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Archive for the ‘Non-NLM Resources’ Category

March 2015 Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available!

Illustration of 9 men and women of differing ages and ethnicities.Check out the March issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this issue:

  • Be a Partner in Clinical Research: Help Others, Help Yourself
    Did you know that you can participate in clinical research? Whether you’re healthy or sick, young or old, male or female, you’re probably eligible to participate in some type of clinical study. Maybe you or a loved one has an illness, and you’d like to help scientists find a treatment or cure. If you’re healthy, you can help researchers learn more about how the body works or how sickness can be prevented.
  • Better Check Your Bowels: Screening for Colon and Rectal Cancer
    Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death nationwide. But it can usually be cured when caught early. Screening tests like colonoscopy can save lives by catching problems before symptoms even appear, when treatments might work best.
  • Are You at Risk for Alcohol-Medication Interactions?
    Many people may be both drinking alcohol and taking prescription drugs that interact with alcohol, according to an NIH-funded study. The finding highlights the need to talk with a health care professional about the risks of drinking alcohol while taking prescription medications.
  • Measles: Preventable with Vaccines
    Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It starts with a fever, followed by a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. A rash of tiny, red spots then breaks out and spreads. Measles can be especially dangerous to children under 5 years old. It can lead to pneumonia, swelling of the brain, and even death. The good news is that measles can be prevented by getting a vaccine.

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. Visit the NIH News in Health Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like to see covered, or share what you find helpful about the newsletter!

American Evaluation Association Blog Theme: Qualitative Evaluation

The American Evaluation Association (AEA) just concluded a week-long blog theme about qualitative evaluation. Following are some highlights to consider using in your own assessment efforts:

  1. The Role of Context: the authors of this entry previously shared five high quality elements of qualitative evaluation, and this entry referenced them while emphasizing the need for evaluators to understand what role setting, relationships, and other context factors play in data as well.
  2. Purposeful Sampling: a great explanation on why to avoid convenience sampling (interviewing people because they happen to be around) and using caution with your qualitative evaluation terminology to consider not using the word ‘sampling’ due to peoples’ association of it with random probability.
  3. Interviewing People who are Challenging: establishing rapport leads to good qualitative data, but what does an interviewer do if there seems to be conflict with the interviewee? Details about how to manage your own feelings and approach with a curious mindset are very helpful!
  4. Asking Stupid Questions: this example from a bilingual HIV/AIDS training is especially insightful about the importance of clarifying sexual terms, putting aside concerns the evaluator may have about looking ‘stupid,’ and outcomes that led to deeper engagement and discussion from the group.
  5. Practical Qualitative Analysis: many helpful tips and lessons shared, including the reminder of being sure to group our participants’ responses that answer the same question together even if these replies come from different parts of the survey or interview.
  6. Providing Descriptions: sometimes there are concerns expressed that evaluation is ‘only looking at the negative,’ and by including full details about your qualitative inquiry collection and analysis as an additional resource or appendix you can help explain the steps of the process that otherwise may not be evident.

Mapping an Outreach Project: Online Training Opportunity!

Cindy Olney, PhD, Acting Assistant Director of the NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC), is presenting the online training opportunity Mapping an Outreach Project, a series of four one-hour online sessions with the potential for up to 8 CEUs, beginning February 24. This webinar series is designed for anyone who wants to garner support, financial or otherwise, for a new project or service, and will be especially useful for anyone planning to submit an outreach award proposal. You will learn how assessment and evaluation are effective tools for project planning and proposal writing. Community assessment allows you to gather compelling information about the need and viability of your project. It also helps you build relationships with potential partners. Adding evaluation methods to your program plan helps you “begin with the end in mind,” making desired results the centerpiece of your project proposal. After completing this series, participants will be able to do the following:

  • How people adopt new ideas. Know the factors that influence people to adopt new ideas and technology so you can choose the best strategies for your project. (Part 1)
  • Meeting the Community through Community Assessment. Gather community information that is most effective for planning your project. (Part 2)
  • Planning Outcomes-Based Outreach Programs. Use a project-planning tool that allows you to logically link resources and activities to desired results. (Part 3)
  • Adding Evaluation to Your Plan and Next Steps: Proposal Writing. Incorporate evaluation into your project and understand how your plan can be expanded into a full proposal. (Part 4)

The webinars will be held February 24, February 26, March 3, and March 5, all from 10-11 a.m. PST. They will be recorded for those unable to attend the live sessions. One MLA CEU will be awarded per live or recorded webinar attended (1-4 CEUs). Up to four extra CEUs can be earned for a four-part homework assignment. All webinars must be viewed and homework completed and sent to the instructor by Thursday, March 12. Registration is available for any or all of the sessions.

February 2015 Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available!

Whimsical illustration of a heart being repaired by construction workers.

Check out the February issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this issue:

  • Fixing Flawed Body Parts: Engineering New Tissues and Organs
    How can you mend a broken heart? Or repair a damaged liver, kidney, or knee? NIH-funded scientists are exploring innovative ways to fix faulty organs and tissues or even grow new ones. This type of research is called tissue engineering. Exciting advances continue to emerge in this fast-moving field.
  • Galled by the Gallbladder? Your Tiny, Hard-Working Digestive Organ
    Most of us give little thought to the gallbladder, a pear-sized organ that sits just under the liver and next to the pancreas. The gallbladder may not seem to do all that much. But if this small organ malfunctions, it can cause serious problems. Gallbladder disorders rank among the most common and costly of all digestive system diseases. By some estimates, up to 20 million Americans may have gallstones, the most common type of gallbladder disorder.
  • Many Older People Take Anti-Anxiety Meds Despite Risks
    Despite known risks, older people often take benzodiazepines, a class of drugs that helps treat anxiety and sleep problems. New research raises questions about why benzodiazepines are prescribed so often when safer alternatives may be available.
  • Treatment for Alcohol Problems
    An estimated 17 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder. But research suggests that only a fraction of them seek professional help. No matter how severe the problems may seem, most people can benefit from some form of therapy.
  • Featured Website: Find a Cancer Center
    NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) supports specialized cancer research centers that deliver cutting-edge cancer treatments to people in communities across the country. This interactive map can help you find an NCI-designated center near you and learn about its patient services and research.

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. Visit the NIH News in Health Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like to see covered, or share what you find helpful about the newsletter!

Fifty-Two Weeks of Better Evaluation!

BetterEvaluation.org is an international collaboration that encourages sharing of evaluation methods, approaches, and processes for improvement. BetterEvaluation offers yearly blog themes for their staff and guest writers to focus on, with highlights of the 2014 theme published as a blog posting, 52 Weeks of BetterEvaluation. For 2015 they are featuring 12 Months of BetterEvaluation, with multiple posts each month, starting with impact evaluation in January. Following are five selections from 2014 that may be of special interest to NN/LM Network members:

  1. Top ten developments in qualitative evaluation over the past decade, Part 1 and Part 2.
  2. Fitting reporting methods to evaluation findings and audiences.
  3. Infographics, including step-by-step instructions in piktochart.
  4. Innovation in evaluation.
  5. Presenting data effectively.

Measuring Success Toolkit

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is a form of assessment used to help improve the performance and achievement of program results and often used by both non-government organizations (NGOs) and government agencies. It utilizes a staircase diagram with six questions related to program planning, monitoring, and evaluation; with information about clarifying the differences. While not specific to health information outreach programs, the Measuring Success Toolkit, from the Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, is about health program planning, monitoring and evaluation. The toolkit provides helpful resources from the initiative’s multi-country perspective of working with the urban poor and the significant health disparities they face that may be helpful to consult when working with health information outreach partners in underserved communities. The Toolkit includes subject-specific M&E resources such as maternal & child health and HIV/AIDS, and the resources within the toolkit are selected by M&E experts and reviewed quarterly following established criteria, to identify important resources from diverse perspectives that include accurate, up-to-date information.

New Toolkit on Health Literacy and Health Insurance Literacy!

According to recent studies, and despite new private insurance coverage over the past year, many people do not understand the very terms and concepts necessary to make informed choices. A new Alliance for Health Reform Toolkit, Health Literacy and Health Insurance Literacy: Do Consumers Know What they are Buying? addresses the extent and significance of both health literacy and health insurance literacy for Americans buying and using health insurance.

A few highlights from the Toolkit:

  • Nearly nine out of ten adults have difficulty using health information to make informed decisions about their health.
  • Half of Americans don’t understand such basic health insurance terms as premium, deductible and copay.
  • Thirty-seven percent of marketplace enrollees did not know their deductible, and 47% of those receiving subsidies did not know the amount of federal assistance they were getting.
  • The cost of low health literacy in the United States currently represents between 7% and 17% of all personal health care expenditures.

Contents of the Toolkit include:

  • An overview of problems associated with health literacy as well as studies analyzing their impact.
  • Links to reports and news articles explaining and analyzing the issue.
  • Contact information for leading experts on the issue.

Nature Magazine Publisher to Merge with Springer Science

The publisher of science magazines Nature and Scientific American is merging with private equity-owned peer Springer Science+Business Media, creating a group with 1.5 billion euros ($1.75 billion) in annual sales and 13,000 employees. Germany’s Holtzbrinck, which owns Nature publisher Macmillan Science and Education, will combine the majority of its activities with BC Partners’ Springer unit, which publishes scientific, technical, and medical books and journals. Springer Science Chief Executive Derk Haank will head the new merged company, which will have an enterprise value of more than 5 billion euros. Macmillan Science and Education Chief Executive Annette Thomas will serve as Chief Scientific Officer. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2015.

Macmillan’s English language school books and social sciences publisher Palgrave Macmillan will be part of the merged entity, as will Springer’s publications and data for professionals. Holtzbrinck’s investments in IT and software businesses, its consumer books unit Macmillan Publishers, and its U.S. higher education business will not be part of the transaction. Springer Science is a separate company from German publisher Axel Springer owning leading tabloid Bild, while Holtzbrinck Publishing is a different company than Dieter von Holtzbrinck Medien, which publishes German business daily Handelsblatt.

“Guide on the Side” Software for Creating Interactive Tutorials

The University of Arizona (UA) libraries developed an open-source tool called Guide on the Side for creating interactive tutorials. The left frame of the screen contains instructions and can also have quizzes or links to other information, and the larger, right side has the live website to interact with, without losing your place in the tutorial. A four-minute introductory video about the software is available for viewing on the NLM National Training Center (NTC) web site.

Guide on the Side is an open source PHP and MySQL program and needs to be installed on a server. The program requires a handful of common PHP packages enabled. Once installed, it is very easy for someone without programming experience to create interactive tutorials, which can be easily updated if the interface of the database or other web resource changes. Several examples of Guide on the Side tutorials for TOXNET resources are available on the NTC web site. The UA Libraries have developed more than 25 tutorials using the tool, which have received nearly 73,000 uses in one year. Other libraries have installed the software, begun creating tutorials, and joined a discussion group to continue improving the software.

NAL Unveils New Search Engine for Published USDA Research!

The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has unveiled PubAg, a user-friendly search engine that provides public enhanced access to research published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. NAL is part of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and has one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive compilations of agricultural information available.

PubAg is a new portal for literature searches and full-text access of more than 40,000 scientific journal articles by USDA researchers, mostly from 1997 to 2014. New articles by USDA researchers will be added almost daily, and older articles may be added if possible. There is no access fee, and no requirement for a username, password or any other form of registration to use PubAg. Phase I of PubAg provides access for searches of 340,000 peer-reviewed agriculturally related scientific literature, mostly from 2002 to 2012, each entry offering a citation, abstract and a link to the article if available from the publisher. This initial group of highly relevant, high-quality literature was taken from the 4 million bibliographic citations in NAL’s database. Phase II of PubAg, planned for later in 2015, will include the remainder of NAL’s significant bibliographic records. PubAg has been specifically designed to be easy to use and to serve a number of diverse users including the public, farmers, scientists, academicians and students.