In the summer of 1946, an Oklahoma newspaper editor sent a young reporter to complete a story on a state psychiatric hospital, where he found neglected, half-naked inmates, crowded together in filthy, dilapidated buildings, and fed on rotten food. He soon went back, taking along a photographer, and then he went to visit Oklahoma’s other state mental hospitals. His blistering series of newspaper articles about the institutions launched a grassroots reform movement: less than a year later, the state legislature voted huge budget increases for state hospitals, restructured the state hospital administration, and re-wrote the state’s commitment laws.
The young journalist was Mike Gorman (1913–1989). His work in Oklahoma earned him a Lasker Award in 1948, and changed the course of his career. Several decades later he would be called “the country’s greatest modern missionary for mental health.” Mike Gorman’s papers are now online at the National Library of Medicine’s Profiles in Science Web site, an NLM digital project that provides online access to the archival collections of more than 30 Nobel Laureates and other leading innovators in scientific and medical fields. The presentation features correspondence, photographs, speeches and addresses given by Gorman, speeches he wrote for members of Congress and several U.S. Presidents, along with published articles and reports from the Gorman collection. Visitors to the site can view his first series of articles for the Daily Oklahoman, drafts of speeches Gorman wrote for Presidents Truman and Kennedy, and the public service announcements issued by the Citizens for the Treatment of High Blood Pressure.
Gorman’s Oklahoma experience taught him that newspaper exposés alone would not produce substantive changes. Public attention to social problems faded quickly, and entrenched social and political practices did not change without constant agitating from outside. Gorman would spend the rest of his life providing that agitation: gathering the facts about mental illness and other diseases; speaking to governors, legislators, professional groups, and the public; testifying to Congressional appropriations committees; and writing books and articles.
Gorman came to Washington, D.C. in 1951 to be a member of President Truman’s Commission on the Health Needs of the Nation, and in 1953 became executive director of the National Committee Against Mental Illness, a lobbying and advocacy organization founded by philanthropist and health care activist Mary Lasker. In that post, he became perhaps America’s best known lobbyist and publicist in the crusade for psychiatric hospital reform and the community mental health center movement. Gorman played a key role in shaping many of the social programs of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, including the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act of 1963. During the 1970s and 1980s he also directed two other advocacy groups, Citizens for the Treatment of High Blood Pressure, which helped coordinate a highly successful national hypertension education and screening program, and the National Initiative for Glaucoma Control.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced a funding opportunity for small projects to improve access to disaster medicine and public health information for health care professionals, first responders, and others who play a role in health-related disaster preparedness, response and recovery. The solicitation notice can be found on FedBizOpps.gov. Contract awards will be offered for a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $30,000 each for a one-year project. The proposal submission deadline is Thursday, June 19, 2014, at 5:00 PM EDT. Visit NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center web site for additional information and instructions about the “Disaster Health Information Outreach and Collaboration Project 2014.”
NLM is seeking proposals from partnerships in the U.S. that include at least one library and at least one organization that has disaster-related responsibilities, such as health departments, public safety departments, emergency management departments, pre-hospital and emergency medical services, fire/rescue, or other local, regional, or state agencies with disaster health responsibilities; hospitals; faith-based and voluntary organizations active in disaster; and others. NLM encourages submission of innovative proposals that enhance mutually beneficial collaboration among libraries and disaster-related agencies. For example, projects may increase awareness of health information resources, demonstrate how libraries and librarians can assist planners and responders with disaster-related information needs, show ways in which disaster workers can educate librarians about disaster management, and/or include collaboration among partners in developing information resources that support planning and response to public health emergencies. Summaries of previous years’ funded projects are available for viewing.
An open information session about this funding opportunity will be held on Thursday, May 8, at 10:30 am PDT, during the next monthly Disaster Information Specialist webinar via Adobe Connect, to learn about this opportunity and ask questions about the solicitation and its requirements. A member of the NLM Contracts and Acquisition team will be on the call to address questions. All questions and responses will be posted following the meeting on FedBizOpps.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) TOXNET TRI and TOXMAP now include the TRI 2012 National Analysis data, the most current final information available. The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), a resource of the US EPA, is a set of publicly available databases containing information on releases of specific toxic chemicals and their management as waste, as reported annually by US industrial and federal facilities. This inventory was established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986. TRI’s data, beginning with the 1987 reporting year, covers air, water, land, and underground injection releases, as well as transfers to waste sites. In agreement with the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, source reduction and recycling data is also included in TRI.
21,024 facilities reported to the TRI program in 2012 as required by EPCRA, with almost 80,000 submissions. A complete list of TRI chemicals required to be reported is available on EPA web site. TOXMAP maps on-site TRI releases and also includes EPA Superfund data.
A new topic page is available from the NLM Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), Influenza: Pandemic Preparedness and Response. The page focuses on flu outbreaks that exceed the predicted prevalence of seasonal flu, threaten to overwhelm medical resources, and could affect the everyday functioning of communities. The page highlights resources that health professionals and emergency planners may find useful in planning for and responding to pandemics; an important part of all-hazards planning for many institutions and government agencies. DIMRC provides topic pages on a wide range of disaster types and related topics, including a page on Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Virus.
A comprehensive health and lifestyle analysis of people from a range of Hispanic/Latino origins shows that this segment of the U.S. population is diverse, not only in ancestry, culture, and economic status; but also in the prevalence of several diseases, risk factors, and lifestyle habits. These health data are derived from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), a landmark study that enrolled about 16,415 Hispanic/Latino adults living in San Diego, Chicago, Miami, and the Bronx, N.Y., who self-identified with Central American, Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or South American origins. These new findings have been compiled and published as the Hispanic Community Health Study Data Book: A Report to the Communities.
The numerous findings described by the HCHS/SOL researchers confirmed some existing knowledge while also uncovering some new health trends. Among the items highlighting Hispanic diversity:
The percentage of people who reported having asthma ranged from 7.4 (among those of Mexican ancestry) to 35.8 (among those of Puerto Rican ancestry).
The percentage of individuals with hypertension ranged from 20.3 (South American) to 32.2 (Cuban).
The percentage of people eating five or more servings of fruits/vegetables daily ranged from 19.2 (Puerto Rican origin) to 55.0 (Cuban origin). Also, men reported consuming more fruit and vegetables than women.
Women reported a much lower consumption of sodium than men among all Hispanic groups represented in the study.
Haz-Map now covers over 9170 chemical and biological agents and 241 occupational diseases! NLM has updated Haz-Map with 481 new agents, including 23 agents causing occupational asthma. Fifteen new hazardous job tasks linked to jobs and industries were also added in this update.
Haz-Map is an occupational health database designed for health and safety professionals and for consumers seeking information about the health effects of exposure to chemicals and biologicals at work. Haz-Map links jobs and hazardous tasks with occupational diseases and their symptoms. It currently covers over 5997 chemical and biological agents and 235 occupational diseases.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) will be promoting the infoSIDA website through a multi-platform media outreach effort culminating in a Twitter discussion on Valentine’s Day. The outreach efforts include two radio public service announcements that will air on Spanish radio stations nationwide. In addition, Fedora Braverman and Jean-Paul Rock will serve as the main NLM Spanish spokespersons, conducting interviews on infoSIDA and other Spanish-language consumer resources from NLM. Both will be featured on Bienvenidos a América (BAA), a weekly call-in radio show focused on providing immigration resources to Latinos. BAA airs weekly on Thursdays from 11am-12pm Pacific Time and is on 111 Spanish stations nationwide.
In addition to being on the air, the NLM specific segment on BAA will be streamed live on Thursday, January 30th online at bienvenidosradio.com. Finally, the online resources of infoSIDA will be shared and discussed in a Twitter “Tweet Up” on February 14, 2014, Valentine’s Day. NLM will be inviting all Latino-serving institutions, health and AIDS service organizations to participate and share resources for how to continue to keep loved ones healthy. Valentine’s Day is the holiday where we remind loved ones of how much we care about them and their well-being. This holiday serves as the perfect backdrop to raise awareness about health issues affecting our loved ones and the resources that are available to learn more about prevention and treatment. Twitter users are invited to follow or join the conversation by using the hash tag #infoSIDA2014.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 22% of the diagnoses of HIV infection among adults and adolescents in the United States and six dependent areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands) from 2008 to 2011 were in Hispanics/Latinos. The rate of new HIV infections among Latino men is almost three times that of white men (39.9 vs. 15.9 per 100,000), and the rate among Latinas is more than four times that of white women (11.8 vs. 2.6 per 100,000). Statistics like these and a need to reach vulnerable populations were a driving force in NLM recognizing the need to speak directly to Latinos on the issue of HIV/AIDS, in a culturally relevant manner.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has released the Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) Guides. These guides are a suite of tools that include checklists and recommended practices designed to help health care providers and the organizations that support them assess and optimize the safety and safe use of EHRs. Each SAFER Guide has extensive references and is available as a downloadable PDF and as an interactive web-based tool.
The release of the SAFER Guides marks an important milestone in the implementation of the HHS Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan, which was issued in July 2013. The SAFER Guides complement existing health IT safety tools and research developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and ONC. AHRQ’s Patient Safety Organizations (PSO) have explicitly identified health IT as a high priority area because of the enormous impact EHRs are having on patient safety right now. PSOs are charged to help their members improve patient safety, and the SAFER Guides give them an evidence-based tool to do so.
Rigorously developed by leading health IT safety and informatics researchers and based on the latest available evidence, expert opinion, stakeholder engagement, and field work, each SAFER Guide addresses a critical area associated with the safe use of EHRs through a series of self-assessment checklists, practice worksheets, and recommended practices. Areas addressed include:
High Priority Practices
Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) with Decision Support
Disaster health information courses and supporting materials are now available from the Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) at the National Library of Medicine. The courses are open to anyone at no cost and are approved for Medical Library Association (MLA) continuing education credit. Completion of a series of courses may be used toward the MLA Disaster Information Specialization certificate. The application fee is $55 for MLA members and $75 for non-members. To earn the Basic certificate, students complete the following required 15 hours of courses:
Course materials may be used and adapted by anyone giving presentations or classes on this content. When using or adapting materials, please give credit to the original course authors and NLM. DIMRC would like to hear about the use of these course materials and what they can offer (improve) that would make it easier to teach this material. If you are interested in being an online or classroom instructor for one or more of these courses, please send your name, title, organization, city, and state/country to Katie Chan.
Many thanks to MLA for coordinating the initial development of courses and for hosting the course materials and registration on their web site (with funding from NLM)!