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Archive for the ‘Non-NLM Resources’ Category

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!


  • #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!

June 2015 Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available!

Illustration of a 3 people sitting in a doctor’s waiting room.Check out the June 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:

  • HIV and AIDS: Know the Facts: Treatments Work, but Prevention Is Key
    It’s been more than 30 years since a disease now called AIDS was first recognized in the United States. Back then, it was considered a death sentence. No treatments were available, its cause was unknown, and people often died within a few months after being diagnosed. Today, people infected with HIV—the virus that causes AIDS—can live full, healthy lives, in large part because of medicines and other discoveries made with NIH support.
  • Talking With Your Doctor: Make the Most of Your Appointment
    Patients and health care providers share a very personal relationship. Doctors need to know a lot about you, your family, and your lifestyle to give you the best medical care. And you need to speak up and share your concerns and questions. Clear and honest communication between you and your physician can help you both make smart choices about your health.
  • Mapping Language Problems in the Brain
    We often use language to communicate our knowledge and beliefs. But such communication can be challenging for up to 8 million people nationwide who have some form of language impairment. To learn more about how language is organized in the brain, an NIH-funded research team studied people with a type of language impairment known as aphasia.
  • Healthy and Fun Family Recipes
    As parents and caregivers, you make a big difference in what your kids think and do. When children see you making healthy choices—such as eating right and being active—there’s a good chance they’ll do the same. Nutritious food doesn’t have to be bland or take a long time to prepare. Get the whole family to help slice, dice, and chop, and learn how to cut fat and calories.
  • Featured Website: NIH’s National Cancer Institute
    This newly redesigned site can help you quickly find trusted information about cancer prevention and screening, diagnosis and treatment, research, clinical trials, and more—whether on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. The site is also available in Spanish.

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!

NLM and FDA Launch Public Access to Global Unique Device Identification Database

The FDA, in partnership with the National Library of Medicine, has announced that data submitted to FDA’s Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID) is now publicly available through a website called AccessGUDID. By using AccessGUDID, anyone can search or download information that device labelers have submitted to the GUDID about their medical devices. Because the UDI system is being phased in over the next several years, labelers are currently submitting data on only the highest risk medical devices, a small subset of marketed devices. But as the system is implemented according to the UDI compliance timeline, the records of all medical devices required to have a UDI will be included.

With the launch of this beta version of AccessGUDID, everyone is encouraged—health care systems, clinicians, patients, researchers, industry and others—to explore its contents, assess its functionality and provide feedback. This feedback will shape future enhancements, including advanced search and web services. To submit feedback, use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the AccessGUDID landing page or the FDA UDI Help Desk.

NLM Toxicology & Environmental Health Information Update: TOXMAP and TRI Data

Both versions of TOXMAP, classic and beta, now include the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) 2013 National Analysis data, as well as recent cancer and disease mortality data from NCI SEER. This is the first version of the TOXMAP beta with health data, whereas mortality data in TOXMAP classic has been updated. To view national county-level cancer and disease mortality data from 2007-2011 in TOXMAP beta, bring up the US Census & Health Data window and navigate to the Mortality tab. Two sub-tabs list cancer and disease mortality layers that can be overlaid on the map (one at a time).

TOXMAP maps the TRI chemicals reported to the EPA, as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). A complete list of TRI chemicals required to be reported to the EPA can be found on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program website.

Keep It Simple with Micro-Surveys

A hot trend in marketing research is the micro-survey. Also known as the bite-sized survey, these questionnaires are short (about three questions) with the goal of collecting focused feedback to guide specific action. The micro-survey is a technique for overcoming what is arguably the biggest hurdle in survey assessment: Getting people to respond to your questionnaire. It is a technique that is particularly useful for populations where mobile technology use is on the rise, and where there is competition for everyone’s attention in any given moment. To better expect respondents to answer questionnaires, don’t burden them with long, matrix-like questions or require them to flip through numerous web pages. Keep things simple, or respondents will be lost before they ever get to the submit button.

The trick to micro-surveys is to keep them short, but administer multiple questionnaires over time. For example, break down a traditional membership or customer questionnaire into several micro-surveys and distribute them periodically. The length of the survey is not the only factor contributing to response rate. Follow the Dillman method, which provides time-tested guidelines for administering surveys. Also, take a look at Champagne’s Nine Principles of Embedded Assessment. His website has articles and YouTube videos on how to implement these principles. If you want to try doing a micro-survey, check out the effective practices described in this blog article from the marketing research company Instantly.