is staffed from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm eastern time, Monday through Friday (closed on federal holidays). The toll-free line is accessible within the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

What kind of customized searches are available?
Information Specialists are available to offer the latest minority health information on a variety of health conditions and issues and resources. These searches include: current literature (research and peer review articles); national and local minority health data/statistics; and national and local resources, programs, events and materials for your community. Depending on the difficulty of the request, searches may take up to 5 business days to complete. An Information Specialist will work with you to make sure you receive the most accurate resources for your program.

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