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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

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.”

NLM’s DailyMed Web Site Redesigned With New Features and Improved Usability!

DailyMed web site

On September 18 the National Library of Medicine launched a newly redesigned DailyMed web site. DailyMed provides trustworthy information about marketed drugs in the United States, and is the official provider of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) label information. The web site provides a standard, comprehensive, up-to-date, look-up and download resource of medication content and labeling found in medication package inserts. Since 2005, when DailyMed was first launched, its usage has increased significantly.

Based on the needs and feedback received from the public, NLM began redesigning the DailyMed web site in 2013. The new site is a responsive design which is now easily accessible on all types of devices, adjusting and optimizing automatically for smart phones to large screen desktop displays. Based on the size of the screen, content will relocate, images will resize, the layout will change, and even the navigation will adjust, to deliver an exceptional user experience no matter what device is being used to view the site.

In addition to responsive design, the following new features are available:

  • Enhanced Search Results to include displaying of NDC Codes, Pill Images, and Package Label Images on the search result page. The information will help users easily identify the drug label. The thumbnail images of drugs, magnification feature, accordions, etc. provide a more user friendly experience.
  • Improved user interface by displaying an accordion-style data presentation, so users don’t have to scroll through the entire label.
  • Simplified page navigation and added definitions & tooltips for industry-specific phrases.
  • A dedicated News page and Article & Presentation Page for users to easily access DailyMed and NLM/FDA drug-related news.

NLM Releases Rare Footage of President Franklin Roosevelt Speaking at NIH

On October 31, 1940, just days before President Franklin D. Roosevelt would be elected to an unprecedented third term as President of the United States, he traveled to Bethesda to dedicate the National Cancer Institute and the new campus of what was then the National Institute of Health (NIH), before it would eventually become known in plural form, National Institutes of Health, as multiple units were established over subsequent years. That late October afternoon, Roosevelt stood on the steps of the new main NIH building, ready to address a crowd of 3,000 people. Still relevant today, in a variety of contexts, are the subjects he discussed: the need for preparedness in light of war and for research into deadly diseases, recent improvements in public health and health care, and hope that the research conducted at NIH would lead to new cures for and even the prevention of disease.

The National Library of Medicine is making the film of Roosevelt’s speech publicly available online for the first time, nearly 74 years after the President made his speech. Sound recordings, transcripts, and photographs of this event have been publicly available for many years. Research suggests, however, that this rare film footage has not been seen publicly since its recording and may no longer exist anywhere else. The recording does not appear to have been professionally produced, since the camera is unsteady in places, a hand sweeps across the lens, and the filming starts and stops, though it isn’t known whether this is a result of the original filming or of later editing. The film is publicly available via the NLM’s Digital Collections archive of over 10,000 biomedical books and videos, and its YouTube site. Read more about this historically significant film footage on the NLM blog, Circulating Now: From the Historical Collections of the World’s Largest Biomedical Library.

TOXMAP and Native American Populations

Although the National Library of Medicine’s TOXMAP resource is not specifically designed for any one particular group, the TRI and Superfund Programs can be of interest to specific populations such as Native Americans, by helping to find sources of chemical releases and contamination in locations of interest to them.

In the beta version of TOXMAP, click on the “Zoom to Location” icon, enter “reservation” or “rancheria” into the “Address or Place” search box, and then click “Zoom to.” In TOXMAP classic, click on “Zoom to a Place,” enter “reservation” or “rancheria” into the “other place name” search box, and then click “Submit.” You can also overlay US Census data by race: “American Indian and Alaskan Native” (1990) or “One Race: American Indian and Alaska Native” and “Two or More Races Including American Indian and Alaska Native” (2000). For more information, visit the TOXMAP and Native American Populations webpage.