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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

HHS Office of Minority Health Releases E-Learning Program for Promotores de Salud

An e-learning program to develop culturally and linguistically competent messengers, advocates and educators to promote health and wellness among their peers and within their communities is now available. Launched by the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Promoting Healthy Choices and Community Changes program is a key component of the HHS Promotores de Salud Initiative, launched in 2011 as part of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. The initiative recognizes the important contributions of community health focused efforts to reach low-income, vulnerable members of Latino/Hispanic communities. While promotores de salud have intimate knowledge of their communities’ cultures and needs, the training resource launched today offers more tools, knowledge and skills to strengthen community health and to narrow the health equity gap.

Promoting Healthy Choices and Community Changes aims to build upon the capacity of promotores de salud to improve community health. Available in Spanish and English at no cost, this e-learning program is designed for any promotor de salud, regardless of years of experience or the type of outreach in which they are engaged (e.g., nutrition, cancer or diabetes). It is comprised of four units that provide promotores de salud with the basic knowledge to promote healthy choices at the individual and community levels; to apply principles and strategies to motivate behavioral changes among the community members they serve; and to empower those individuals to create change in their communities. Learners will receive a Certificate of Completion upon completing each unit.

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.

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.

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.

Guide to Choosing NLM Environmental Health and Toxicology Resources

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Environmental Health and Toxicology Portal provides a starting point for finding reliable information on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases. The NLM Toxicology Information Decision Guide can help with selection of the right resource for a particular need. Visit the database table for expanded descriptions and sample records for some of these resources.

NLM Theater Presentations at MLA 2015

The NLM exhibit booth at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association in Austin, TX, featured theater presentations to bring users up-to-date on several NLM products and services. The presentation recordings are captioned and accessible from the NLM Distance Education Program Resources page. The presentations include:

Note: To listen to the voice recordings and view the captions you may need the latest version of Flash® Player (download for free from the Adobe Web site). To maximize the presentation, use the Full Screen button. For more information, go to the NLM Technical Bulletin page.

2015 HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects Solicitation Released!

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced the solicitation of proposals for the 2015 HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects, from organizations and libraries to design and conduct projects that will improve access to HIV/AIDS related health information for patients, the affected community, and their caregivers. Awards are offered for up to $50,000. Quotations are due to NLM by July 20, 2015!

The solicitation for the 2015 HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects is posted on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. The Federal Business Opportunities Web site will also list all notices, updates, and modifications to the Solicitation.

Projects must involve one or more of the following information access categories: information retrieval; skills development, resource development; and/or equipment acquisition. Emphasis will be placed upon the following types of organizations or arrangements for developing these programs: community-based organizations (CBOs) or patient advocacy groups currently providing HIV/AIDS-related services to the affected community; public libraries serving communities in the provision of HIV/AIDS-related information and resources; health departments or other local, municipal, or state agencies working to improve public health; faith-based organizations currently providing HIV/AIDS-related services; and/or multi-type consortia of the above-listed organizations that may be in existence or formed specifically for this project.

The NLM primary point of contact for the solicitation is Greg Benedict, Contract Specialist, and the secondary point of contact is Shari Shor, Contracting Officer.

Low Cost Mapping Tools on NLM’s Community Health Maps Blog

Have you ever wanted to be able to use mapping for your outreach needs, but thought that making maps would be too expensive, time-consuming, or just too difficult? The main goal of the National Library of Medicine’s Community Health Maps: Information on Low Cost Mapping Tools for Community-based Organizations blog is facilitating the use of geographic information system (GIS) mapping by providing information about low cost mapping tools, software reviews, best practices, and the experiences of those who have successfully implemented a mapping workflow as part of their work. The blog is moderated by Kurt Menke, a certified GIS professional.

Here are some examples of the kinds of things you can find on the Community Health Maps blog:

  • A short guide for using iForm for field data collection. iForm is an app that can be used on iPads, iPhones and Android devices, and has a free version. Using this app, you can go to different locations, gather data (for example, demographic information about attendance at your program), and view it in tabular or map format.
  • A description of a project using youth in the Philippines to collect data on the needs of their communities. Technology + Youth = Change showed how a dozen donated phones helped 30 young adults survey and map information on access to water, electricity, jobs, and more.
  • A review of a pilot project done by the Seattle Indian Health Board’s Urban Indian Health Institute on noise pollution and health in the urban environment.

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 Announces the Addition of the Michael E. DeBakey Papers to Profiles in Science

Now available from the National Library of Medicine is an extensive selection from the papers of Dr. Michael E. DeBakey on Profiles in Science®, an extensive digital project of the Library that provides online access to archival collections of twentieth-century leaders in science, medicine, and public health. The Michael E. DeBakey Papers Profiles in Science site features correspondence, published articles, travel diaries, interviews, and photographs from the Michael DeBakey Papers held by the National Library of Medicine. Visitors to Profiles in Science can view photos from DeBakey’s childhood and early career, correspondence with surgical colleagues during World War II, and the journal he kept on a trip to Russia to supervise President Boris Yeltsin’s bypass surgery in 1996. An in-depth historical narrative leads to a wide range of primary source materials that provide a window into Dr. DeBakey’s life and major contributions to vascular surgery, medical education, and health care policy. Visitors may also search and browse the collection, consult a brief chronology of DeBakey’s life, a glossary of terms specific to the collection, and a page of further readings.

Michael E. DeBakey (1908–2008) was a legendary American surgeon, educator, and medical statesman. During a career spanning 75 years, his work transformed cardiovascular surgery, raised medical education standards, and informed national health care policy. Born to Lebanese immigrants in Lake Charles, LA, DeBakey was inspired to study medicine by physicians who visited his father’s pharmacy. He earned his MD from Tulane University in 1932 and joined the Tulane faculty after his internship and two years of postgraduate work in Europe. During World War II, he served with the Surgical Consultants to the Army Surgeon General, where he helped develop the first MASH units. DeBakey pioneered dozens of operative procedures such as aneurysm repair, coronary bypass, and endarterectomy, which routinely save thousands of lives each year, and performed some of the first heart transplants. His inventions included the roller pump (a key component of heart-lung machines) as well as artificial hearts and ventricular assist pumps. Beginning in 1948, he was a driving force in building Houston’s Baylor University College of Medicine into a premier medical center, where he trained several generations of top surgeons from all over the world.