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Next Hot Topics Webinar: Ebola Preparedness in Washington State

As the current Ebola outbreak continues to unfold, public health departments around the country are readying their staff and communities for a possible response. In the November session of Hot Topics, Scott Lindquist, MD, MPH, will speak about the Ebola preparedness efforts underway in Washington State.

In the one-hour presentation, Lindquist will discuss how the state health department is working with hospitals, clinical providers, and laboratory workers to ensure proper procedures for case identification, laboratory testing, and infection control. He will also provide a brief overview of the virus and its clinical symptoms, as well as the current outbreak status in West Africa and the United States.

Register today to hear an up-to-date account of Ebola preparedness efforts in Washington State.

Ebola Preparedness in Washington State
Date: Tuesday, November 18, 2014, noon to 1 p.m. (PT)
Intended Audiences:

  • Local, state, and tribal public health professionals
  • Emergency preparedness staff
  • Hospital workers and clinicians

Presenter: Scott Lindquist, MD, MPH, Washington State Communicable Disease Epidemiologist

About Hot Topics in Practice

Hot Topics in Practice is a monthly webinar forum to discuss issues affecting public health practice. Hot Topics in Practice is sponsored by Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) to provide an authoritative forum for discussing topics that are important to the public health practice community. They focus on the six states in the region (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming) and the tribal health units (coordinated through the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board).  While many of the topics are specific to the public health community, they are also relevant to Network Members of NN/LM.  Webinars recordings and slides will be posted at the Hot Topics in Practice page.

Educational Opportunity: “A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI” Bioinformatics Course


 

Send in Your Application to Participate in “A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI” Bioinformatics Course

Health science librarians in the United States are invited to participate in the next offering of the bioinformatics training course, “A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI,” sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, NLM Training Center (NTC).

The course provides knowledge and skills for librarians interested in helping patrons use online molecular databases and tools from the NCBI. Prior knowledge of molecular biology and genetics is not required. Participating in the Librarian’s Guide course will improve your ability to initiate or extend bioinformatics services at your institution.

Instructors will be NCBI staff and Diane Rein, Ph.D., MLS, Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology Liaison from the Health Science Library, University at Buffalo.

Online Pre-Course and In-Person Course Components
There are two parts to “A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI,” listed below. Applicants must complete both parts. Participants must complete the pre-course with full CE credit (Part 1) in order to advance to attend the 5-day in-person course (Part 2).

  • Part 1: “Fundamentals in Bioinformatics and Searching,” an online (asynchronous) course,
    January 12-February 13, 2015

The major goal of this part is to provide an introduction to bioinformatics theory and practice in support of developing and implementing library-based bioinformatics products and services. This material is essential for decision-making and implementation of these programs, particularly instructional and reference services. The course encompasses visualizing bioinformatics end-user practice. It places a strong emphasis on hands-on acquisition of NCBI search competencies, and developing a working molecular biology vocabulary through self-paced hands-on exercises.

  • Part 2: A 5-day in-person course offered on-site at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, March 9-13, 2015.

The in-person course will focus on using the BLAST sequence similarity search and Entrez text search systems to find relevant molecular data. The course will describe the various kinds of molecular data available and explain how these are generated and used in modern biomedical research. The course will be a combination of instruction, demonstration, discussions, and hands-one exercises (both individual and group).

Who can apply?

  • Applications are open to health science librarians in the United States.
  • Applicants will be accepted both from libraries currently providing bioinformatics services as well as from those desiring to implement services.
  • Enrollment is limited 25 participants.

What does it cost?

  • There is no charge for the classes. Travel and lodging costs for the in-person class are at the expense of the participant.

Important Application Dates

  • Application deadline: November 17, 2014
  • Acceptance notification: On or about December 15, 2014

How to Apply

  1. Please fill out the Application Form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/guide_2015_app.
  2. Once you complete the Application Form, you will be directed to download the Supervisor Support Statement (ftp://ftp.ncbi.nih.gov/pub/education/librarian_guide/Forms/Supervisor_Supportv2.pdf). This is to be filled out and signed by your immediate supervisor. This statement describes your current and/or future role in bioinformatics support at your institution and confirms your availability to attend the course if selected.
  3. Provide your current curriculum vitae (CV). Please use the suggested CV model as a guideline for the type of information desired (ftp://ftp.ncbi.nih.gov/pub/education/librarian_guide/Forms/LibGuide_CV_model.pdf).

Course Page
The course page with additional information is at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/education/librarian/

Questions?
Please direct any questions to: ncbi_course@lists.utah.edu

Polio Then and Now: From Salk’s Game-Changing Vaccine to Today’s Resurgence

polio-small
Credit: CDC photo by S. Smith. Member of an Emergency Citizens Group in Oklahoma City, radioing information to headquarters during the 1963 Polio Eradication Campaign. Public Health Image Library (http://phil.cdc.gov), #1624.

This is a guest post written by Ann Glusker, MLIS, MPH, Reference and Consumer Health Librarian at The Seattle Public Library.

The library world is a small one, and when I heard that a friend of a friend had worked with Jonas Salk, and that she would be interested in speaking about him and his work to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth, a program was born!  What could be more timely than considering polio, which has yet to be eradicated, as we battle many other endemic diseases worldwide (and this was before the recent Ebola crisis)?   My planning partner and I asked Salk’s colleague, Kathleen Murray, and also Dr. Linda Venczel, who has worked on polio eradication for much of her career, including with the CDC and the Gates Foundation, to speak.  I’m happy to say that you can hear them present their program, “Polio Then and Now: From Salk’s Game-Changing Vaccine to Today’s Resurgence” this coming Tuesday, October 28, at 7 pm at the Seattle Public Library’s Central (downtown) location.

I have always been aware of polio, as my aunt had the disease (luckily with little lasting effect thanks to the innovations of Australian nurse Sister Elizabeth Kenny), but until I started reading more about it in advance of the program, I hadn’t really realized how terrifying it was.  It’s been recognized for a long time, perhaps dating back to the early Egyptians, but the epidemics that caused widespread fear really began in the 20th century (ironically, it’s thought, due to enhanced sanitation—if children didn’t get exposed to polio-laden water in very early life, when they still had maternal antibodies, it was harder for them to fight off the virus).  While most people with the virus are asymptomatic, the progress of the disease can be devastating to others, causing paralysis and even death.  Worst of all, it disproportionately affects children.

Salk’s achievement needs to be considered in this context; he was literally the savior of millions, but beyond that his vaccine allayed decades of fear.  It came at a time in post-WWII America when everything seemed possible—walking on the moon, and triumphing over the most dread diseases.  His accomplishment fit the zeitgeist of the that decade.  And yet, almost 60 years after the vaccine was declared effective, polio (unlike smallpox, which was declared eradicated in 1980) still exists on earth; it is ALMOST (99%) eliminated, but in these days of international travel, that’s not a sure thing.  It’s unimaginable that it should have a resurgence, but it’s possible.

And, we still have more to learn about polio.  There are advances still being made in preventing polio by means of a combination vaccine, which may in turn have implications relating to the concerning increase in cases of Enterovirus 68, a “cousin” of polio (along with the question of whether it is related to rare instances of child paralysis).  And, the challenges in eradicating polio speak to many of the same issues we are seeing in areas stricken with Ebola: resource-poor areas, suspicion of modern technologies, widespread fear, and (in the case of Ebola) lack of an effective and cheap vaccine.

Basically, the story of polio continues and is deeply relevant to our modern world.  If you’re interested in doing some more reading (on a popular level), we’ve developed this booklist and these blog posts on polio then and now, to support our program.  And if you want to do more in-depth scientific reading, there’s always your friend and mine, PubMed.  MedlinePlus has a page on polio as well.  But, if nothing else, take a moment to appreciate that you probably haven’t had to think much, in your lifetime (or at least your children’s), about catching or dealing with polio.

Healthcare Insurance Marketplace Opportunities: How to Become a Certified Application Counselor and Marketplace Enrollment Information

Thinking about having a Certified Application Counselor on staff to help with this year’s Affordable Care Act enrollment? Join this webinar on Thursday from the Partnership Center to learn how you can become a CAC Organization and Champion for Coverage. Or if you just want to be informed and get ready for enrollment (begins November 15) you might be interested to check out the Health Insurance Marketplace 101 webinar coming up next week:
Webinars on the Health Care Law
The HHS Partnership Center has updated webinars on the health care law for faith and community organizations. All webinars are open to the public and include a question and answer session.
To participate in one of the webinars, please select your preferred topic from the list below and submit the necessary information. After registering you will receive an e-mail confirmation containing information about joining the webinar. Please contact us at ACA101@hhs.gov if you have problems registering or if you have any questions about the health care law. You may also join the webinar by telephone only. All webinars are one hour.

How to Become a Certified Application Counselor (CAC) Organization and Champion for Coverage
October 23 at 1 pm ET
(Noon CT, 11 am MT, 10 am PT)
To Join By Phone Only, Dial +1 (415) 655-0051, Access Code: 581-376-365
For those joining by phone only, the Pin Number is the # key.
Certified Application Counselors (CACs) are volunteers who enroll people in the Health Insurance Marketplace. CAC organizations train CACs and plan enrollment events. Champions for Coverage educate people in their community about the health care law and receive invitations to conference calls and webinars. Please join us on October 23 at 1 pm ET to learn more about CACs, CAC organizations and Champions for Coverage. Please email ACA101@hhs.gov by October 23 at 10 am ET with any questions.
For more information on the Certified Application Counselor (CAC) program and basic eligibility criteria go to: http://marketplace.cms.gov/technical-assistance-resources/tips-for-cacs-in-ffm.pdf.

Getting Ready to Enroll: Health Insurance Marketplace 101
October 29 at 3 pm ET
(2 pm CT, 1 pm MT, Noon PT)
To Join By Phone Only: Dial +1 (702) 489-0004, Access Code: 818-992-963
For those joining by phone only, the Pin Number is the # key

Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace starts on November 15, 2014 with coverage available as early as January 1, 2015. This presentation will discuss how to enroll in the Marketplace, key websites and resources on the law. We will also discuss how to host an enrollment event. Questions will be answered at the end of the webinar. Please send any questions to ACA101@hhs.gov prior to October 29 at noon ET.

New Versions of MedlinePlus Mobile Sites Released

Today, MedlinePlus released new versions of the MedlinePlus Mobile sites in English and Spanish. The mobile site URLs are http://m.medlineplus.gov and http://m.medlineplus.gov/espanol

Like the original versions of the mobile sites, the redesigned sites are optimized for mobile phones and tablets.  Unlike the original mobile sites that contained only a subset of the information available on MedlinePlus, the new sites have all of the content found on MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español.  They also have an improved design for easier use on mobile devices.

The key features of the redesigned mobile sites are:

  • Access to all the content available on MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español
  • Improved navigation using “Menu” and “Search” menus to access search and major areas of the sites
  • Enhanced page navigation with the ability to open and close sections within pages
  • Updated look and feel with a refreshed design

This new version of MedlinePlus Mobile is the first step in redesigning MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español to behave responsively.  Responsively designed Web sites automatically change their layouts to fit the screen of the device on which they are viewed, whether that is a desktop monitor or a mobile touchscreen.

In 2015, the MedlinePlus team will release a fully responsive version of MedlinePlus to provide a consistent user experience from the desktop, tablet, or phone. This will remove the need for a separate mobile site. Users will then have one destination for MedlinePlus (www.medlineplus.gov) when using any device.

Until then, try out this first offering of MedlinePlus’s responsive design on your smartphone at http://m.medlineplus.gov and http://m.medlineplus.gov/espanol.  Send feedback and comments about the new site via the Contact Us link that appears on every page.

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. This year’s theme is ‘To End AIDS, Commit to Act‘ – ‘Para Acabar con el SIDA, Comprometete a Actuar.

Established in 2003, the National Latino AIDS Awareness Day campaign works annually at building capacity for non-profit organizations and health departments in order to reach Latino communities, promote HIV testing, and provide HIV prevention information and access to care. The Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA), the Hispanic Federation and many other organizations organize this day.

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which now guides all federal HIV/AIDS-related efforts and programs, recognizes the disproportionate impact of HIV on Hispanics/Latinos communities. Although Hispanics/Latinos represent about 16% of the US population, they account for an estimated 21% of new infections each year. In 2010, the estimated rate of new HIV infection among Hispanics/Latinos in the US was more than three times as high as that of whites.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a number of factors contribute to the HIV epidemic in Hispanic/Latino communities. These include greater overall number of people with HIV, high rates for other STDs, complex socioeconomic factors, and fear of discrimination or legal action. To build support and encourage action around these issues, the CDC offers several campaigns that encourage Latinos to talk openly about HIV/AIDS with their families, friends, partners and communities.

If you provide resources for Hispanic/Latino populations in your community, consider adding these to your toolbox: Resources for Your Health: Get Connected! Latino Health! From NN/LM, Hispanic American Health on Medline Plus, Spanish language resources from Federal agencies from AIDS.gov, and the Spanish-language AIDS information site, Infosida, which combines information derived from several authoritative resources. Learn more about health disparities at the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities site.