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Archive for July, 2013

NLM Announces Release of Pill Images!

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced the release of about 1,800 new high quality images of solid oral dosage medications. Images were taken at high resolution, but are also available in smaller sizes if desired for certain applications. Researchers and product developers may obtain the images and accompanying metadata via an applications programming interface (API). NLM also makes the images available for interactive Web searching via its Pillbox and RxNav sites.

Of the roughly 1,800 pills photographed to date, approximately 400 were provided by manufacturers. The others were purchased through a licensed Maryland pharmacy. NLM estimates that the images cover about 15% of the more than 10,000 solid dosage forms of the 4,075 human prescription medications on the US market, and a higher percentage of frequently prescribed medications. The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) provided technical advice, funding, and in-kind support for the development of the photography standards for these pills, the establishment of an imaging facility, and the performance of some image capture.

HHS Awards $12 Million to Help Teaching Health Centers Train Primary Care Providers

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has just announced $12 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support primary care residency programs in 32 Teaching Health Centers across the nation. Funding will help train more than 300 residents during the 2013-2014 academic year, doubling the number of residents trained in the previous academic year. Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Payment Program, created by the Affordable Care Act, expands residency training in community-based settings. Residents will be trained in family and internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and general and pediatric dentistry.

The current awards expand the number of states with Teaching Health Centers to 21, from 14 in 2012. Teaching Health Centers are located in a variety of settings, including urban, rural, and Tribal communities, and serve populations such as veterans and their families, minority communities, older adults, children and adolescents. Four of the FY 2014 awards are based in the Pacific Southwest Region:

  • Fresno Healthy Community Access Partners, Fresno, CA
  • Shasta Community Health Center, Redding, CA
  • Social Action Community Health System, San Bernardino, CA
  • Valley Consortium for Medical Education, Modesto, CA

A complete list of awards is available.

Funding Announcement: NLM Administrative Supplements for Informationist Services in NIH-funded Research Projects!

The NLM Administrative Supplements for Informationist Services in NIH-funded Research Projects (Admin Supp), PA-13-276, was recently announced in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. These administrative supplements provide funds to supported research and center grants in order to enhance the storage, organization, management, and use of electronic research data through the involvement of informationists, also known as in-context information specialists. The purposes of this administrative supplement program are (1) to enhance collaborative, multi-disciplinary, basic and clinical research by integrating an information specialist into the research team in order to improve the capture, storage, organization, management, integration, presentation, and dissemination of biomedical research data; and (2) to assess and document the value and impact of the informationist’s participation.

Applications must be submitted electronically by November 5, 2013. Approximately five administrative supplement awards are anticipated in FY 2014. Total direct costs requested for the supplement may not exceed $25,000 per year. The costs requested may not exceed $50,000 in direct costs over a two-year period and must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The earliest funding start date is February, 2014.

Health Centers to Help Uninsured Americans Obtain Affordable Health Coverage

Earlier this month, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $150 million in grant awards to 1,159 health centers across the nation, to enroll uninsured Americans in new health coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With these funds, health centers are expected to hire an additional 2,900 outreach and eligibility assistance workers to assist millions of people nationwide with enrollment into affordable health coverage. Health centers have a long history of providing eligibility assistance to patients, along with delivering high-quality, primary health care services in communities across the nation. Today, health centers serve more than 21 million patients annually.

Awards have been made to health centers in all 50 states, to help consumers understand their coverage options through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program; determine their eligibility and what financial help they can get; and enroll in new affordable health coverage options. These awards, issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), complement and align with other federal efforts, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-funded Navigator program. A list of health centers receiving this funding is available on the HRSA web site.

Grande Dame of Indexing at the National Library of Medicine, Thelma Charen, Dies at 96

Thelma Golden Charen, former indexer, trainer in the Index Section, and senior technical advisor in the MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) Section of the National Library of Medicine, died July 14, 2013, in Bethesda, MD, one day shy of her 97th birthday. Mrs. Charen first joined the Army Medical Library (precursor of the Armed Forces Medical Library and ultimately, the National Library of Medicine) in 1944 as a pre-cataloger in the Acquisitions Section. She had degrees in Greek and Latin; her natural facility with these languages led to her mastery of medical terminology and to positions as Indexer, training specialist for indexers and searchers, manual developer, and vocabulary specialist. She retired in 1997, ending a renowned 53-year career at NLM.

Mrs. Charen was notably awarded the Marcia C. Noyes Award, highest professional distinction offered by the Medical Library Association in 1985, as an acknowledgement of a career that resulted in lasting, outstanding contributions to health sciences librarianship. At the awards ceremony, Lois Ann Colaianni, then NLM Associate Director for Library Operations, commented, “Her wit and spontaneity in the classroom are as legendary as her logic. She has trained an entire generation of medical indexers working at NLM and around the world. It is not an exaggeration to say that the success of Index Medicus and the MEDLARS system is in great measure the result of Mrs. Charen’s high standards for the quality indexing of the biomedical literature.” At the same ceremony, current NLM Deputy Director Betsy Humphreys recalls that when Mrs. Colaianni asked all those present who had been taught online searching by Mrs. Charen to raise their hands, the vast majority of those in the room did so, including all members of the MLA Board. Mrs. Charen also received two awards given to staff: the NLM Director’s Award in 1983 and the Regents’ Award for Scholarship or Technical Achievement in 1972 “for conceiving, developing and implementing the MEDLARS indexing manual and training program.” In addition to her considerable professional skills, she was known for a seemingly endless supply of dramatic eyeglass frames!

Amongst her other achievements, Mrs. Charen also:

  • Authored or co-authored numerous publications on indexing, training for indexers, and manuals used by librarians all over the world, including Structure and Use of Medical Subject Headings: Annotations and Medical Subject Headings; Tree Annotations. Mrs. Charen wrote every MeSH annotation for indexers and online searchers for over 20 years; and
  • Served on the three-person task force, along with James L. Wood of the Chemical Abstracts Service, and Harold Oatfield of Pfizer Medical Research Laboratories to revise the ANSI Z39.5 standard for journal title abbreviations, resulting in the 1969 publication of the American National Standard for the Abbreviation of Titles of Periodicals.

It is a mark of Mrs. Charen’s great love of NLM and its staff that during her lifetime she and her husband, Sol Charen, anonymously endowed NLM’s Frank Bradway Rogers Award. The award, given annually, is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the Library’s fundamental operational programs and services. Mrs. Charen’s career covered the time from when the Library began indexing articles for the print publication, Index Medicus, and through development of accessibility of journal citations in the online database MEDLINE/PubMed. Today, over 750,000 citations are indexed annually for MEDLINE/PubMed from over 5,600 biomedical journals. MEDLINE contains over 20,000,000 citations to the biomedical literature. Where indexing the literature was once a process entirely handled manually, today 93% of citations are submitted electronically in XML format by publishers, enabling NLM to concentrate on quality control and indexing rather than original creation of the bibliographic citation, and 74% of MEDLINE journals are indexed from the online version, which accounts for 88% of all new citations being processed. The Index Section now also uses in production the Medical Text Indexer (MTI), a software indexing assistant tool that is optimized to suggest precise MeSH headings from analyzing the article title and abstract for the indexer to consider.

DOCLINE Quarterly and Yearly Statistical Reports Now Available!

NLM has released the following DOCLINE quarterly statistical reports for April-June 2013:

  • Summary DOCLINE Borrower Statistics (Reports 1-1A, 1-11A, 1-1AT)
  • Summary DOCLINE Lender Statistics (Report 1-1B)
  • Detailed DOCLINE Borrower Statistics (Reports 1-2A, 1-22A)
  • Detailed DOCLINE Lender Statistics (Report 1-2B)
  • Resource Library Quarterly Report – Fill Rate (Report 2-14)
  • Loansome Doc Detailed Lender Statistics (Report 5-1A)
  • Loansome Doc Throughput Report (Report 5-1B)

NLM has also released the following DOCLINE yearly statistical reports for July 2012-June 2013:

  • Ranked List of Serial Titles – Borrower (Report 1-8A)
  • Ranked List of Serial Titles – Lender (Report 1-8C)

The quarterly reports feature changes to several of the report labels in an effort to clarify the meaning and improve calculations of the statistics reported. For the lender reports, items removed from the lender for non-action are now counted in the “Not Filled” totals and fill rate percentages for more accurate reporting of lender activity. The “Days to Process” (turnaround time) calculation of how long the lender took to fill or not fill requests on average is now reported in one-hundredths of a day based upon calendar days. The Request Reports section of the DOCLINE Online Help Manual has been updated to reflect the changes.

Please note: Reports 1-11A, 1-1AT, and 1-22A are only distributed to libraries that have entered requests in DOCLINE for other libraries. Report 2-14 is only distributed to resource libraries.

DOCLINE statistical reports are available by going to Requests, then Reports in the DOCLINE menu. Instructions for downloading and printing reports may be found in the “Request Reports” section of the online manual (click the Help link at the top of the DOCLINE screen) or in the Reports section of DOCLINE’s FAQ page.

NLM to Participate with Partners in “An Epidemiology of Information: New Methods for Interpreting Disease and Data”

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced its next initiative as part of its ongoing partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Working with NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), the NLM will be a part of An Epidemiology of Information: New Methods for Interpreting Disease and Data, an interdisciplinary symposium exploring new methods for large-scale data analysis of epidemic disease.

Scheduled to take place at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, VA, on October 17, 2013, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, “An Epidemiology of Information” will be a unique public forum through which policy makers, public health experts, and scholars can address pressing questions about how new methods of analyzing large-scale datasets can inform research and policy approaches to epidemic disease. Panelists will consider what these new methods suggest for contemporary infodemiology and epidemic intelligence, as well as the implications of data mining as a disease surveillance mechanism, and how new forms of reporting and public health surveillance affect public health policy. The symposium will also explore how these new methods can inform research on the 1918 influenza pandemic, and help to answer lingering questions about the spread of the disease, its pathogenicity, the unusual mortality rates, or the effectiveness of public health responses.

Featured speakers will include Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger, Chief, Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Dr. David Morens, Senior Advisor to the Director, NIAID, whose research in data analysis and historical epidemiology has influenced the approaches being adopted and adapted by digital humanities scholars working in the history of medicine. “An Epidemiology of Information” is made possible in part from support received by Virginia Tech through the international Digging into Data Challenge competition sponsored by NEH. Funding for Virginia Tech’s Canadian partner, the Center for E-Health Initiatives of the University of Toronto, comes from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

July 2013 NIH News in Health Now Available

Illustration of an older woman sitting in front of an air conditioner with the shades pulled down and a glass of ice water nearby.Check out the July issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this edition:

Healthy Movements: Your Body’s Mechanics
Your body is an amazingly flexible machine, with bones, muscles and joints working together to help you move. Like any machine, your body needs regular care and maintenance to work properly.

Stay Cool: Getting Too Hot Can Be Dangerous
Heat-related illness is preventable. Still, hundreds of deaths from extreme heat occur in the United States each year. You can take steps to beat the heat.

Health Capsules:

NIH News in Health is available online in both HTML and PDF formats. Print copies are available free of charge for offices, clinics, community centers and libraries within the U.S.

Circulating Now, A New Blog from the NLM’s History of Medicine Division

Circulating Now homepageThe History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine has launched a new blog, Circulating Now, which is intended to encourage greater exploration and discovery of one of the world’s largest and most treasured history of medicine collections.

Circulating Now will bring the NLM’s diverse historical collections to life in new and exciting ways for researchers, educators, students, and anyone else who is interested in the history of medicine. Whether you are familiar with NLM’s historical collections, or you are discovering them for the first time, Circulating Now will be an exciting and engaging resource to bookmark, share, and discuss with other readers.

Kicking off Circulating Now will be a series of posts that draws on the NLM’s historical collections and associated others to reenact in a unique way a tumultuous event in medical and American history which occurred 132 years ago this summer: the assassination of, and attempts to save, our nation’s twentieth President, James A. Garfield.