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National Medical Librarians Month 2011

October is National Medical Librarians Month (NMLM)! Highlighting the fact that medical librarians are the best resource when searching for health information, this year’s NMLM theme is “Medical Librarians: Your Ultimate Search Engine.” In honor of this event, the National Library of Medicine and the RML are celebrating the contributions of medical librarians by promoting Network member outreach projects. The National Library of Medicine has published a new web page featuring the noteworthy work of medical librarians in all NN/LM regions. Congratulations to the four PSR librarians that were highlighted!

2011 National Medical Librarians Month Poster

Rebecca Birr from the Maricopa Integrated Health System Library in Phoenix, AZ for “Breast Cancer Health Information Project.”

The Breast Cancer Health Information Project impacted ethnically diverse, low-income, and impoverished women who recently received a breast cancer diagnosis. The Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) Library collaborated with a multi-disciplinary team of health care professionals to create bilingual (English and Spanish) brochures, posters, videos, and a website containing breast cancer education information. The content was created at a 4th-6th grade reading level to accommodate those with low literacy levels and the Spanish materials were reviewed for accuracy and cultural sensitivity. The brochure and video provided information about breast cancer, how it is diagnosed, and treatment options. Patients viewed the educational video at MIHS’ Family Learning Center and were provided a DVD of the video and the breast cancer brochure to share with their families. Learning of a cancer diagnosis is generally a very emotional and confusing time and patients appreciated the information provided to them through this project.

Min-Lin Fang from the University of California, San Francisco, Library and Center for Knowledge Management for “Consumer Health Initiatives for Asian and Hispanic Communities in California.”

The Consumer Health Initiatives for Asian and Hispanic Communities in California project targeted Asian immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hispanic American migrant workers and socio-economically disadvantaged people in Los Angeles and the Central San Joaquin Valley, and the health care providers that serve these populations. MedlinePlus was promoted to patients and providers at the Rural Area Medical Free Clinics in Los Angeles, which provide free medical, dental, and vision care to uninsured people. UCSF Library for Knowledge Management also collaborated with the Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation (Tzu Chi) and the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy Middle School (MLK) to provide two underserved and disadvantaged populations with equipment to access online health information. MedlinePlus workshops were held for the 8th grade science class at MLK, and MedlinePlus and PubMed workshops were held for health care professionals at Tzu Chi. The resources were well received by all audiences and training will continue at these locations.

Joy Graham from San Francisco General Hospital, Barnett Briggs Medical Library in San Francisco, CA for “Text-A-Librarian in an Under-Connected Hospital.”

The Text-A-Librarian in an Under-Connected Hospital project was undertaken in response to the lack of computer and internet access for San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) nurses. Since the nurses were unable to access the SFGH Barnett Briggs Medical Library’s online resources, the Library created a SMS text message reference service. The service was so well received that it later expanded to support all SFGH patients and staff, San Francisco General primary care clinic staff, and San Francisco Department of Public Health employees. The Text-A-Librarian project was heavily promoted to its audience through in-person outreach, a newsletter article, podcast, shuttle advertising, and numerous promotional materials. The publicity for this project brought the Library greater visibility and involvement in hospital activities, including increased demand for training and invitations to participate in shared governance committees. The project also reaffirmed that the library staff were technologically savvy and skilled at researching complex clinical topics.

Yi Gong from American University of Health Sciences Library in Signal Hill, CA for “Youth Enrichment in Science/Junior Nurse Program.”

The Youth Enrichment in Science/Junior Nurse Program reached out to Hispanic American, African American, and Cambodian American youth in Signal Hill, CA, located in southwestern Los Angeles County. American University of Health Sciences (AUHS) Library and AUHS nursing students held a series of bilingual (English and Spanish) conventions at Signal Hill Elementary School where 4th and 5th grade students learned basic health knowledge in a hands-on environment, were introduced to MedlinePlus, shared experiences about nurses, and were encouraged to get involved in the medical and science fields. After the conventions, many of the students became attracted to the medical field and will attend a follow-up convention on the AUHS campus with their parents. This program will be expanded to other elementary schools, as well as middle schools and high schools, and will feature other medical professions such as pharmacy technicians.

Kudos to everyone for a job well done!

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