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National Library of Medicine (NLM) has Updated Haz-Map with 481 New Agents

Screenshot of Haz-Map homepageHaz-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.

Newly Released Entrez Direct from NCBI!

NCBI has just released Entrez Direct, a new software suite that allows you to use the UNIX command line to directly access NCBI’s data servers, as well as parse and format data to create customized data files. The latest NCBI News story discusses Entrez Direct and gives several examples of how the programs may be used, as well as links to the suite on FTP and documentation. Entrez Direct is available as a simple FTP download and has extensive documentation on the NCBI web site.

Classroom Activities and Lesson Plans for NLM Native Voices Exhibition

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Division of Specialized Information Services K-12 Workgroup has released classroom activities and lesson plans to supplement the Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness web site. For grades 6-12, these classroom activities and lesson plans familiarize students to the health and medicine of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. The activities and lesson plans use Native Voices exhibition web site content material and other NLM online educational/science resources.

The activities and lesson plans are composed of four units. Each unit introduces a different way of exploring and learning about the Native Voices exhibition in about 1.5 to 3 hours. These units are: 1) A scavenger hunt, 2) An environmental health science lesson, 3) A social science lesson, and 4) A biology lesson. While the activities and lesson plans can be used in science classrooms, clubs, and programs, they can be used also to reinforce the history and societal developments of Native peoples in social science and history classrooms.

The Native Voices Web site allows people to experience an exhibition currently on display at NLM in Bethesda, Maryland. Both versions explore the connection between wellness, illness, and cultural life through a combination of interviews with Native people and interactive media. For additional information, contact Alla Keselman, PhD, K-12 Team Leader, National Library of Medicine.

NLM to Promote infoSIDA & Latino Health Awareness on Valentine’s Day

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.


JGIM Commentary Calls on Physicians to Advance Health Literate Organizations

The Journal of General Internal Medicine published a commentary this month, “Physicians’ Roles in Creating Health Literate Organizations: A Call to Action,” that gives physicians guidance on their role in implementing health literate health care organizations. Physicians’ responsibilities to address health literacy are not restricted to improving the clinical encounter, declared authors Cindy Brach, Benard Dreyer, and Dean Schillinger. For health care organizations to become health literate, physicians must also be willing to serve as health literacy champions.

The authors detail actions physicians can take to implement each of the Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations, as described in an Institute of Medicine discussion paper by Brach, et al, published in 2012. The article also points readers to the Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit to help physicians lead their practices in implementing health literacy universal precautions.

February 2014 Issue of NIH News in Health is Now Available!

Illustration of a woman clutching a tissue near her face while talking with her doctor, who has a prescription pad handy.Check out the February 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:

  • Gripped by Gout: Avoiding the Ache and Agony
    Sudden, painful swelling at the base of the big toe is often the first warning sign of gout. It can affect other joints as well. The good news is, most types of gout are treatable, especially if caught early.
  • Distracted Driving Raises Crash Risk
    Video technology and in-vehicle sensors showed that distracted driving, especially among new drivers, raises the risk for car crashes and near crashes. The study also found that drivers eat, reach for the phone, text, or otherwise take their eyes off the road about 10% of the time.
  • Caring for a Seriously Ill Child
    When a child is diagnosed with a serious illness, it can be difficult for the entire family. It’s important that your child, your family, and you get the support and care you need during this challenging time. A special type of care called palliative care can help.
  • Featured Website: NIDA for Teens
    Teens, and adults who care for them, can learn about addiction and drug abuse at this updated site from NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Designed for viewing on smartphones, tablets, and computers, the site’s free, interactive resources include a teen blog, videos, educator guides, and lots of easy-to-read information about the science behind drug abuse.

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!

Mark E. de Jong Appointed Head of NLM’s Collection Access Section

Mark E. de Jong has been selected to fill the position of Head, Collection Access Section, in the Public Services Division, Library Operations, NLM, effective February 23, 2014. Mark comes to NLM from the position of Access Services Manager, University of Maryland University College (UMUC), where he directs a staff of nine in providing document delivery and interlibrary loan services to UMUC’s students and faculty in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Mark has been with UMUC since 2005 and his experiences include overseeing the planning, development, and implementation of the ILLiad software for interlibrary loan management, as well as the implementation of SharePoint knowledge management platform to improve library communications, collaboration, and document management. He holds the rank of associate professor (adjunct) at UMUC, where he has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in research and information literacy. Mark has published extensively in the library field; his newest work is a chapter on service design thinking in libraries for Woodsworth & Penniman, Advances in Librarianship, (Emerald Press, forthcoming).

Mark’s previous professional experiences include access and reference positions at Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland at Baltimore; Frostburg State University; and the University of Buffalo. Mark holds a MA in history (SUNY College at Brockport) and MLS (University at Buffalo). He holds a doctorate in management (ADB) from UMUC, where his dissertation topic is “Attributes of Effective Leadership.”

NLM Director Donald A.B. Lindberg Receives 2014 Paul Evan Peters Award!

The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and EDUCAUSE have announced that Donald A.B. Lindberg, Director of the National Library of Medicine, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Paul Evan Peters Award. The award recognizes notable, lasting achievements in the creation and innovative use of network-based information resources and services that advance scholarship and intellectual productivity. Named for CNI’s founding director, the award honors the memory and accomplishments of Paul Evan Peters (1947–1996), a visionary and a coalition builder in higher education and the world of scholarly communication, who led CNI from its founding in 1990. The award will be presented during the CNI membership meeting in St. Louis, MO, to be held March 31–April 1, 2014, where Dr. Lindberg will deliver the Paul Evan Peters Memorial Lecture. The talk will be recorded and made available on CNI’s YouTube and Vimeo channels after the meeting concludes.

Dr. Lindberg’s interest in the potential intersection between information technology and the biological sciences stretches back to the early days of his career. He joined the pathology faculty at the University of Missouri in 1960, where he developed the first automated lab system and an automated patient history acquisition system. He implemented an automated statewide system for interpreting electrocardiograms, as well as other medical applications for the computer. Around this time, he also began publishing articles in a field that would come to be known as medical informatics, including The Computer and Medical Care, which appeared in 1968.

Dr. Lindberg has worked as a scientist for over 50 years, becoming widely recognized as an innovator in applying computer technology to health care, medical diagnosis, artificial intelligence, and educational programs. In 1984 he was appointed director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world’s largest biomedical library, a post that he still holds. As NLM’s Director, Dr. Lindberg convinced the United States Congress that the Library was an essential information conduit, facilitating the decision-making process of scientists and pharmaceutical companies, and, ultimately, benefiting patients and the general public, thereby securing the organization’s robust future. He has spearheaded countless transformative programs in medical informatics, including the Unified Medical Language System, making it possible to link health information, medical terms, drug names and billing codes across different computer systems; the Visible Human Project, a digital image library of complete, anatomically detailed, three-dimensional representations of the normal male and female human bodies; the production and implementation of ClinicalTrials.gov, a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world; and, the establishment of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a national resource for molecular biology information and genetic processes that control health and disease. Today, NLM has a budget of $327 million, more than 800 employees, and digital information services that are used billions of times a year by millions of scientists, health professionals, and members of the public.

Dr. Lindberg is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and has received numerous honors and awards, including the prestigious Morris F. Collen, MD, Award of Excellence of the American College of Medical Informatics, and the Surgeon General’s Medallion of the US Public Health Service. He received his medical degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and an undergraduate degree from Amherst College. A four-member committee selected Dr. Lindberg for the award: the late Ann J. Wolpert, director of libraries at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; George O. Strawn, director of the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) National Coordination Office (NCO); Sally Jackson, professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Joan Lippincott, associate executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information.

Evaluation Terminology: Free Resources

Kylie Hutchinson is a Credentialied Evaluator and consultant to non-profit organizations, specializing in the areas of program planning and evaluation. She regularly presents webinars for Community Solutions Planning & Evaluation about topics such as the vast and often jargony world of evaluation terminology. As part of Hutchison’s research, she has consulted online evaluation glossaries, such as the OECD Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management and the US Environmental Protection Agency  Program Evaluation Glossary, and counted thirty six different definitions of evaluation methods within them. What accounts for so much variation? Common reasons include the perspectives and language used by different sectors and funders such as education, government, and non-profit organizations.

A helpful tip when working with organizations on evaluation projects is to ask to see copies of documents such as annual reports, mission and vision statements, strategic planning, and promotional materials, to learn more about the language they use to communicate about themselves. This will assist you in knowing if modifications in assessment terminology language are needed, and can help guide discussions on clarifying the organization’s purpose of the evaluation.

Hutchinson identified several common themes within the plethora of evaluation methods and created color-coded clusters of them within her Evaluation Terminology Map, which uses the bubbl.us online mind mapping program. She also created a freely available Evaluation Glossary app for use on both iPhone and Android mobile devices and has a web-based version under development. For additional resources to better understand health information outreach evaluation, be sure to visit the NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) Tools and Resources for Evaluation LibGuide.

ONC Releases Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) Guides

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
  • Organizational Responsibilities
  • Patient Identification
  • Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) with Decision Support
  • Test Results Review and Follow-up
  • Clinician Communication
  • Contingency Planning
  • System Interfaces
  • System Configuration