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Metrics that Matter for Population Health Action: A Workshop

The Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Population Health Improvement will be hosting a workshop, Metrics that Matter for Population Health Action, on July 30, 2015, at the Oakland Conference Center of the California Endowment in Oakland, CA. This workshop will:

  • highlight existing and emerging population health metrics sets and explore their purposes, areas of overlap and gaps
  • highlight population health metrics with attention to equity/disparities
  • discuss characteristics of metrics necessary for stakeholder action (across multiple sectors whose engagement is needed to transform the conditions for health in communities)
  • highlight population health metrics useful to addressing health beyond health care and engaging “total population health” (again, across multiple sectors)

The workshop is open to the public and will also be webcast live on the Institute of Medicine website. Register for the workshop and/or webcast, and follow the conversation on Twitter: #pophealthRT.

NLM Digitizes Unique Early English Books, Allowing Free Online Access

Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy (London: Printed for John Garway, 1660).The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces the release through its Digital Collections of nearly 200 items uniquely held by the NLM and printed in the English-speaking world from 1552 to 1800. NLM’s participation in the English Short Title Catalog (ESTC) helped staff identify the uniqueness of these items. The ESTC is a union catalog managed by the British Library which lists books, pamphlets, and other ephemeral material printed in English-speaking countries from 1473 to 1800, containing over 480,000 items reported by over 2,000 libraries from around the world, including the NLM, British Library, Folger Shakespeare Library, and Library of Congress. The NLM holds over 9,000 ESTC items, the most for any medical library in the world.

The NLM’s new digital collection of unique English short titles includes:

As with all printed material added to NLM’s Digital Collections, these items will be included in the Internet Archive generally, and as part of the Medical Heritage Library, an international collaboration which the NLM has supported since 2010 to provide free access to historical medical literature.

The NLM’s Digital Collections currently encompass over 14,000 items spanning eight centuries and including monographs, serials, videos, and ephemeral literature. It complements PubMed Central® (PMC), NLM’s free, full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, now including 3.5 million articles spanning the early nineteenth-century to the present day. Additionally, as part of its ongoing initiative to make its historical collections widely known and available, the NLM also announces a three-year cooperation with the University of St. Andrews to identify and preserve the rarest European materials in the NLM’s historical collections. The University of St. Andrews hosts the Universal Short Title Catalog (USTC), funded by the Andrew J. Mellon Foundation. The USTC is a unique collective database which seeks to include all books published in Europe between the invention of printing and the end of the sixteenth century.

ALA’s Reference & User Services Association Approves New Health and Medical Reference Guidelines!

The latest version of Health and Medical Reference Guidelines, developed by the Reference Services Section’s (RSS) Health & Medical Reference Committee of ALA’s Reference & User Services Association (RUSA), was approved by the RUSA Board at the ALA annual conference in June, 2015. These guidelines are for all information services staff, regardless of questions or library type. Health and Medical Reference refers to questions that pertain to any aspect of health, medicine, or biomedicine, including but not limited to consumer health, patient health, public health, environmental health, complementary and alternative medicine, biomedical research, and clinical medicine.

The purpose of these guidelines is to assist staff in responding to health or medical inquiries. For staff who rarely answer medical questions, the Guidelines are intended to assist staff to be prepared and feel confident that they are providing the best possible response. For staff who regularly answer medical questions, the Guidelines are intended to ensure that reference skills are well-rounded.

Designing Questionnaires for the Mobile Age

How does your web survey look on a handheld device? The Pew Research Center reported that 27% of respondents to one of its recent surveys answered using a smartphone, and another 8% used a tablet. That means over one-third of participants used handheld devices to answer the questionnaire. The lesson learned is unless you are absolutely sure your respondents will be using a computer, you need to design surveys with mobile devices in mind. As a public opinion polling organization, the Pew Center knows effective practices in survey research. It offers advice on developing questionnaires for handhelds in its article Tips for Creating Web Surveys for Completion on a Mobile Device. The top suggestion is to be sure your survey software is optimized for smartphones and tablets. SurveyMonkey fits this criterion, as do many other popular Web survey applications.

Software alone will not automatically create surveys that are usable on handheld devices. It is also important to follow effective design principles, such as keeping it simple and using short question formats. Avoid matrix-style questions. Keep the length of your survey short. And don’t get fancy with questionnaires which include logos and icons, which take longer to load on smart devices. It is also advisable to pilot test questionnaires on computers, smartphones, and tablets, to be sure to offer a smooth user experience to all of your respondents.

HHS Education and Training Resources on Multiple Chronic Conditions for the Health Care Workforce

New training material to help provide health care professionals with education necessary to care for people living with multiple chronic conditions was launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The HHS Education and Training Resources on Multiple Chronic Conditions (MCC) for the Healthcare Workforce materials –a first of their kind– were created by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, in collaboration with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Through these new resources, HHS seeks to bolster interprofessional education and training materials for health professions students, faculty, practitioners, direct care workers, and patients and their families that address the care of persons with multiple chronic conditions. In addition, health professions education focuses on caring for patients with a single disease rather than those with multiple chronic conditions.

The resources are available online and include:

FEMA Launches New Data Visualization Tool

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) launched a new data visualization tool that enables users to see when and where disaster declarations have occurred across the country. The data visualization tool allows users to view and interact with a wide array of FEMA data. Through an interactive platform, users can view the history of disaster declarations by hazard type or year and the financial support provided to states, tribes and territories, and access public datasets for further research and analysis. On the site, you can see compelling visual representations of federal grant data as it relates to fire, preparedness, mitigation, individual assistance and public assistance.

Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research: He Huliau 2015 Conference in Honolulu

The Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research, Department of Native Hawaiian Health’s He Huliau 2015 Conference will be held on September 12, 2015, at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Honolulu, HI. The conference theme is Native Hawaiian Health: Looking Back as We Move Forward. Objectives include integrating the knowledge of past foundations in Native Hawaiian health into their practice; implementing culturally models of health care service and delivery in improving the health and wellness of Native Hawaiians; and integrating into the efforts of the existing programs in workforce development for culturally competent providers. This program should be of interest to physicians, physicians-in-training, social scientists, nurses and health care providers who serve Native and Pacific populations. The program brochure and registration information are available on the conference website. Early registration ends on August 28, 2015.

Medicare Facebook Page Launched!

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Medicare and Medicaid, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just launched the official Medicare Facebook page, which will serve as an informational resource for those who will soon enroll in Medicare and people currently on Medicare. The Medicare and Medicaid programs were signed into law on July 30, 1965, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. For 50 years, these programs have been protecting the health and well-being of millions of American families, saving lives, and improving the economic security of our nation. Though Medicare and Medicaid started as basic insurance programs for Americans who didn’t have health insurance, they have changed over the years to provide more and more Americans with access to the quality and affordable health care they need.

During the summer of 2015, CMS will mark the anniversary of these programs by recognizing the ways in which these programs have transformed the nation’s health care system over the past five decades. Use the following resources to help spread the word!

Hashtags:

  • #KeepingUpWithGrandma
  •  #Medicare
  • #KeepingUSHealthy

Medicare 50th anniversary pages:

New Report from US-México Border Health Commission: Healthy Border 2020

U.S.-México Border Health Commission has released a new report, Healthy Border (HB) 2020 (PDF). HB 2020 is a binational initiative that focuses on the public health issues prevalent among binational border populations and establishes the Commission’s border regional agenda on health promotion and disease prevention. HB 2020 comprises measurable and binationally relevant goals and objectives that bring together key regional partners to develop and support policy change and culturally appropriate, evidence-based interventions. It addresses five public health priorities of binational concern, including chronic and degenerative diseases; infectious diseases; maternal and child health; mental health and addiction; and injury prevention. These priorities reflect the work of a diverse group of public health professionals, academicians, and other border stakeholders and organizations assembled to serve as a border binational technical work group tasked to develop a binational strategic plan that border stakeholders can use to coordinate public health responses at the binational, state, and local levels.

The main purpose of HB 2020 is to provide a framework for border region public health goals and the actions needed to improve the health of U.S. and México border residents. This is aligned with the Commission’s mission to provide international leadership that optimizes health and quality of life along the U.S.-México border. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the México Secretariat of Health, as integral to the structure of the U.S.-México Border Health Commission, support this initiative with the goal of eliminating health disparities and improving the quality of life of all border region residents.

Call for Applications: AAHSL 2015-2016 New Directors Symposium

The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) has announced its call for applications for the 2015-2016 New Directors Symposium, to take place from November 2015 through May 2016. It is designed to help new directors be successful as leaders in their institutions and to enhance familiarity with the community of their AAHSL peers. The Symposium includes sessions on administrative skills, meetings with leadership of selected organizations, and opportunities for discussion among newly appointed and experienced directors. It is an opportunity for new directors to learn more about leading AAHSL libraries in times of great change, and to forge connections with colleagues and leaders in the field. Directors having permanent or interim appointments since January 2014 are invited to apply. For earliest consideration, applications should be received by July 27, 2015.

This is the fourth time AAHSL will offer its Symposium, which has been praised by past participants for its rich content and for connecting new permanent and interim directors to a professional community that will contribute to their success at their own institutions and as members of AAHSL. The format of the symposium will be a series of events over a six-month period and will combine virtual meetings with in-person meetings. The in-person meetings will be held in conjunction with annual AAMC and MLA conferences to make attendance more feasible for participants. There will be no registration fee for the Symposium, but participants are expected to pay their own travel and MLA registration costs. Anyone interested in participating in the Symposium should apply electronically by submitting a curriculum vitae and letter of application to office@aahsl.org. Questions about the Symposium may be directed to Carol Jenkins, AAHSL Leadership Program Director, or Tania Bardyn, Future Leadership Committee Chair.