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Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category

HHS Launches Healthy Young America Video Contest

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Yesterday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Young Invincibles announced the Healthy Young America video contest in an effort to inform young people about health insurance coverage and new options under the Affordable Care Act.  People can submit entries and vote for their favorite videos at

The Affordable Care Act is making health care more affordable and accessible for 19 million uninsured young adults across the country. Young Invincibles and the Department of HHS have created this competition “to tap into the creativity and energy of young Americans while raising awareness about the new law and encouraging young people to take advantage of the benefits of health insurance.”

Videos can be submitted during the five-week period starting on Monday, August 19th. A public voting period will follow to help determine the Finalists in each category, and a final round of voting and judging will determine who takes home the Grand Prize. The contest features a prize pool worth up to $30,000 and over 100 prizes to be awarded in three categories: You Are Not Invincible, Perform a Song! and Animation. More information, including requirements and important dates for submission can be found at the Healthy Young America website. There is even an Early Bird prize which will go to the best video submitted by September 2nd.

More information is also available from the HHS Press Release on August 19, 2013.

videocontest_banner_HealthyYoung America

Do You Know Your Microbiome?

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Microbes“Not so long ago, most people thought that the only good microbe was a dead microbe. But then scientists started to realize that even though some bugs can make us sick and even kill us, most don’t. In fact, in the past decade attitudes about the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes living all over our bodies has almost completely turned around. Now scientists say that not only are those microbes often not harmful, we can’t live without them.”

These words, from a recent feature story on National Public Radio, “Staying Healthy May Mean Learning to Love Our Microbiomes,” are part of the rationale behind the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Microbiome Project (HMP). “The vast majority of them are beneficial and actually essential to health,” says Lila Proctor, program director for the HMP. The project is identifying microbes on key body parts, including the nose, gut, mouth and skin, in order to get a better sense of the microbes’ role in human health. While scientists have known for a long time that humans depend on microbes to digest food, there is a growing realization that they’re really like an “11th organ system.”

This week, scientists from NIH and research institutions are gathering in Bethesda, MD, to discuss to discuss the human microbiome and its relationship to disease and human health, including obesity, behavior, heart disease and cancer. Human Micorbiome Science: Vision for the Future, takes place July 24 – 26, 2013. The meeting will also be broadcast live.

This expanding view of the microbiome is changing how some people think about humans — not as individual entities but as what Rosamond Rhodes, philosopher  and bioethecists calls a “supraorganism.”

Upcoming Webinar Libraries & Health Insurance: Preparing for October 1

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 will host a webinar on Friday, July 26, 2013 from11:00 a.m – 12:00 noon CT, regarding plans to provide library staff with resources to respond to increased patron information needs related to the Affordable Care Act. This webinar will present similar information to what was covered during a session at the American Library Association annual conference in June, as well as newly available details.

Currently, registration for this event is full, but the session will be archived for future viewing. For more information, visit:

For more information about the ACA and the role of libraries, see: .
Health Insurance Marketplace: Have health insurance questions? Get Quick Answers

Patient Safety Primers Available from AHRQ

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

MD writing on Chart

Patient safety in hospitals is a topic important to everyone, but it can be difficult to understand all of the issues involved. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Patient Safety Network provides a series of Patient Safety Primers to guide people through key concepts in patient safety:

There are over 20 Primers available.  Some of the topics are:

  • Adverse Events after Hospital Discharge: Nearly 20% of patients experience an adverse event in the first 3 weeks after discharge, including medication errors, health care–associated infections, and procedural complications.
  • Checklists: Though a seemingly simple intervention, checklists have played a leading role in the most significant successes of the patient safety movement, including the near-elimination of central line–associated bloodstream infections in many intensive care units.
  • Diagnostic Errors: Thousands of patients die every year due to diagnostic errors. While clinicians’ cognitive biases play a role in many diagnostic errors, underlying health care system problems also contribute to missed and delayed diagnoses.
  • Disruptive and Unprofessional Behavior:  Popular media often depicts physicians as brilliant, intimidating, and condescending in equal measures. This stereotype obscures the fact that disruptive and unprofessional behavior by clinicians poses a definite threat to patient safety.
  • Error Disclosure: Many victims of medical errors never learn of the mistake, because the error is simply not disclosed. Physicians have traditionally shied away from discussing errors with patients, due to fear of precipitating a malpractice lawsuit and embarrassment and discomfort with the disclosure process.
  • Nursing and Patient Safety: Nurses play a critical role in patient safety through their constant presence at patient’s bedside. However, staffing issues and suboptimal working conditions can impede nurses’ ability to detect and prevent adverse events.
  • Wrong-Site, Wrong-Procedure, and Wrong-Patient Surgery: Few medical errors are as terrifying as those that involve patients who have undergone surgery on the wrong body part, undergone the incorrect procedure, or had a procedure intended for another patient.

Patients also have a part to play in ensuring that they have safe healthcare, as described in the following Primer:

  • The Role of the Patient in Safety: Efforts to engage patients in safety efforts have focused on three areas: enlisting patients in detecting adverse events, empowering patients to ensure safe care, and emphasizing patient involvement as a means of improving the culture of safety.

Would you like to know more?  Go here for the complete list of Patient Safety Primers

Librarians and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been much in the news recently, and, in fact, received a great deal of press at the recent American Library Association Annual Conference (ALA) held June 28 – July 2 in Chicago. It is becoming evident that libraries, particularly public libraries, will be called upon to serve a role in the rollout of the ACA. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has been in conversations with several government agencies regarding this role, which continues to develop. A panel presented at ALA, “Libraries & Health Insurance”, was presented by Jackie Garner, Medicaid consortium administrator; Susan Hildreth, director of Institute of Museum and Library Services; Ruth Holst, associate director at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Kendra Morgan, senior program manager, OCLC WebJunction . For more information about the ACA and the Role of Libraries, see: .

For the present, key points to know include: is the primary website for information about the Affordable Care Act. This site includes questions and answers, videos, and will have links to a toll free call center in many languages, as well as links to actual forms.

MedlinePlus has numerous links to information about the ACA under the “Health Insurance” Health Topics page.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released two discussion papers related to the ACA: “Helping Consumers Understand and Use Health Insurance in 2014″ and “Let’s Ask 4: Questions for Consumers and Providers About Health Insurance”

Libraries and information providers are encouraged to link users to information provided by In anticipation of the upcoming open enrollment period, has created several widgets and badges in English and Spanish to quickly link website visitors to additional information.  Code for the widgets and badges is provided and can quickly be added to websites such as demonstrated in the example below.

Health Insurance Marketplace: Have health insurance questions? Get Quick Answers

SCR Programs at ALA in Chicago

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Cheryl Presenting in Oklahoma

If you’re going to the ALA (American Library Association) conference this weekend, attend these programs with NN/LM SCR panelists!

Different Strokes: Serving the Health Information Needs of a Diverse Community (RUSA RSS Health and Medical Reference Committee & ACRL)
Sunday, June 30, 2013 – 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Medical and health questions at the reference desk can be loaded with unspoken meanings, especially when the patron has different cultural or physical attributes than the librarians. Panelists in this program will include librarians with expertise in providing medical information to patrons who are from different cultures, speak different languages, are disabled or have literacy issues. Attendees will learn about health issues facing diverse populations, and resources to assist them in providing reference services.
SCR Presenter: Cheryl Rowan, Consumer Health Coordinator

ACRL Health Sciences Interest Group Meeting
Sunday, June 30, 2013 – 8:30am to 11:30am
As part of the meeting, Karen Vargas will do an hour-long  presentation on finding medical statistics.
SCR Presenter: Karen Vargas, Outreach and Evaluation Coordinator

There’s An App for That: The Use of Mobile Devices, Apps and Resources for Health and Sci-Tech Librarians and Their Users (ACRL STS & HSIG)
Monday, July 1, 2013 – 8:30am to 10:00am
Mobile devices are changing how library users access information, and applications (apps) for mobile devices are being released at a rapid rate. This program will discuss the range and functionality of mobile and tablet applications available to librarians and end users and how librarians can play an integral role in providing access to quality applications. The program will also address how mobile technologies can be implemented and offer a clearer understanding of the usefulness of these tools. Guidelines for using apps for teaching and assessment of available apps will be also be presented.
SCR Presenter: Emily Hurst, Technology Coordinator

And don’t forget to stop by the National Library of Medicine booth to see your NN/LM friends!


May Issue of NIH News in Health Available Online

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

activities causing concussionsCheck out the May Issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this edition:


A Bang to the Brain: What We Know About Concussions – Concussions are a type of mild brain injury, but they need to be taken seriously. Learn to recognize the causes and symptoms of concussion, and take steps to prevent head injuries.

On Sound Footing: The Health of Your Feet – Your feet are pretty small, considering they have to support the entire height and weight of your body. But they can cause big problems. So take steps to keep your feet healthy!

Health Capsules:

Spring Issue of NIH MedlinePlus Magazine Now Available

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

MedlinePlus magazineThe Spring 2013 issue of NIH MedlinePlus, the magazine, is now available online. Feature articles include:

  • Researching and Reducing the Health Burden of Stroke
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Managing Allergies
  • Spotlight on NIH Research: What Do Fats Do in the Body?

Featuring reliable up-to-date health information and the latest news from NIH-supported research, NIH MedlinePlus magazine is available free of charge. Get an email alert or free print subscription.



April Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

sleepCheck out the April 2013 issue of NIH News in Health,, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest National Institutes of Health research.


The Benefits of Slumber, Why You Need a Good Night’s Sleep,
Sleep On It, How Snoozing Strengthens Memories, 

Health Capsules:

Brain Scans Give Clues to Antidepressant’s Effects,
Living with Low Vision,
Featured Website: Inside Life Science,

Download a PDF version for printing:

March is National Nutrition Month

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

nutritious food

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition information and education campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This year’s theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” encourages personalized healthy eating styles and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices. This year is the 40th Anniversary of National Nutrition Month.

The National Nutrition Month 2013 website ( has a variety of materials for education and promotion, including a reading list, health tips, games and quizzes, and links to additional resources.

Other authoritative and up-to-date sources for nutrition information include:

MedlinePlus “Food and Nutrition” Health Topics page: page on Food, Nutrition, and Fitness: This resource features information about good nutrition, food safety, healthy meals on a budget, and more.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Nutrition page: which covers a wide range of topics related to nutrition.

Hands-on instruction on this topic is also available from the NN/LM SCR office via the newly released hands-on, in-person class: Food for Thought: Exploring Nutrition Information Resources. Check the NN/LM SCR Training Page for classes in your area or request to have it taught at your location (

There are still many days left in March, and it’s never too late to improve food choices and healthy eating habits! “Food for Thought!”