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Health Information “Flowing Out”

by Yamila El-Khayat, MALS
Outreach Services Librarian, Arizona Health Sciences Library
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

I recently presented training in Chinle, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation. Chinle is located in the far northeastern corner of the state, in Apache County, and is roughly a seven-hour drive from Tucson. In Navajo, Chinle means “Flowing Out,” a reference to the location where the water flows out of the Canyon de Chelly, which explains why I chose the title for this article. The session occurred this past summer, when I had the opportunity to travel to Chinle to provide training for 20 public health nurses, who received a three-hour presentation covering searching techniques, PubMed, the Arizona Health Information Network (AZHIN), and other open source resources.

Image of Canyon de Chelly

Patricia Bradley, from the University of New Mexico, had been exhibiting at a conference in New Mexico and encountered a gentleman who was very interested in the resources she was demonstrating. She offered the possibility of providing training opportunities, which would include sources of trustworthy health information. He mentioned that he was from Chinle, Arizona, and that he thought it was quite unlikely that she could do training in another state, but Pat told him he was wrong. She said that she had colleagues in the state of Arizona who would partner with her, and together they would put together a presentation for his group, and that is how the training session developed.

Subsequently Pat Bradley and I met to talk about what resources we should offer to this particular group, and the idea of introducing AZHIN came up because they do have AZHIN resources. We structured our presentation starting with basic searching skills, how to use Boolean operators to narrow searches and other basics; then Brooke Billman, the Arizona Health Sciences Library AZHIN librarian, had a presentation on those resources. I followed that with a session providing more detail about PubMed searching, and then Brooke introduced the group to CINAHL. The presentation ended with open source resources, that Pat Bradley shared with the group.

The nurses were truly engaged by our presentation and commented that this information could prove very useful in the daily work they do. A few of them didn’t realize that medical librarians could come to them to provide trainings like this for outside groups. Others mentioned that it would be great to involve medical librarians more with community events like health fairs, and possibly working with schools to increase health literacy in the community. Some nurses were interested in more in-depth presentations on PubMed and My NCBI. I have maintained contact with this group in Chinle, and am in the process of planning additional presentations and activities for the future!

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