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Archive for the ‘Healthy Communities’ Category

“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 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

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
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.

A Second Life for Wearable Activity Trackers

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

[Guest post by Lisa Gualtieri]

I was given a Fitbit and, in tiny print on the package insert, it said to recycle responsibly. It turns out that there is really no way to do that – even wine corks can be recycled but not wearables. My exploration of this led me in many directions, including The Product Stewardship Institute and the complicated recycling websites of many cities and towns. My conclusion to date is that most wearables are thrown in a drawer. As a researcher, I wanted to learn more so I have a survey at  which I would be most grateful if you take and pass along to friends and colleagues. The incentive is a drawing for an Apple Watch.

The other side of this research is that I am curious how wearables can help people who want or need to increase their fitness but don’t know about them or can’t afford them. I have pilots planned with the YMCA of Central MA in Fitchburg and I hope to either receive a donation of wearables for the pilot or use reburbished ones we collect as part of

The survey is a helpful way of learning about feasibility of this!

I want to conclude by saying that one of invitations I most enjoyed was to present a keynote on The Future of Consumer Health to the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association in Richmond in 2011. I love this picture of “Girls with Pearls” – my pearls were a loan for the picture. Would “Women with Wearables” have the same charm?

Girls with Pearls

Guest post by:
Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM
Assistant Professor
Tufts University School of Medicine
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine

Blog on health:

Certificate in Digital Health Communication

7th Tufts Summer Institute on Digital Strategies for Health Communication offered July 19-24, 2015

Learning Self-Advocacy Skills to Navigate the Healthcare System

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

[Guest post by Beverly Doolan and Ashley Conley]

Using video as a teaching medium is one way to reach low literacy audiences and to engage community members in a visual learning opportunity. Developed by the Greater Nashua Public Health Region’s (GNPHR) Access to Health Care workgroup, the “My Health. My Care.” video series and toolkit provide simple tools for navigating healthcare systems. The series was locally produced, and included participation from the area’s two acute care hospitals and other major medical providers, local public libraries, community members, United Way, Marketplace Assistance groups and other supportive service organizations. The project includes four 5-7 minute videos that discuss communicating with healthcare providers, insurance, billing, how to prepare for medical appointments and how to stay healthy. Healthcare providers from regional healthcare partners are featured in the videos. Educational materials were developed to accompany the videos including a brochure that highlights key concepts from the videos, templates for organizations that would like to hold a film screening and a health resources flier for the greater Nashua area. The toolkit of all materials is available on the City of Nashua website so that other regions can use or adapt the materials for their area:



Community impact of the videos has been positive, as evidenced by participant responses to nine screening events held as part of the project’s distribution strategy. For example, 98% of survey participants agreed the videos were easy to understand and 96% agreed the videos and materials showed options for what to do when they don’t understand a healthcare service or bill. 97% agreed that the videos provided suggestions to improve communications with healthcare providers. A majority of participants indicated they learned new terms. In encouraging viewers to connect with good resources for finding additional information, the series promotes use of local libraries as well as the NLM Medline Plus website. Approximately 60% of surveyed participants were not aware of the Medline Plus website before watching the videos.


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