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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

National Rural Health Day

Monday, November 16th, 2015

rual flat landscapeThe National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health have designated this year’s National Rural Health Day, November 19.

According to the 2010 census data, about a quarter of the U.S. population resides in rural areas and about 65% of U.S. counties are designated as rural.  Many people are drawn to the beautiful landscape, the slower pace, and the close-knit community experience.  Many of these communities have thriving businesses, provide essential services, and have a rich family and historical heritage.

Yet, rural areas experience some health challenges that many in urban areas do not.  Accessibility to health care is a tremendous issue and is affected by several factors.  The number of primary care physicians in rural areas is low.  Only 10% of physicians practice in rural areas and if a specialist is needed the access is even more difficult.  And it’s not just a physician shortage but the number of non-physicians, such as dentists, nurses, pharmacists, mental health workers, and others is alarming low.  Fewer health services in rural areas requires greater effort for those in rural areas to access care.  Transportation, whether due to long distances or having an unreliable vehicle creates obstacles to chronic disease and preventive health appointments. Sometimes this also requires taking off work several hours or even whole days. Communities in rural areas also have a higher rate of older adults who tend to have more chronic conditions and there is a higher rate of poverty and fewer economic and educational opportunities.  Many people are uninsured or under-insured and may not know about health issues and health insurance.  Also, the small town charm that so many find attractive can also be a factor that limits people’s access to health information and to access to care.  Many health issues such as mental health, chronic diseases (such as HIV), substance abuse, domestic violence, sexually transmitted diseases can make it difficult to seek help and treatment due to stigma and lack of anonymity. (more…)

WebJunction webinar, Public Health and Public Libraries: Librarians as Health Literacy First Responders

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

WebJunction is offering a great webinar featuring two Consumer Health Coordinators from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

Date: 21 October 2015

Time: Noon – 1:00pm Pacific Time


  • Lydia N. Collins, Consumer Health Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region
  • Anita Kinney, Program Analyst, United States Access Board
  • Christian Minter, Nebraska/Education Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, MidContinental Region

A webinar exploring health-related outreach, programming, training, and funding so that your library can improve the health literacy of your community. (more…)

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is October

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Domestic violence is any pattern of mistreatment or abusive behavior as a means to gain control or maintain control of a family or household member. This abuse can be in the form of physical harm, sexual manipulation, intimidation, financial dependence. Domestic violence can happen to anyone at all stages of life and across all educational and socioeconomic backgrounds.  Abusive relationships not only have a traumatic effect on the victim and those around them but domestic violence also has a huge impact on both an economical and a societal level nationally and internationally.  Working together to bring awareness, information, and public policy are just some of the ways to work towards the prevention of this global epidemic.

Health Services Research Information Central (HSRIC) page has recently posted a new topic page on domestic violence with all kinds of links to information including data, webinars, and education that you may want to consider including in a library subject guide especially if you have students doing any kind of research projects.  This topic page is also informative for clinicians as well as other health and community professionals.

The National Library of Medicine has a new traveling exhibit, “Confronting Violence, Improving Women’s Lives”.  The exhibition is currently on display at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. Confronting Violence tells a story that is unfamiliar to most. In fact, within the scholarly community, no one has written about this chapter in history. (more…)

2015 Sewell Stipends for the APHA Annual Meeting

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

The Sewell Travel Award for Public Health (STAPH) Committee is accepting applications for 2015 Sewell Stipends. The deadline for submission is July 15, 2015.

This year’s APHA meeting will take place in Chicago, IL from October 31 through November 4, 2015. The theme this year is Health in All Policies. For more information on the meeting see APHA’s website (

The late Dr. Winifred Sewell worked with several professional associations during her long career in medical and pharmacy librarianship/information technology. This led to her appreciation of the key role that librarians and information professionals can play in raising the quality of health care. (more…)

Low Cost Mapping Tools on NLM Community Health Maps Blog

Monday, May 11th, 2015

This is a guest post by Karen Vargas, Evaluation Specialist, Outreach Evaluation Resource Center, National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

Have you ever wanted to be able to use mapping for your outreach needs, but thought that making maps would be too expensive, time-consuming, or just too difficult?   The National Library of Medicine has a blog called Community Health Maps: Information on Low Cost Mapping Tools for Community-based Organizations, with the goal of facilitating the use of geographic information system (GIS) mapping by providing information about low cost mapping tools, software reviews, best practices, and the experiences of those who have successfully implemented a mapping workflow as part of their work.  The blog is moderated by Kurt Menke, a certified GIS professional.

Here are some examples of the kinds of things you can find on the Community Health Maps blog:

  • A short guide for using iForm for field data collection. iForm is an app that can be used on iPads, iPhones and Android devices, and has a free version.  Using this app, you could go to different locations, gather data (for example, demographic information about attendance at your program), and view it in tabular or map format.
  • A description of a project using youth in the Philippines to collect data on the needs of their communities.  Technology + Youth = Change showed how a dozen donated phones helped 30 young adults survey and map information on access to water, electricity, jobs, and more.
  • A review of a pilot project done by the Seattle Indian Health Board’s Urban Indian Health Institute on noise pollution and health in the urban environment. One of the goals of the pilot project was to determine whether this kind of data collection and analysis would be feasible with other urban Indian health organizations, so they selected participants who had limited experience with data collection and GIS. The feedback suggested that the GIS software tools were very user-friendly and effective.

Lead poisoning risk graphic, CDC

Photo credit: Childhood Lead Poisoning Risk Analysis, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from the CDC Map Gallery

NLM Funding Opportunity: Disaster Health Information Outreach and Collaboration Project 2015

Friday, April 24th, 2015

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces a funding opportunity for small projects to improve access to disaster medicine and public health information for health care professionals, first responders and others that play a role in health-related disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

NLM is soliciting proposals from partnerships in the U.S. that include at least one library and at least one organization that has disaster-related responsibilities, such as health departments, public safety departments, emergency management departments, pre-hospital and emergency medical services, fire/rescue, or other local, regional, or state agencies with disaster health responsibilities; hospitals; faith-based and voluntary organizations active in disaster; and others.

NLM encourages submission of innovative proposals that enhance mutually beneficial collaboration among libraries and disaster-related agencies. For example, projects may increase awareness of health information resources, demonstrate how libraries and librarians can assist planners and responders with disaster-related information needs, show ways in which disaster workers can educate librarians about disaster management, and/or include collaboration among partners in developing information resources that support planning and response to public health emergencies.  Summaries of the previous years’ funded projects can be viewed at