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Archive for the ‘Non-NLM Resources’ Category

Improve Your Data Storytelling in 30 Days!

Juice Analytics has developed a practical guide to explore how data visualization and storytelling techniques can mix, 30 Days to Data Storytelling. The guide provides a checklist of daily activities lasting no longer than 30 minutes per day. Activities include articles to read, videos to watch, or small projects to complete. The guide links to data visualization and storytelling resources from sources as varied as Pixar, the Harvard Business Review, Ira Glass, the New York Times, and Bono, the lead singer of U2. Use the techniques in this guide to tell a story to report your evaluation data so it gets the attention it deserves!

Data Management Training Opportunities

Data management activities present opportunities for librarians to adopt new roles and support the research process in their institutions. There is a variety of educational resources available to librarians wishing to get started in this field and learn more about data management and related functions. One example is MANTRA: Research Data Management Training, an online course sponsored by the University of Edinburgh, which is freely available to anyone to explore. It consists of nine online units, such as “Organising Data,” Storage & Security,” and “Sharing, Preservation, & Licensing.” Each unit takes up to one hour to complete, plus time for further reading and data handling exercises. The current course content represents the fourth release of MANTRA in September, 2014. Data Management for Clinical Research is a five-week free online course offered by Coursera. It utilizes best-practice guidelines, along with hands-on demonstrations and exercises, to cover important concepts related to research data collection and management, with a primary focus on data management for patient-centered research. The Medical Library Association also offers continuing education opportunities related to data management.

In addition to these courses, a Mendeley group, Data Management for Librarians, is an active community created for librarians of all disciplines to share literature and resources about data management and related areas. Members are also encouraged to share their experiences working with data in their institutions. Another introductory resource is the article “Research Data Management,” by Alisa Surkis, PhD, MLS; and Kevin Read, MLIS, MAS; both of NYU Health Sciences Library, published in the July 2015 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association.

Resource for Writing Mission Statements

Mission statements are important. Organizations use them to declare to the world how their work matters. For employees, they guide efforts toward supporting organizational priorities. And mission statements are important to evaluators, because evaluation methods are ultimately designed to assess an organization’s value. Having those values explicitly stated is very helpful. The Nonprofit Hub’s document A Step-By-Step Exercise for Creating a Mission Statement is a tool that succintly lays out an effective 1-2 hour process to engage multiple stakeholders in the development of a mission statement, starting with a foundation of shared stories about the organization’s best work. In the end, everyone understands and endorses the mission statement because they helped develop it.

This exercise has potential that reaches beyond development of mission statements. It would be a great exercise for advisory groups to contribute their ideas about future activities, based on the organization’s past successes. The stories generated are data that can be analyzed for organizational impact. The group qualitative analysis process, alone, could be adapted to other situations. For example, a small project team could use the process to analyze stories from interviews, focus groups, or even written comments to open-ended survey questions.

HHS Unveils First Compendium of Resources for Health Emergencies

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the first online collection of the federal resources and capabilities available to mitigate the health impacts of emergencies. The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) sponsored the HHS Response and Recovery Resources Compendium to aid state, tribal, territorial, and local officials in health and emergency management as they guide communities in responding to and recovering from disasters.

The compendium offers an easy-to-navigate, comprehensive, web-based repository of HHS products, services and capabilities available to state, state, tribal, territorial, and local agencies before, during, and after public health and medical incidents. The information spans 24 categories, and each category showcases the relevant disaster resources available from HHS and partner agencies, a brief description of each resource and information on accessing each one. Categories range from patient movement to hospital care and from situational awareness to decontamination. Resources include platforms such as GeoHEALTH and the HHS emPOWER Map that use Geographic Information System capabilities to support health response as well as consultation services, such as emergency planning, disease surveillance and tracking, and food, drug and device safety. Resources also include personnel, such as medical staff from the U.S. Public Health Service and National Disaster Medical System who can deploy to communities to augment local hospital, shelter or public health staff. The compendium will be updated regularly and expanded as federal agencies add products, capabilities and services to help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from the health impacts of disasters.

NIH Body Weight Planner Added to USDA SuperTracker Food and Activity Tool

Body Weight Planner screen shotThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institutes of Health have partnered to add the NIH Body Weight Planner to USDA’s SuperTracker online tool as a goal-setting resource to help people achieve and stay at a healthy weight. Created in 2011, the SuperTracker tool empowers people to build a healthier diet, manage weight, and reduce risk of chronic disease. Users can determine what and how much to eat; track foods, physical activities, and weight; and personalize with goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling. With science-based technology drawing on years of research, the Body Weight Planner will enable SuperTracker’s more than 5.5 million registered users to tailor their plans to reach a goal weight during a specific timeframe, and maintain that weight afterward.

The math model behind the Body Weight Planner, an online tool published by NIH in 2011, was created to accurately forecast how body weight changes when people alter their diet and exercise habits. This capability was validated using data from multiple controlled studies in people. More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent complications related to overweight and obesity such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.

ALA’s Reference & User Services Association Approves New Health and Medical Reference Guidelines!

The latest version of Health and Medical Reference Guidelines, developed by the Reference Services Section’s (RSS) Health & Medical Reference Committee of ALA’s Reference & User Services Association (RUSA), was approved by the RUSA Board at the ALA annual conference in June, 2015. These guidelines are for all information services staff, regardless of questions or library type. Health and Medical Reference refers to questions that pertain to any aspect of health, medicine, or biomedicine, including but not limited to consumer health, patient health, public health, environmental health, complementary and alternative medicine, biomedical research, and clinical medicine.

The purpose of these guidelines is to assist staff in responding to health or medical inquiries. For staff who rarely answer medical questions, the Guidelines are intended to assist staff to be prepared and feel confident that they are providing the best possible response. For staff who regularly answer medical questions, the Guidelines are intended to ensure that reference skills are well-rounded.

Designing Questionnaires for the Mobile Age

How does your web survey look on a handheld device? The Pew Research Center reported that 27% of respondents to one of its recent surveys answered using a smartphone, and another 8% used a tablet. That means over one-third of participants used handheld devices to answer the questionnaire. The lesson learned is unless you are absolutely sure your respondents will be using a computer, you need to design surveys with mobile devices in mind. As a public opinion polling organization, the Pew Center knows effective practices in survey research. It offers advice on developing questionnaires for handhelds in its article Tips for Creating Web Surveys for Completion on a Mobile Device. The top suggestion is to be sure your survey software is optimized for smartphones and tablets. SurveyMonkey fits this criterion, as do many other popular Web survey applications.

Software alone will not automatically create surveys that are usable on handheld devices. It is also important to follow effective design principles, such as keeping it simple and using short question formats. Avoid matrix-style questions. Keep the length of your survey short. And don’t get fancy with questionnaires which include logos and icons, which take longer to load on smart devices. It is also advisable to pilot test questionnaires on computers, smartphones, and tablets, to be sure to offer a smooth user experience to all of your respondents.

Medicare Facebook Page Launched!

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Medicare and Medicaid, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just launched the official Medicare Facebook page, which will serve as an informational resource for those who will soon enroll in Medicare and people currently on Medicare. The Medicare and Medicaid programs were signed into law on July 30, 1965, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. For 50 years, these programs have been protecting the health and well-being of millions of American families, saving lives, and improving the economic security of our nation. Though Medicare and Medicaid started as basic insurance programs for Americans who didn’t have health insurance, they have changed over the years to provide more and more Americans with access to the quality and affordable health care they need.

During the summer of 2015, CMS will mark the anniversary of these programs by recognizing the ways in which these programs have transformed the nation’s health care system over the past five decades. Use the following resources to help spread the word!

Hashtags:

  • #KeepingUpWithGrandma
  •  #Medicare
  • #KeepingUSHealthy

Medicare 50th anniversary pages:

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.

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!