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Arizona Outreach Highlights for 2012-2013!

by Jeanette L. Ryan, Deputy Director, and
Yamila El-Khayat, Outreach Services Librarian
Arizona Health Sciences Library
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

We are very grateful to NN/LM PSR for supporting a cooperative outreach award for Arizona. It is critical in our efforts to provide programs to a variety of audiences in Arizona and to respond to needs in a timely manner. Our goals for Arizona are to improve health literacy and access to accurate health information statewide. We aim to facilitate access to high quality, current, and reliable health information through training, consultation, and collaboration. Specifically we specialize in presenting training and workshops around the state that assist librarians, health professionals, K-12 students, and members of the public become more effective users of the Internet and electronic resources.

Promotoras posing for a picture

High school students learning about health information

During the past year our focus was on high school students, promotoras, and public health workers. In the case of the high school students, we are typically invited by a teacher who is doing a class which culminates in a research project on a health or medical topic. We begin by discussing the importance of identifying reliable sources when searching for health information and the differences between consumer health information, when we introduce them to MedlinePlus; and biomedical literature, when we show them PubMed. Students are also introduced to the differences between an article in the popular literature and a peer-reviewed article, along with an explanation of Boolean logic to help search different databases. Finally there is discussion about the topics students are researching. The teachers are thrilled with what we present! We provided this kind of presentation at six high schools, reaching 95 students.

Ft. Defiance Indian Hospital

We are in the third year of delivering a program for promotoras, also known as community health workers, in Arizona. The promotoras are lay health workers, who assist individuals in their local communities to bridge the gap between modern medicine and local cultures and languages. Our partners in this endeavor are the University of Arizona College of Medicine Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs, and the Arizona Community Health Outreach Workers Network (AZCHOW). This is a six to eight week program involving two in-person sessions and 4-6 webinars. Sessions are provided in English and Spanish, and include several topics such as basic computer skills, introduction to WebEx, evaluating web sites, MedlinePlus and other trustworthy web sites, health calculators and tools, social media, Google, health fairs, and grant writing. At the last in-person session, participants present the PowerPoint slides they worked on throughout the program.

Yamila El-Khayat and Annabelle Nunez with Mr. and Ms. Skeletoni

In our visits to the Chinle Comprehensive Care Center and the Fort Defiance Indian Hospital on the Navajo Nation in Northern Arizona and New Mexico, connections were made with public health nurses and workers on the Navajo Nation. Participants were introduced to basic research skills, an in-depth look at PubMed and how to search this database by using limits, and My NCBI and its advanced features. The groups were familiar with PICO and were particularly pleased to find out all the ways their search results could be narrowed with limits! The University of New Mexico Native Health Database and other free health information sites were also discussed. We partnered with Pat Bradley from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center in the planning and delivery of these presentations.

We believe one of the keys to our success is statewide visibility. We exhibit at community events, health fairs, school events, health professions conferences, and health professions recruiting fairs, where we promote medical librarianship as a career! We participate in the state library’s webinars, and this year have done programs with the public libraries in Chandler and Pima County. We are visible where teachers are, such as the Arizona State Science and Engineering Fair, the UA Teachers Day, and meetings of the Joint Technical Education District, comprised of several school districts in Pima County. Our partners are critical to our success, because they know what their clientele needs, and we work with them to develop a program that meets the needs of the audience(s) they serve.

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