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An interview with Joe Pozdol, UCLA MLIS Graduate Student and NN/LM PSR Intern

Joe PozdolEditor’s Note: We are delighted to have an intern in our offices this Fall Quarter. Joe Pozdol is a Masters student in Information Studies at UCLA. Unlike most of his peers who came from non-science backgrounds, Joe received his undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He initially came to UCLA to do research in molecular biology, but decided he wanted an opportunity to use science outside of the laboratory setting and has chosen to pursue a career in medical librarianship. While interning in our offices, Joe has worked under the direction of Kay Deeney, NN/LM PSR Education Coordinator. In this article, Kay interviews Joe about his work.

Kay: Tell me about your work here at UCLA outside of the Department of Information Studies.
Joe: In addition to my undergraduate studies, a number of experiences here at UCLA have given me knowledge I am using here at NN/LM PSR. To start, I have taken a number of science courses at the graduate level including genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology. All of these classes provided me with background in experimental design that I use to help search and interpret the jargon-heavy scientific literature. Although there is no set track of courses at UCLA for medical librarians, a number were recommended to me after I began the program. There is a health information class that gives an overview of the kinds of sources a health reference librarian would encounter as well as the distinct groups of users. I also took an epidemiology survey course which helped me become more familiar with the types of studies done in public health.

Kay: You have some interesting volunteer experience. What have you learned from this?
Joe: In addition to coursework, I have learned more about medical information by volunteering at the UCLA and Santa Monica Medical Centers on weekends to learn more about the medical atmosphere. Through the Care Extender Program, I have worked with patients, nurses, and doctors in the following departments: Labor and Delivery, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatrics, Post Partum, and Radiology. Talking to medical professionals has given me a better understanding of the information needs of this user group and the resources most used by clinicians.

Kay: You also have some interesting teaching experience. Please tell me about it.
Joe: Because of my interest in science, and as a way to help support my graduate education, I am a teaching assistant for undergraduate biology classes. To date, I have taught animal behavior, ecology, evolution, genetics, and molecular biology. My students have ranged from first-years to those who are about to graduate. Teaching undergraduates at all levels has caused me to think more about the information literacy deficiencies of students and what librarians can do to best serve this population.

Kay: Your internship project is proceeding exceptionally well. Please tell our readers about your project.
Joe: At the PSR, I am working on the development of an online course on genetics resources that is geared toward physicians and nurses. To date, I am planning to cover OMIM, GeneTests, PubMed, Genetics Home Reference, MedlinePlus, and ClinicalTrials.gov. The goal is to give health professionals a better understanding of the types of genetics tools that are freely available to them and their patients. I plan to write an article for Latitudes about the online class after it takes place.

Kay: What have you learned during your time at NN/LM PSR?
Joe: I have developed a better understanding of the role NN/LM PSR plays in promoting the use and knowledge of National Library of Medicine resources. I have also learned how to create an online class and carry out all the steps necessary for implementation, from planning to pilot testing to evaluation. By attending meetings, a conference, and visiting NLM, I now have a better feel for the kinds of issues that come up in medical librarianship and the types of projects that are currently out there.

Kay: What kinds of people would benefit most from doing an internship here?
Joe: Independent people who like to have freedom to create and manage projects will like it here. Those who are willing to try new ideas, enjoy computer work, and have a desire to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes of an organization that works with medical librarians on a large scale will get a lot out of an experience at NN/LM PSR.

Kay: Would you recommend NN/LM PSR to future interns?
Joe: Yes, I would definitely recommend NN/LM PSR as a site for potential interns. During my time here, all of the staff have been friendly and supportive and clearly enjoy what they do. The members of NN/LM PSR display a strong passion for their organization’s mission and go out of their way to promote the field of medical librarianship and welcome newcomers to the profession.

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