PSR Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) Meeting Held at UCLA!
On Wednesday, March 27, 2013, a meeting of the NN/LM PSR Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) was convened at the UCLA Faculty Center. The committee had not met as a large group for several years, so the membership was completely reconstituted and revitalized! Fifteen committee members, representing the constituencies served by the RML, attended the meeting, along with RML staff. Composition of the committee includes health professionals, hospital librarians, academic librarians, school and public librarians, community college librarians, community health librarians, and community-based organization representatives. A complete list of RAC members, along with minutes and presentation slides of the 3/27/13 meeting, are available on the NN/LM PSR web site.
The session began with introductions, followed by an overview of NN/LM mission, goals, structure, and funding. Next came a summary of RML program objectives, including key activities in Network services and outreach. The cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of the region was also highlighted. Trends and recent developments in Network membership were presented, including the marked decrease in DOCLINE and Loansome Doc usage since 2002. The introduction concluded with a review of the various PSR communication channels; including blogs, email announcement list, Facebook page, and Twitter feed, with examples of blog usage statistics showing sample counts of readership traffic. Various resources and tools used to gather potential Twitter posts or “Tweets,” such as NLM Netvibes, MedlinePlus.gov and Healthfinder.gov, were also presented. This was followed by a discussion among all attendees of their usage of social media strategies to promote their institutional programs and services.
The next two presentations focused on major outreach projects in Arizona and Nevada. Yamila El-Khayat, Outreach Services Librarian at the Arizona Health Sciences Library, in Tucson, highlighted activities during 2012, including the e-promotoras training program, Teacher Day at the University of Arizona, the Tucson Festival of Books, and the VIDA Mujer Latina Breast Cancer Conference. She also summarized her involvement working with K-12 audiences. Terry Henner, Director of the Savitt Medical Library, at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Reno, highlighted his needs assessment activities directed towards health professionals in rural and frontier areas of the state. He also described the development of a patient education web portal, Project Echo Nevada.
The remainder of the day focused on thirty-minute presentations and discussions related to the four national NN/LM initiatives and associated Task Force activities implemented in 2011; community college outreach, K-12 outreach, promotion of MedlinePlus Connect, and promotion of ClinicalTrials.gov Results. Each group is essentially using the same process as a strategy to accomplish their goals; define the audience, learn about the target community’s needs, articulate desired outcomes, track and evaluate outreach efforts, identify best practices, and share findings. The presentations included updates about the latest Task Force activities, and plans for the future. RAC members were presented with a group discussion question for each of the initiatives, to get input and suggestions about the most effective outreach strategies for each audience. In every case, there was a lively discussion, generating many excellent ideas to share with each Task Force’s membership.
By the end of the day, it was clear that the group had developed synergy, and many networking ties had been established. Each RAC participant was asked to name one follow-up activity they would like to conduct. A number of attendees mentioned further investigating MedlinePlus Connect and ClinicalTrials.gov Results. Also noted were potential ramifications of the Affordable Care Act, particularly new public health regulations requiring community benefit assessments for non-profit hospitals. Potential contacts at Arizona community colleges and San Francisco City College were also suggested, as well as several future Midday at the Oasis topics. One participant planned to write a feature article for the Nevada Library Association Newsletter. Several people said they would begin following the NN/LM PSR Twitter feed! Also mentioned was potential sponsorship of a Science Boot Camp for the region.
As an indication of the success of the meeting, Yamila El-Khayat from Arizona Health Sciences Library, sent the following comments shortly afterwards: “As a first time attendee of the 2013 NN/LM-PSR RAC (National Network of Libraries of Medicine – Pacific Southwest Region Regional Advisory Committee), I felt that the need for this type of meeting was very necessary and valuable. The connections made with others in the region and hearing about the work that is being done was incredible. Listening first hand to staff members from this regional library about the work and efforts being put into different initiatives really gave me new insights and ideas of possible future programs that can be done in partnership. Meetings like these help stir positive thoughts for future programming to help increase the knowledge of the resources that are available!”
The RAC membership will be maintained for the duration of the current RML contract, which ends April 30, 2016. Another in-person meeting of the group will be held in the spring of 2015 or 2016. In the meantime, periodic teleconferences will be held for the committee to provide feedback and advice as work progresses on the NN/LM national initiatives.