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Getting Back to Normal: A Virtual Tabletop Exercise in Disaster Preparation (March 17)

On March 17 at 10:00am -11:30am PST, the NN/LM PNR will host a virtual tabletop exercise that will feature a scenario based on a major disaster. The disaster will impact the entire Northwest, disrupting the normal state of being in your community. Which disaster will strike? Attend the virtual tabletop exercise to find out! Read more »

March is Women’s History Month

ChangingfaceThe month of March is a time to reflect upon the struggles and milestones of women in our world and to appreciate the hard work and perseverance that have allowed many of us to lead better lives and to play a more prominent role in our society.  However, the struggle is not over despite the many gains.  It is easy to forget and take for granted the rights and privileges our foremothers worked so hard to gain.

Just think about how medical research and clinical care would be if it was all done by men only!  What state would women’s health be in!? And not just women’s health.  Many of the contributions women have made have helped everyone!  Take a moment to appreciate some of the women who helped advance medicine.

In 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell received her M.D. degree becoming the first female physician in America. After graduating top of her class she went on to work in clinics in London and Paris and studied midwifery at La Maternité.  Unfortunately, she had to give up her dream of becoming a surgeon when she lost the sight in one eye.  She returned to New York City in 1851 where she hoped to establish a practice. However, she faced many obstacles due to her sex until her sister, Dr. Emily Blackwell, joined her in 1856, and with Dr. Marie Zakrzewska they opened the New York Infirmary for Indignent Women and Children in 1857. Then in 1868 Blackwell and her colleagues opened the Woman’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary, a medical college for women to provide the training and experience they could not get in already established medical schools.

Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first African American woman to receive her medical degree in 1864.  Unfortunately, little is known about Crumpler other than her published book, Book of Medical Discourses published in 1883.  In this account, Crumpler provides a window into her career journey.  Crumpler moved from Boston to Richmond, VA after the Civil War and viewed her time there as a great opportunity to do “…a proper field for real missionary work, and one that would present ample opportunities to become acquainted with the diseases of women and children.” Crumpler worked alongside other African-American physicians caring for the many thousands of freed slaves who would not otherwise have had access to care.  It is an amazing tribute that Crumpler was able to become a practicing physician and publish despite the racial and gender barriers of her time.

The first Native American woman to become a doctor was Susan La Flesche Picotte. Le Flesche received her medical degree in 1889 from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, graduating at the top of her class. Le Flesche continually had to bridge both the the white world and the world of her people.  Despite the barriers faced by Native American women, Le Flesche worked tirelessly to improve the health conditions of her people, the Omaha nation in Nebraska.  She stressed the importance of cleanliness and ventilation, specifically the benefits of fresh air, disposal of trash and killing flies and other preventative measures.  When her spouse died, after years of suffering from alcoholism, she became part of the temperance movement and actively worked to rid reservations of alcohol. She left quite a legacy in her work to improve the health and lives of Native Americans. Read more »

Data, Clinical Outcomes, and Librarians – What’s the Connection?

binaryheadtrimmed2What is the connection between data, clinical outcomes and the librarian?  Come and explore this connection with three of the nation’s leaders on big data and patient outcomes at the Using Data to Improve Clinical Patient Outcomes Forum on March 7, 2016.  Librarian participants will have the opportunity to explore how they can contribute to the use of clinical data mined from the electronic health record as evidence for patient care and to consider what skills they can develop to support health care organizations in the use of data. The Forum will be held in person in Seattle or Salt Lake City as well as in a live broadcast.  Registration is required.  

For more information see the website.  Professional development funding is available for PNR members.*
*Please register by Feb. 29th is you are seeking Professional Development funds.
Join us on Twitter at #NNLMdataforum

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 21-27)

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  Why focus the focus on eating disorders? According to the National Association of Anorexia and Related Disorders (ANAD),  over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.  ANAD also reports that eating disorders are the number one fatal mental health disorder. Mortality rates can vary and part of the reason why is that the causes of reported deaths are often listed for complications (organ failure, malnutrition, suicide, heart failure) resulting from rather than the actual eating disorder itself.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “An eating disorder is an illness that causes serious disturbances to your everyday diet, such as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating.”

The three types of eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia nervosa: People with anorexia see themselves as overweight and are afraid to gain weight despite the fact that they are clearly underweight. Anorexia is more than just about food. It is a way to feel in control.  People will weigh themselves constantly, will weigh and measure and calculate the calories of the food they do ingest. For some, with anorexia, binge-eating may occur, they may become obsessed with excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, use diuretics, laxatives or enemas. Some with anorexia say that this control with food and weight is a way to gain more control in their lives and to ease the stress and anxieties they experience. The medical consequences of anorexia vary including in seriousness but it affects the heart, other organs, the bones, and a myriad other physical conditions.
  • Bulimia nervosa: People with bulimia have recurring episodes of overeating very large amounts of food followed by one or more of these methods to compensate for the over-eating: self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives, excessive exercise, fasting. Unlike those with anorexia, those suffering bulimia often have a normal healthy weight. They are often very unhappy with their bodies and fear gaining weight. They tend to binge and purge secretively (because they are disgusted with themselves and are ashamed) from several times a week to several times a day. A host of medical problems caused by bulimia include hair loss, dental problems, gastrointestinal conditions, and problems affecting the heart.
  • Binge Eating Disorder: Those with binge eating disorder eat huge amounts of food during which they feel they have no control.  Unlike those with anorexia or bulimia, people with binge eating disorder do not self-induce vomit, exercise excessively, eat only certain foods or small amounts. Therefore, those with binge eating disorder tend to be over-weight or even obese.  Often those with this disorder feel guilt and shame about their binge eating which leads them to continue the cycle. Many miss work, school or social events to binge eat. Those with binge eating disorders often report having more health problems, depression, stress, trouble sleeping, and suicidal thoughts than those without this disorder. It can increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other medical complications.

Read more »

Join National Leaders in Clinical Data Forum

binaryheadtrimmed2If you would like to learn from three of the nation’s leaders about the use of EHR-based data  to improve patient safety, quality of care, and evidence-based practice, plan to attend the in-person or live broadcast of the Using Data to Improve Clinical Patient Outcomes Forum on March 7, 2016, from 8:30-2:30 (PST).

Join us on Twitter at #NNLMdataforum. Registration is required. More information at the website

IOM workshop – Health Literacy and Precision Medicine: An Important Partnership

Date: March 2, 2016

Time: 5:30 am-2:00 pm Pacific Time , 4:30 am-1:00 pm Alaska, 6:30 am- 3:00 pm Mountain

Attend in-person: The meeting will be in Room 100 of the Keck Center of the National Academies located at 500 5th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

Attend online: When registering select “Via Webcast”

On March 2, 2016 the Roundtable on Health Literacy of the Institute of Medicine will conduct a workshop on Health Literacy and Precision Medicine: An Important Partnership. The workshop will feature invited presentations and discussions of the issues that surround the role of health literacy in the growing field of precision medicine. The recently announced Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) by President Obama plans to recruit a research cohort of more than a million participants to contribute genomic and health data to advance the field. Health literacy plays a significant role in the future of precision medicine. Research participants must be able to grant informed consent and researchers must be able to recruit, engage, and retain a truly representative cohort. In addition the results of the research must be reported in a clear and easily understood manner and patients must fully understand their treatment options. The workshop will cover the areas where precision medicine and health literacy intersect and communication in the research and clinical settings, as well as with the public. – Register at: