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Data Sciences Learning: Online and In-Person Opportunities

Several online and in-person training opportunities can help jump-start your learning of data science topics. Some of the short courses and intensive training programs listed below are offered in conjunction with NIH Big Data To Knowledge (BD2K) initiative programs. BD2K is a trans-NIH initiative established to enable biomedical research as a digital research enterprise, to facilitate discovery and support new knowledge, and to maximize community engagement. Read more »

NIH Request for Information Yields Important Public Input on the Value of NLM Products and Services

In January of 2015 NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, formed a working group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) for the purpose of reviewing the programs of the NLM and making recommendations for a vision for the library that would ensure its continued role as an international leader in biomedical and health information. In carrying out its charge, the working group issued a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public input regarding NLM. The RFI was active from February 13 to March 13, 2015, with 650 respondents providing feedback. At NLM’s September 17, 2015, Board of Regents meeting, Dr. Barbara Rapp, Chief, Office of Planning and Analysis, summarized the responses to the NIH RFI. She found that comments were submitted from across the broad range of NLM users, including medical librarians; researchers in biomedicine, biomedical informatics and computational biology; clinical, public health, and emergency response practitioners; historians; health information technology developers; journal publishers; and educators. Read more »

Network Members in the Spotlight!

We would like to recognize the following network members by highlighting their accomplishments, promotions, awards, new positions, and departures. We welcome your submissions for possible future announcements! Read more »

Native Voices in the Southwest: Traveling Exhibit Visits Tucson!

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

Collage of attendees at the Native Voices in the Southwest Conference

The University of Arizona Health Sciences Library (UAHSL) hosted the very successful Native Voices in the Southwest Conference, a two-day event held in October, 2015, featuring the National Library of Medicine’s Native Voices traveling exhibit. The Conference provided time and space to discuss and learn more about health, wellness, and medicine among Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. The event was launched with an insightful talk given by a panel of Native American health care professionals, highlighting Native American Culture in Patient- Centered Care. During lunch, attendees were treated with the opportunity to meet Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg, National Library of Medicine Director Emeritus, who provided an insightful talk, illuminating his progressive vision for the world’s largest biomedical library, and how he foresaw the important role that information technology would play. The day concluded with a screening and discussion about the film, Carlos Montezuma: Changing Is Not Vanishing, about a Native American Arizonan physician in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The second day of the Conference featured opportunities to have additional interactions with Dr. Lindberg, including a Q&A session and informal conversations held on both the University of Arizona health science and general academic campuses. These casual moments gave students, faculty and staff the opportunity to meet this groundbreaking professional “up close and personal” and learn more about this highly influential and innovative leader. The Native Voices exhibit was on display at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Library from August 24 through December 8, 2015, attracting many community members and increasing the visibility of the library.

New Monograph Available: “The Medical Library Association Guide to Answering Questions about the Affordable Care Act”

Cover of the MLA guide to answering questions about the ACA book

In March of 2010, federal legislation known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law, but it wasn’t until June of 2013 that public libraries fell into the spotlight and became the go-to community place for information related to health care reform. During the 2013 American Library Association annual conference, President Obama issued a call to librarians to assist the community and the nation at large with ACA-related health insurance questions. The only problem was that there was no playbook, no reference text with ready answers. What ensued was a time of mass confusion, misinformation in the media, and bumpy roll-outs of the federal and state health care exchanges. Librarians and staff stepped up to the challenge, learning and doing as they went along. Libraries opened their doors to the public, partnered with community organizations, hosted enrollment events, and assisted as best they could with the information they had at the time.

Luckily, librarians now have a resource with much-needed information at their fingertips in the new book, The Medical Library Association Guide to Answering Questions about the Affordable Care Act, published by Rowman & Littlefield in October, 2015. The Affordable Care Act has stood up to legal challenges and attempts to overturn it, and information is still needed as new provisions to the law take effect. Thus, ACA-related library services remain in high demand. The book is a practical guide for reference librarians and front-line staff who continue to receive questions about the ACA.

The book was edited by Emily Vardell, teaching fellow at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapter authors were chosen for their experience and expertise with the topics, and all together the authors have woven together a guidebook that will be very useful for anyone tasked with responding to health insurance and ACA reference questions. I co-authored two chapters of the book, “The Health Insurance Reference Question: A Step-by-Step Approach,” and “Recommended ACA Resources for Patients and the General Public.”

The ACA is a complicated law with many facets. Librarians may be faced with questions about the law itself, tax implications, or health insurance options. Questions may come from individuals and small business owners, health practitioners, or those who are interested for other reasons. With all this in mind, the book sets the stage with an overview of the ACA, and then segues into topics related to the role of the librarian, health insurance literacy, and the reference interview. Current and best practices are covered in detail, and the book concludes with chapters covering recommended resources for consumers and practitioners.

In summary, this Guide simplifies the complex topic of the ACA into manageable pieces. It provides the necessary information for readers to provide relevant services, improve their own health insurance literacy, and acquire skills for helping library users find and utilize quality health insurance information.

NN/LM PSR Welcomes 2016 Winter Quarter Intern: Kendra Godwin

Kendra Godwin

Hello, my name is Kendra Godwin and I am the intern this quarter for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine – Pacific Southwest Region. I am excited to learn from the experienced staff here at the Regional Medical Library and to explore all the ways they serve and communicate with the region.

Currently I am a second-year Master of Library and Information Science student within the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. My interests are varied and rooted in the three specialties of the degree: health sciences librarianship within an academic setting, archives as they relate to the history of medicine, and informatics within the cross section of data management and the health sciences.

I am passionate about how information is collected, shared, and discovered. During this internship I hope to draw from my classes as well as my practical experience as a Public Service Assistant at the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library. My primary task for the quarter is to create a data management LibGuide for the region based on the data management needs assessment conducted during the fall 2015 quarter. I also plan to develop a Moodle course based on this resource.

My internship will challenge me to examine, question, and synthesize a wealth of data management resources developed by individuals, universities and institutions, and other NN/LM regions. While experiences like this are integral to my professional growth, my greatest hope is to develop a resource that many of you will find clear and useful.

We are in a fascinating time both for medicine and libraries, and I am looking forward to this opportunity!

New NN/LM PSR Resource Library Director Profile: Marcus A. Banks, University of California, Davis

by Marcus A. Banks, MLIS
Head, Blaisdell Medical Library
University of California, Davis
Sacramento, CA

It is a pleasure to return to the Pacific Southwest Region, following previous positions as the Director of the John A. Graziano Memorial Library at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, as well as the Manager of Education and Research Services at the University of California, San Francisco Library. My new position at the University of California, Davis (UCD) returns me to the University of California (UC) system. In addition to these positions, I have been active in the Northern California and Nevada Medical Library Group (NCNMLG), including service as Chapter President from 2009-2010. So this is a homecoming in many ways. Read more »

NN/LM PSR Membership Changes

As 2015 draws to a close, we would like to provide you with a year-end update of membership changes in the Pacific Southwest Region. Since our last membership update in June 2015, we have welcomed 2 new full members to the network. Several membership changes are also noted in this article. Read more »

MLA’s 2015 Fall Educational Webcast Series

Thank you to all the host sites that made MLA’s 2015 Fall Educational Webcast Series a success! The following webcasts were sponsored: Read more »

Interpretations and Insights of the 2015 NN/LM PSR Data Management Needs Assessment

Thanks to everyone who participated in our 2015 Data Management Needs Assessment! Over 100 responses were received, which was an excellent response rate considering the specialized nature of the topic. We believe that these results show a significant acknowledgement that data management needs and assistance are currently an area worthy of educational programming and support. In addition, many respondents reported that they were in the process of developing data management services. Your feedback will be a great help in developing materials to help provide guidance with your data management needs! Read more »