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Telling Good Stories about Good Programs

Sometimes program successes are a well-kept secret, buried deeply in final reports under pages of statistics, tables, and descriptive details. There is a way to shine a stronger light on positive program impacts: program success stories. These are short (1-2 page) narratives designed to educate policy makers, attract partners, and share effective practices among colleagues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deserves credit in leading a program success story movement within the public health sector. Many resources for developing program success stories are available from the CDC’s website. And a quick Google search will turn up many success story web pages from public health departments, such as the following three examples:

If you want to create success stories for your program or organization, you need to start with a plan, and establish a routine to collect information in a timely manner. To get started, check out the CDC Division of Oral Health’s Tips for Writing an Effective Success Story. For more details, the CDC offers the workbook Impact and Value: Telling Your Program’s Story. The CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health also has a how-to guide for writing success stories: How to Develop a Success Story. And lastly, you might find Success Story Data Collection Tool to be helpful for organizing and writing your program story. A data collection sheet could be particularly useful if multiple team members are involved in collecting success story data. The data collection tool is available in PDF or Word formats.

NLM Toxicology and Environmental Health Resource Update: ChemIDplus Interfaces

The National Library of Medicine’s ChemIDplus Lite and ChemIDplus Advanced interfaces have been enhanced with the following features:

  • Valid chemical names and CAS RN completions are displayed as the user types in the search box. If no data are found, suggestions are provided.
  • The ChemIDplus Registry Number field now includes the FDA UNII code.
  • The InChIKey is now directly searchable. It can be used for the interchange of structural data and as input for search engines such as Google.
  • The ChemIDplus Formula field now accepts molecular formulas with spaces between elements and their counts and without the hyphens previously required.

Examples of these new features may be viewed at the ChemIDplus Help pages. ChemIDplus is a free, web search system that provides access to the structure and nomenclature authority files used for the identification of chemical substances cited in National Library of Medicine (NLM) databases, including the TOXNET® system. ChemIDplus also has structure searching and direct links to resources at NLM, federal agencies, U.S states, and scientific sites. The database contains more than 400,000 chemical records, of which over 300,000 include chemical structures.

HHS launches GIS-based tool for health disaster readiness

HHS emPOWER MapThe HHS emPOWER Map, an interactive online tool, launched today to aid community health agencies and emergency management officials in disaster preparedness as they plan ahead to meet the emergency needs of community residents who rely on electrically powered medical and assistive equipment to live independently at home. The new tool is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in its ongoing efforts to support community resilience and build national health security.

The HHS emPOWER Map shows the monthly total number of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries’ claims for electricity-dependent equipment at the national, state, territory, county, and zip code levels. The tool incorporates these data with real-time severe weather tracking services from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a Geographic Information System (GIS). The integrated data accessible through the HHS emPOWER Map can help community organizations, including hospitals, first responders, and electric utility officials, work with health officials to prevent health impacts of prolonged power outages due to storms and other disasters on vulnerable residents.

HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador Pilot Program to Begin in August 2015

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) have announced a joint Health Information Ambassador pilot program to begin in Utah at the start of the fall 2015 academic year. The program encourages high school students (within HOSA chapters) to be familiar with, and teach peers how to use, MedlinePlus and evidence-based health information resources on the Internet. The pilot encourages the development of Health Information Ambassadors among high school students within HOSA chapters. Health Information Ambassadors are identified through a knowledge and Internet capability screening test that was developed at NLM. High school students who receive a high score on the screening test receive a certificate designating them as HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassadors.

Moreover, certified HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassadors are then encouraged to give talks (or develop media) to encourage peer use of MedlinePlus, NLM’s consumer health website for patients and their families, and evidence-based health information resources. Persons who receive high audience evaluations for their presentations (by peers) can receive an additional HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador Certificate of Merit. Additionally, HOSA chapters can receive a program participation certificate if two or more students receive HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador Certificates of Merit.

The coordinators of the pilot program include:

  • For HOSA – Denise Abbott, state advisor to HOSA in Utah, will coordinate the pilot program among HOSA chapters.
  • For the National Network of Libraries of Medicine – MidContinental Regional Library, Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah.
  • For the National Library of Medicine – Robert A. Logan Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

If the Utah pilot is successful, the model will be taken to other states where HOSA is active.

New Image Search Tool Developed by Stanford University’s Lane Medical Library

A common problem encountered by course designers is finding the ideal image for a lecture or presentation that is not subject to copyright restrictions. But now Stanford University’s Lane Medical Library has announced the development of a new tool, Bio-Image Search, that may make the process easier. This resource provides results of images and diagrams exclusively from medical and scientific organizations, grouped by the degree of restriction to their republication. Anyone with Internet access may use Bio-Image Search. It has access to more than 2 million images and counting!

Congratulations to the 2015 AAHSL Leadership Scholarship awardees!

The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) Leadership Scholarships support career development opportunities for persons interested in leadership roles at all levels in academic health sciences libraries. Scholarship awards, in amounts up to $2500, may be used for participation in established educational programs or for individually designed learning opportunities. Applications are accepted and awards are made annually. Following are the four recipients of scholarships awarded in June 2015, two of whom are current NN/LM PSR Network members and one who is a former PSR Network member:

  • Frances Chu, University of Washington Health Sciences Library, to attend the 2015 Women’s Negotiation Academy.
  • Jonathan Koffel, University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library, to attend the 2015 Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians.
  • Anneliese Taylor, University of California San Francisco Library and Center for Knowledge Management, to attend the 2015 Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians.
  • Annie Thompson, University of Southern California Wilson Dental Library and Learning Center, to attend the 2015 Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians.

Kudos to all the recipients, who were selected as part of a competitive process from the largest number of applicants in a decade!

Climate Change and the Health of Americans: Information Resources from NLM

The July 2015 issue of The Nation’s Health features a cover story on the link between climate change and health, new U.S. government initiatives aimed at protecting communities from the health impacts of climate change, and the effort to reframe climate change as an urgent public health issue. These initiatives are meant to help Americans understand climate change as not just an environmental issue, but also an important health issue.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides many sources of information to assist health professionals with the knowledge and resources they need to assess who is most vulnerable to the health effects of climate change, and teach patients how to minimize the impacts. The Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) Arctic Health website is a central source for information on diverse aspects of the Arctic environment and the health of northern peoples. The site gives access to evaluated health information from hundreds of local, state, national, and international agencies, as well as from professional societies and universities. For example, the Arctic Health Climate Change page provides links to websites, publications, and multimedia presentations covering the impacts of climate change on the health, activities, and well-being of people in the Arctic. It includes climate-change observations from both the scientific-research and the traditional-knowledge points of view.

The SIS Environmental Health and Toxicology website features Enviro-Health Links – Climate Change and Human Health. This page provides a wealth of environmental health-related web resources from the U.S. government and other trusted sources focused on climate change and health. Resources include links to information about specific impacts on agriculture, extreme weather, general health, infectious disease, population displacement, preparedness and security, and water quality and scarcity. In addition to topic-related searches of NLM resources, the page offers overview materials, glossaries, information on law, policy, and regulation, links to blogs, news, podcasts and video, and educational material such as the NLM’s Environmental Health Student Portal.

Directory of History of Medicine Collections

One of the National Library of Medicine’s most versatile online historical resources is an interactive tool for locating history of medicine collections worldwide: the Directory of History of Medicine Collections. The Directory connects scholars with literature, artifacts, and unique collections in medical history and allows travelers and explorers to discover medical libraries, archives, and museums nearby and around the world. The first edition of the Directory was established in 1990 with 32 initial entries. Each year thereafter, the number of collections continued to grow, and today it contains more than 200 and growing. In 2001, the printed Directory was adapted for the Web, bringing direct access to this resource to the world. The types of collections listed in the Directory range from single subject specialties to those with a general history of medicine coverage.

The Directory underwent a major transformation in 2010 with the development of a fully keyword searchable database. And recently, an interactive map has been added, which links users to collections geographically. Now you can locate collections on the map by selecting the continent from the pull-down menu. You can also drag the map to see what collections are represented internationally. On June 9 a one-hour webinar presentation with the features of the Directory was hosted by the NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region. The session will be publicly archived for future viewing.

Call for Applications: 2015-2016 NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program

The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) has announced the 2015-2016 year of the leadership program jointly sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and AAHSL. The NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program, which focuses on preparing emerging leaders for the position of library director in academic health sciences libraries, is accepting applications through July 20, 2015. Fellows will have the opportunity to experience another library environment and to work closely with a mentor and collaboratively with other fellows and mentors. The multi-faceted program takes advantage of flexible scheduling and an online learning community. Candidates with a strong interest in pursuing a directorship in academic health sciences libraries and with leadership experience in academic health sciences libraries, hospital libraries, or other library-related settings are encouraged to apply.

Sixty-seven fellows and fifty-seven different mentors have participated in the program since its beginning. To date, twenty-seven of sixty-one graduate fellows have received director appointments. Overall, 75% of fellow graduates have been promoted to director or other positions of higher responsibility. The program brochure, which includes information on program design, schedule, and application process, is now available. More information about the program is available from Carol Jenkins, Program Director, AAHSL Future Leadership Committee.

NLM Partners with ALA to Travel “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness” Exhibit

The National Library of Medicine has announced a partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) through which ALA’s Public Programs Office will manage a national tour of a traveling adaptation of Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness to America’s libraries and other Native-serving cultural institutions beginning in 2016. Four copies of the traveling exhibition will tour nationally for four years to dozens of sites around the country. The current tour of Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness to pilot sites and Regional Medical Libraries around the country will conclude in December 2015, making way for the ALA-managed national tour in 2016. As a project partner, the ALA Public Programs Office will create a project website for librarians, recruit applications from sites nationwide, manage the peer-reviewed application process, select venues for the exhibition tour in consultation with NLM, plan online training sessions for participating libraries, coordinate exhibition shipping, and manage the four-year tour to host venues. The ALA website will complement current NLM online resources. Additional information about NLM’s partnership with ALA, including details of the site-selection process, will be available later this year.

The exhibition explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness, and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Visitors discover how Native concepts of health and illness are closely tied to the concepts of community, spirit, and the land. Stories examine both past and present, and show how the determinants of health for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are tied to community, the land, and spirit. Speaking in their own voices, Native People tell how individual and community wellness were affected during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Individual stories show how epidemics, federal legislation, the loss of land, and the inhibition of culture affect the health of Native individuals and communities today. The exhibition also presents a contemporary story about renaissance, recovery, and self-determination, and how the Native Peoples of the United States use traditional and Western methods to enhance wellness. The online version of the Native Voices exhibition includes interviews, lesson plans, a timeline of Native Peoples’ health that chronicles the survival and resurgence of traditional ways to promote well-being, and career-planning and educational resources.