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Archive for 2014

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

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
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 (, #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

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

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 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 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:

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 prior to October 29 at noon ET.

New Versions of MedlinePlus Mobile Sites Released

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Today, MedlinePlus released new versions of the MedlinePlus Mobile sites in English and Spanish. The mobile site URLs are and

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 ( when using any device.

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

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

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, 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.


Health Insurance Exchange: One year anniversary

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since the launch of the Health Insurance Exchange and the chaos surrounding it!

Enrollment for the Health Insurance Exchange (also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace) begins November 15, 2014 and goes to February 15, 2015. Many individuals enrolled last year and some changes have occurred. For instance, Oregon’s Cover Oregon website remains a place to start but Oregon has switched to using for its Health Insurance Exchange source.

Those involved in the Health Insurance Exchange process may want to take some time to review the information in preparation for those seeking help when enrolling for the coming year.

A new feature to the Pacific Northwest Region’s Affordable Care Act page is a section of information specific to such populations as Seniors, Americans with Disabilities, Immigrant and Refugee Populations, LGBTQ community, Farm and Migrant Workers, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, and Veterans. These particular populations often have concerns regarding their rights and responsibilities that others do not face. We want to make sure all populations have the information they need when it comes to the Health Insurance Exchange.

PNR Update

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Fall is a busy season! Here’s a quick summary about what’s happening in the NN/LM PNR.

New Coordinators in the NN/LM PNR
• Carolyn Martin, MLS, AHIP, NN/LM PNR Consumer Health Outreach Coordinator, effective Sept. 15, 2014
• Emily Glenn, MSLS, AHIP, NN/LM PNR Community Health Outreach Coordinator, effective Sept. 22, 2014

Former PNR coordinators appointed to new positions at University of Washington (UW)
• Gail Kouame, MLS, Assistant Director for HEALWA (, effective August 18, 2014
• Mahria Lebow, MLIS, UW Data Repository Librarian, effective October 1, 2014

Update at Quint*Essential meeting
If you are attending the Quint Meeting in Denver, don’t miss the Quint*Essential Update of the NN/LM on Wednesday, October 15 at 8am in the Evergreen Ballroom A-D. The program will include a Conversation Cafe and also a Crowd Source session to enlist your bold ideas and suggestions for ways the NN/LM could support you. This is a chance to think creatively and “dream big.” We look forward to hearing your input!

October is Medical Librarians Month!
To recognize Medical Librarians Month, and the critical resources and services you provide to your institution, the NN/LM PNR is sponsoring a contest. Enter the contest by writing a brief article about how you, as a librarian, have made a difference, addressing one or more of these questions:

• Have you helped save a life? Have you found a solution to a problem others had searched for with no luck? Have you performed outreach and changed lives? Reached a new user population that your library had never reached before? Have you helped the family of a patient through the fear of uncertainty?
• Have you proven your worth to an administrator or told someone how important libraries are, changing his or her behavior?
• Have you explored new or non-traditional roles, expanding the realm of what a librarian does?

Tell us your story! We will accept entries until October 31. All stories will be published on Dragonfly. The winner will receive a $1500 travel scholarship to MLA 2015 in Austin, Texas for travel costs including: flight, hotel, and per diem. Please send your story by October 31 to with the subject line, “Medical Librarians Month.” Good luck!

Funding Opportunities Coming Soon
The next NN/LM PNR award cycle is just around the corner in early 2015. We will solicit applications to support outreach projects, new health information services or skill building events and workshops.

So, what ideas do *you* have? Send us a short summary of what you would like to do with funding support. Our goal is to issue a call for proposals relevant to regional needs and ideas. Send your project ideas to with the subject line “Ideas for Funding” by November 7

Upcoming Professional Development Events
Next up for PNR Rendezvous: Wednesday, November 19 at 1pm Pacific Time, Jane Saxton and Jennifer Beardsley from Bastyr University will present about innovative ways to support a case-based medical curriculum. To join, go here and login as a Guest, using your own name: New to PNR Rendezvous? Go here for instructions on testing your system:

MLA Webinars Available for Sponsorship
The PNR will sponsor sites to host one or more webinars in the Medical Library Association Fall Webinar Series. For group viewings, NN/LM PNR will pay registration fees for selected sites that agree to host and promote the webcast for colleagues in their area. Individual registration is also available if a group viewing is not possible.

Here are the webinars slated for Fall:

o Beyond the Search I: Protocol Development and Methodology for Systematic Reviews
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 1:00 p.m. — 2:30 p.m., CT
o Beyond Citation Counts: Practical Skills for Measuring Research Impact
Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 1:00 p.m. — 2:30 p.m., CT
o Marketing and Advocacy
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 1:00 p.m. — 2:30 p.m., CT
o Beyond the Search II: Data Management for Systematic Reviews
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 1:00 p.m. — 2:30 p.m., CT
o Mobile Apps
Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 1:00 p.m. — 2:30 p.m., CT

Please contact Susan Meyers,,by Friday, October 10, 2014, if you are an NN/LM Pacific Northwest Region Network Member (or would like to become a member) interested in hosting the webcast for your institution and your local colleagues, or in viewing it yourself. For more information, see