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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

HHS and NIH Request Public Comments on Steps to Enhance Transparency of Clinical Trial Results

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are releasing for public comment two proposals to increase the transparency of clinical trials via information submitted to ClinicalTrials.gov, a publicly accessible database operated by the National Library of Medicine. The first is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that describes proposed regulations for registering and submitting summary results of certain clinical trials to ClinicalTrials.gov in compliance with Title VIII of the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA). A major proposed change from current requirements is the expansion of the scope of clinical trials required to submit summary results to include trials of unapproved, unlicensed, and uncleared products. The second proposal is a draft NIH policy that would extend the similar registration and reporting requirements to all clinical trials funded by NIH, regardless of whether they are subject to FDAAA. Both proposals aim to improve public access to information about specified clinical trials, information that is not necessarily available from other public sources. The proposals are not intended to affect the design or conduct of clinical trials or define what type of data should be collected during a clinical trial. Rather, they aim to ensure that information about clinical trials and their results are made publicly available via ClinicalTrials.gov. A summary of the proposed changes is available from the NIH.

The public may comment on any aspect of the NPRM or proposed NIH Policy. Written comments on the NPRM should be submitted to docket number NIH-2011-0003. Commenters are asked to indicate the specific section of the NPRM to which each comment refers. Written comments on the proposed NIH Policy should be submitted electronically to the Office of Clinical Research and Bioethics Policy, Office of Science Policy, NIH, via email; mail at 6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20892; or by fax at 301-496-9839, by February 19, 2015. All comments will be considered in preparing the final rule and final NIH Policy.

OCLC Announces Community Health Engagement Opportunity for Public Libraries!

As part of its IMLS-funded Health Happens in Libraries program, OCLC is seeking up to five public libraries wishing to collaborate with a local partner to develop and implement community health activities. These activities, to be conducted with the Health Happens in Libraries team from January through July 2015, will support the goals of each participating library and their partner(s), and enhance public library capacity to advance health and wellness priorities in the communities they serve. Activities may include a range of services, such as a workshop on healthy family meal planning, or training to patrons seeking reliable online health information. In addition to stipend support for any related travel, participating libraries will also be eligible to receive $500 for supplies, materials, or other necessary expenses to meet their goals. Actual time commitment will ultimately be proportional to the engagement goals of each library community

The Participant Overview provides a full description of this opportunity, including how to submit a statement of interest for your library to be considered for this exciting work. If interested in participating in this 7-month project, please submit a statement of interest by 5:00 PM PST Tuesday, December 9, 2014. Selected libraries will be notified by December 31, 2014. A panel will review all statements in an effort to select a variety of libraries, representing diverse perspectives and communities. Questions about the program may be directed to the Project Coordinator, Liz Morris.

Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM) Updates

CHEMM WebsiteThe National Library of Medicine (NLM) has released a new version of Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM). CHEMM is a Web-based resource that can be downloaded in advance to Windows and Mac computers to ensure availability during an event if the Internet is not accessible. CHEMM’s content is also integrated into the NLM Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER), which is Web-based and downloadable to Windows computers. CHEMM’s content is also available in WISER’s iOS and Android apps. The new CHEMM content will be incorporated into the next release of WISER.

New or updated content in CHEMM includes:

  • Updated and enhanced content on Decontamination Procedures, Discovering the Event, and Training and Education
  • An NIH CounterACT program funded database with information on twenty-two medical countermeasures (including efficacy, relevant publications, research in progress, FDA and other global regulatory status information)
  • Content for how emergency responders can recognize and handle events dealing with toxic gases generated by the combinations of consumer products or common household chemicals
  • A workshop report describing toxic chemical syndromes, or toxidromes, that lays the foundation for a consistent lexicon for use in CHEMM and for other uses that, if adopted widely, will improve response to chemical mass exposure incidents
  • A toxidromes outreach plan whose goal is to raise widespread awareness and encourage use of the toxidromes throughout the stakeholder community, and
  • An evaluation and validation plan for CHEMM’s Intelligent Syndromes Tool (CHEMM-IST) that, once completed, will move CHEMM-IST from its current state as a prototype to a product ready for use in an operational response environment.

For more information see the “What’s New on CHEMM?” section of CHEMM.

NLM Resource Update: Environmental Health Student Resources

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides online environmental health student resources for students in grades 1-12. The information and data in the following resources are free and vetted by science professionals. The resources can be used by science educators in their classrooms, in after school programs, in home school programs, and by students for their academic research assignments.

  • Environmental Health Student Portal (Grades 6-8): Provides middle school students and educators with information on common environmental health topics such as water pollution, climate change, air pollution, and chemicals.
  • Toxicology Tutorials (Grades 9-12+): Teach basic toxicology principles; written at the introductory college student level.
  • Household Products Database (Grades 6-12+): Learn about the potential health effects of chemicals in common household products ranging from personal hygiene products to landscape care products.
  • ToxTown (Grades 6-12+): Interactive guide to commonly encountered toxic substances. Includes classroom materials. Also available in Spanish.
  • TOXMAP (Grades 9-12+): Uses maps of the United States to visually explore Superfund and Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) sites and data from the EPA. Includes classroom materials.
  • Native Voices Exhibition Lesson Plans & Activities (Grades 6-12): Familiarize students with Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian healthcare by using the NLM Native Voices exhibition Web site content materials.
  • ToxMystery (Grades 1-5): Teaches elementary school students about toxic substances in the home. Game format; includes lesson plans and activities. Also available in Spanish.

NLM’s Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN) Rebranded as HealthReach

The National Library of Medicine’s Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN) resource was a national collaborative partnership with the principal focus of creating and making available a database of quality multilingual/multicultural, public health resources to professionals providing care to resettled refugees and asylees. In October, 2014, NLM’s Specialized Information Services (SIS) broadened the scope of RHIN by rebranding it HealthReach. This was done to better meet the needs of the diverse non-English and English as a second language speaking audiences. HealthReach continues to recognize the importance of providing refugee and asylee specific information while expanding the information provided to meet the needs of most immigrant populations. Over the next several months new resources will be added to the web site. There is also a new Twitter feed, @NLM_HealthReach. There isn’t much change between the old RHIN and the new HealthReach; this was intentional to help with the continuity of service through the transition.

NLM Launches Web Collecting Initiative to Capture and Preserve Selected Ebola-Related Content

Transmission Electron Micrograph (TEM) of the Ebola virus,The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has launched a Web collecting initiative to capture and preserve selected born-digital content documenting the 2014 Ebola outbreak. This initiative is a part of its previously-announced Web content collecting effort, which is guided by the NLM Collection Development Manual and other strategic collecting efforts. Initiated on October 1, 2014, selected content related to the current Ebola outbreak includes Web sites and social media from Government and non-government organizations, journalists, healthcare workers, and scientists in the United States and around the world, with an aim to collect and preserve a diversity of perspectives on this unfolding health crisis.

The content is part of the NLM’s broader Web collection on “Global Health Events.” The NLM will continue to develop, review, describe, and add content to the collection, as it also expands its overall capacity to collect Web content. With this initiative NLM has taken a major new step in its mission to collect pertinent health care information of today for the benefit of research in the future. Increasingly, that information is found on the Web, which is a rapidly changing environment where valuable and interesting materials can surface and then quickly disappear!

CDC Program Evaluation Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a freely available ‘how to’ resource Introduction to Program Evaluation for Public Health Programs: A Self Study Guide. Examples of public and community health programs that can be considered for program evaluation include direct service interventions, community-based mobilization efforts, research initiatives into issues such as health disparities, advocacy work, and training programs. The guide is available online or as a PDF document that consists of a six-step process (from Engaging Stakeholders to Ensure Use of Evaluation Findings), a helpful Glossary of program evaluation terminology, and Resources for additional publications, toolkits, and more to support public and community health program evaluation work. A related CDC guide A Framework for Program Evaluation is one of several resources featured in the Evaluation Planning section of the NN/LM OERC Tools and Resources for Evaluation web page.

National Library of Medicine Resource Update: Drug Information Portal

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Drug Information Portal is a free web resource that provides an informative, user–friendly gateway to current drug information for over 53,000 substances. The Portal links to sources from the NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies such as the U.S. FDA. Current information regarding consumer health, clinical trials, AIDS–related drug information, MeSH pharmacological actions, PubMed biomedical literature, and physical properties and structure is easily retrieved by searching a drug name. A varied selection of focused topics in medicine and drug–related information is also available from displayed subject headings.

The Drug Portal retrieves by the generic or trade name of a drug or its category of usage. Records provide a description of how the drug is used, its chemical structure and nomenclature, and include up to 20 Resource Locators which link to more information in other selected resources. Recent additions to these Locators include clinical experience with drugs in PubMed Health, substances reviewed in NLM’s LiverTox, information from the Dietary Supplement Label Database, and drug images in the Pillbox database. Data in the Drug Information Portal is updated daily, and is also available on mobile devices. More information is available from the Drug Information Portal Fact Sheet.

NLM Mourns Dr. Morris F. Collen, Medical Computing Pioneer

The National Library of Medicine is saddened at the passing of Dr. Morris F. Collen, known around the world as “Mr. Medical Informatics,” on September 27, 2014. He was 100 years old. In addition to his wide-ranging contributions to medical informatics, Dr. Collen was a valued advisor to NLM. He was a member of the Lister Hill Board of Scientific Counselors from 1984 to 1987. He served on the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee, which advises NLM on the journals to be indexed in MEDLINE/PubMed, from 1997 to 2002, chairing the Committee from 2000 to 2002. He also contributed to NLM Long Range planning.

Morris Collen earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine in 1938. His residency at the University of Southern California/Los Angeles County General Hospital took him to California, where he started what would become a legendary career at Kaiser (later Kaiser Permanente). He served as chief of medical services at Kaiser’s Oakland hospital from 1942 to 1952, and medical director the following year. From 1953 to 1961, Dr. Collen served as physician-in-chief at Kaiser Permanente (KP) in San Francisco.

During World War II, Dr. Collen was one of the first doctors to experiment with the use of a new wonder drug–penicillin–for the treatment of pneumonia in shipyard workers, at a time when most of the drug was shipped overseas for members of the armed forces. Dr. Collen’s interest in the use of computers as a way to improve medical care developed during a 1961 conference on biomedical electronics. Soon afterward, he founded Kaiser Permanente’s research division and created a prototype electronic health record fed by punch card into a huge IBM mainframe computer. The record included information from patient screenings and lab results. One of Dr. Collen’s major achievements at KP was the development of the multiphasic health checkup, which addressed the physician shortage of the 1950s, post-World War II. This series of procedures and tests, given to thousands of KP members, screened for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Not only did these revolutionary tests save physicians’ time; they constituted a significant experiment in preventive care. Dr. Collen eventually automated the multiphasic health checkups, moving them onto a punch card system in 1964.

Electronic health records are in the headlines today, but their bloodlines run back to Dr. Collen. Kaiser Permanente’s early EHR system became internationally known because of his groundbreaking efforts. In fact, he predicted that the computer would have “the greatest technological impact on medical science since the invention of the microscope,” as noted in a 2008 Kaiser Permanente publication.

NCBI HIV-1 Website Updated

The HIV-1, human interaction database has been updated and is now on an improved page. The improved interface includes help documentation and supports structured queries against Gene, as well as browsing, filtering and downloading the protein and replication interaction data sets. The most recent data release (June 2014) includes 12,785 HIV-1, human protein-protein interactions for 3,142 human genes and 1,316 replication interactions for 1,250 human genes. The HIV-1, human interactions project, collates published reports of two types of interactions – HIV-1, human protein interactions, and human gene knock-downs that affect virus replication which are reported as “replication interactions.”