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Acknowledging Native American Veterans

flags-945510_640Veterans Day is approaching and is a special time to pay tribute to veterans of all wars. These men and women have sacrificed much for the freedoms we all enjoy and for which we are thankful. However, the results of war are often devastating for veterans, their families and eventually we all feel the effects.  Many veterans experience physical and psychological trauma which can have an enormous effect on those around them.  Many are unemployed, economically depressed, experience added family problems, and may lead to suicide in some cases.

Before they were even granted U.S. citizenship, thousands of Native Americans volunteered and served in the first World War and over 40,000 served in World War II despite their own lack of freedom here in their own country. For many Native Americans, becoming part of the military was an opportunity to prove patriotism, provide employment, to see the world and as a rite of passage. Despite the inner conflict of assisting an institution that marginalized, isolated and fought against them, many Native Americans wanted to assist in protecting their country. In fact Native Americans have the largest per capita enlistment of any ethnic or racial group.

The trauma of war on Native Americans and many rural veterans can be compounded by a number of factors including lack of transportation and other transportation factors, lack of services, unemployment, cultural barriers, awareness, and lower incomes.  Many have found help and support though traditional healing and opportunities provided such as the sharing of stories.

Several films have been produced that record the stories of Native American veterans allowing others to hear their voices. Here are previews about three such films.

The National Museum of the American Indian seeks to provide a forum for tribes to tell their veteran stories in the  Native American Veterans’ Storytelling Project. They have developed a model for this project for others to follow in hopes of preserving these stories for future generations. To learn more about this project and seek participation watch this informational video. Read more »

Health Insurance Marketplace, Open Enrollment Starts November 1 Stock imageryNovember 1, 2015 is the first day to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2016.  The enrollment deadline is January 31, 2016 otherwise the only way to qualify for insurance in 2016 is for a Special Enrollment Period.

According to Sylvia Burwell, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, in the five years since ACA was signed into law and the three years since Open Enrollment began in the Health Insurance Marketplace, about 17.6 million uninsured people have received health coverage.  The uninsured rate has dropped significantly for African Americans and Latinos.  According to ASPE Data Point, the number of uninsured has decreased primarily for three reasons, “…allowing young people up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ plans, the Medicaid expansion in 29 states plus DC, and the availability of affordable insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplaces.”  Despite these great gains, about 10.5 million uninsured Americans are still eligible for Marketplace coverage and almost half of those are between the ages of 18 and 34 while approximately one-third are people of color: approximately 19 percent are Hispanic, 14 percent are African American, and 2 percent are Asian American.  More needs to be done to continue to increase the number of Americans covered especially in under-served populations. Libraries, community organizations, and faith communities have an opportunity to join forces and reach out to get more people covered. Read more »

2015 NLM Informationist Services and NIH Big Data to Knowledge Awardees Announced

In October 2015, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Extramural Programs (EP) announced the 2015 Awards for NLM Administrative Supplements for Informationist Services in NIH-funded Research Projects. These awards bring informationists into research settings and measure the value of their contributions to the research. The Supplement provides funding for up to two years for an active NIH-funded researcher, in order to bring needed information expertise into the research team.
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Happy 50th Anniversary, NN/LM!

NNLM_50th_AnniversaryOn October 22, 1965, the Medical Library Assistance Act was passed authorizing the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to provide grant funding to develop a national system of regional medical libraries. This network, called the Regional Medical Library (RML) Network, changed its name to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) in 1991. Today the ~6,400-member NN/LM, considered a field force in NLM’s outreach efforts, promotes and provides access to health information in communities across the United States.

Happy 50th Anniversary, NN/LM!

2015 Medical Librarians Month Profile – Andrea Ball

ALBAndrea Ball, our next featured profile for Medical Librarians Month, is the Care Management and Population Health Librarian at the University of Washington Health Sciences Library.

1. What is your library’s mission and who do your serve? I have been the Care Management and Population Health librarian for the University of Washington Health Sciences Library for the past six months. This is a new position created to support the organization as it moves through this current transformation in healthcare. Our mission is to advance scholarship, research, education and health care by anticipating information needs, providing essential resources, and facilitating learning for the greater health sciences community.

2. Is there a time when you made a difference or someone was grateful for your help you’d like to tell us about? There have been quite a few ‘making a difference’ moments for me mainly because I think every interaction is a chance to share knowledge and information that will help that person solve a problem, clarify a direction, or possibly even save a life. Patrons are always grateful for the assistance, many of whom exclaim “I’m so happy you’re here!”

3. What was your path to becoming a medical librarian? I’ve always been a fan of medicine, so going into health sciences librarianship was a natural fit (plus I didn’t have to go to med school.) I got my MLS from the University of Pittsburgh, and have worked there as well as in other academic and clinical settings. Additionally, I was fortunate enough to be one of the first librarians to participate in a medical informatics fellowship at Oregon Health and Sciences University. After about ten years in the profession, Read more »

2015 Medical Librarians Month Profile – Meg Brunner

meg_brunner Meg Brunner, our next NN/LM PNR Network member librarian profile, is the Web Information Specialist at the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.

1. What is your library’s mission and who do your serve? The University of Washington’s Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute Library ( primarily serves UW faculty, staff, and students, as well as other college-level students and substance abuse professionals in the region. Our library collection covers the spectrum of research and scientific literature on alcohol and other drug use from all relevant disciplines, including medicine, nursing, social work, criminal justice, sociology, and psychology. Our mission is to support and facilitate science-based research and research dissemination in the field of alcohol and drug abuse.

2. Is there a time when you made a difference or someone was grateful for your help you’d like to tell us about? I have so many stories like that, after over 15 years of working here! But I’ll tell you one from my early years at ADAI, because I’ve never forgotten it and it was one of the things that made me know for sure I was in the right job early on. A man in his early 30s had come into the library and I was helping him collect some information for a paper he was writing for school, where he was studying to become a chemical dependency counselor. As we worked together, he confided in me that he was 6 years sober and had served 3 of those years in prison, after being arrested on drug charges in his 20s. He told me that while he was in a prison, a counselor there had saved his life and he wanted to give back. As we were working together, pulling articles and books from the shelves, I also suggested a few websites to him, and he kind of gave me a blank look. I took him over to our computer, and quickly realized he had never used one before. He didn’t know how to use a mouse, he didn’t know what the web was. So, we sat down for about an hour, and I taught him how to open a browser, do an Internet search, save and print, all those little things we take for granted. He was so excited, and it was just the greatest feeling, getting to see someone’s first introduction to the Internet like that. He was amazed! His mind was blown! I had forgotten what that felt like, that wonder, and it was inspiring to experience it again.

About three or so years later, I got an email from him that I still have tucked in a folder somewhere, in which he thanked me for how helpful I had been, how much time I had spent with him, and told me he’d been a practicing chemical dependency provider since graduation and was loving the work, inspired every day to stay sober and help others. He was also thinking about taking a class about HTML so he could help with his organization’s website! Pretty awesome! Read more »