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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

Know Your Chances:  Understanding Health Statistics Book Discussion

Monday, October 5th, 2015

[Guest post by Margot Malachowski]

In March 2014, the Healthy Communities COI hosted a webinar entitled “Know Your Chances: How to Become a Better Consumer of Health Statistics”.

The webinar was led by Steven Woloshin, MD, MS and Lisa Schwartz, MD, MS, authors of Know Your Chances:  Understanding Health Statistics. This lively book aims to promote a healthy skepticism of touted health claims, and supports consumer decision-making by demonstrating easy ways to look at health statistics.  After the webinar, the Healthy Communities COI developed the Health Statistics Book Discussion Project for librarians. The project ran from June 2014- May 2015. Our idea was to support librarians who wanted to use Know Your Chances to spark conversations in their communities. Twelve librarians participated in this project. Book discussions were offered for a variety of audiences, including a public library book group; a support group meeting; a professional development meeting for librarians; a professional development event for medical interpreters; and a class for seniors.

In collaboration with the NN/LM OERC (Outreach Evaluation Resource Center) , the Health Statistics Book Discussion Project developed a post-survey for discussion participants and a host-survey to send to the sponsoring institutions.  Results showed that participants and the host organizations benefitted from the book discussions.  Fifty-five participants completed the post-survey and six hosts completed the host-survey.

When asked, “will you do anything differently after reading the book”, 67% of participants replied yes.  When asked “if yes, what will you do differently?”, most participants shared that they would be more critical and skeptical about study results.  At several of the book discussions, participants were asked to write their take-away on a post-it note.  One participant stated that “numbers are useless without understanding their full context.”

When asked, “Did attending the discussion add to your understanding of the book?”, 47 out of 55 participants responded “yes,” 7 out of 55 participants responded “not sure,” and 1 participants responded “no.”  Response to “If yes, how?” included:

  • Listening to the comments of other participants added to my own understanding of the book.
  • A clearer understanding of the pros and cons and how to weigh them out for your own personal situation.
  • The book was a lot to digest, so good to discuss.  Handouts valuable and information concerning online sites and hospital librarian valuable, too.

All hosts thought the book discussion benefited their community and agreed that it contributed to their organization’s mission.  In particular, the book discussion provided an opportunity for life-long learning, helped people make more informed decisions about their health, and created a better understanding of health communication related to statistics.

Know Your Chances:  Understanding Health Statistics is a quick read and is freely available online on the PubMed Health bookshelf at:  For more information about the Health Statistics Book Discussion Project, please contact Michelle Eberle or Margot Malachowski. Webinar

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Join us on Wednesday December 9, 2015 at 11am, Hathy Simpson, Public Health Information Specialist, will provide an overview of public health information resources available from the public health web portal,, including the Healthy People 2020 Structured Evidence Queries (pre-formulated searches of PubMed). provides a single point of access to credible public health information including public health topic pages, health data tools and statistics, research reports, grant opportunities, news articles, conference proceedings, and continuing education opportunities.

Objectives: At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to: 1) Navigate the website to access credible and authoritative public health information and data. 2) Locate research articles indexed in PubMed to support achieving Healthy People 2020 objectives. 3) Demonstrate the ability to search and retrieve information relevant to the public health workforce from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

To access the class on 12/9/15 go to

No registration needed.

Fogarty Papers Added to Profiles in Science

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

The John E. Fogarty Papers were added to NLM Profiles in Science.

About the Fogarty Papers:

“John Edward Fogarty (1913-1967) was an American legislator who became known as “Mr. Public Health” for his outstanding advocacy of federal funding for medical research, health education, and health care services. As Democratic representative for Rhode Island, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1941 to 1967, and chaired the House Appropriations Subcommittee for the Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare from 1949. During his congressional tenure Fogarty championed a vast expansion of the National Institutes of Health, as well as aid to medical schools, libraries, and programs for blind, deaf, and mentally retarded children. He sponsored or contributed to virtually every piece of health-related legislation introduced during these years.

The Phillips Memorial Library, Special and Archival Collections at Providence CollegeExit Disclaimer; please review our Privacy Policy in Providence, Rhode Island, is the primary repository for the John E. Fogarty Papers, which range from ca. 1941 to 1967. The collection contains photographs, personal and legislative correspondence, speeches, and legislative records.

As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine has collaborated with the Phillips Memorial Library, Special and Archival Collections at Providence College to digitize and make available over the World Wide Web a selection of the John E. Fogarty Papers for use by educators and researchers. This site provides access to the portions of the John E. Fogarty collection of the Phillips Memorial Library, Special and Archival Collections that have been selected for digitization. Individuals interested in conducting research in the John E. Fogarty Papers are invited to contact the Phillips Memorial Library, Special and Archival Collections at Providence College.

The John E. Fogarty exhibit also includes many documents and photos generously loaned to the National Library of Medicine by Mr. Fogarty’s daughter, Mary Fogarty McAndrew.

This online Exhibit is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Fogarty’s legislative career and professional life. It is divided into sections that focus on Fogarty’s life and major contributions to the expansion of medical research and health care programs in the United States.”

Source:  Profiles in Science,


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



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