Betsy L. Humphreys was appointed the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Acting Director effective April 1, 2015, following the retirement of Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg. NLM is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health. Humphreys has served as NLM’s deputy director since 2005, sharing responsibility with the Director for overall program development, program evaluation, policy formulation, direction and coordination of all Library activities. As Deputy Director of the Library, Humphreys also coordinated NLM’s extensive activities related to health data standards, serving as US Member and founding Chair of the General Assembly of the International Health Terminology Standards Organisation. She has contributed to the development of NIH and HHS policy on a range of matters, including health information technology, public access to research results, clinical trial registration and results reporting.
Humphreys, who joined the NLM in 1973, previously led the NLM’s Library Operations Division and directed the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) project, which produces knowledge sources to support advanced processing, retrieval, and integration of information from disparate electronic information sources.
Ms. Humphreys is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, and a Fellow of the Medical Library Association. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Morris F. Collen Award of Excellence from the American College of Medical Informatics, considered the highest honor in the field of medical informatics, the Marcia C. Noyes Award, which is the Medical Library Association’s highest honor, and the first Cornerstone Award conferred by the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries.
She received a B.A. from Smith College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.L.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park.
The National Library of Medicine has announced new funding opportunities for Regional Medical Libraries and supporting offices for the 2016-2021 period of performance (NLM Announcement). This is the program helps us provide training and subcontract funding opportunities in the five state South Central Region of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas, as well as the eight full-time positions in the NN/LM South Central Region office here at The Texas Medical Center Library in Houston, Texas.
In addition to the Regional Medical Library program, NLM has announced funding opportunities for serving as one of five NN/LM national offices. These offices are the NN/LM DOCLINE Coordination Office, the NN/LM Web Services Office, the NN/LM Training Office, the NN/LM Evaluation Office, and the NN/LM Public Health Coordination Office.
All levels of governance at The Texas Medical Center Library are committed to continuing our work with the National Library of Medicine to support the biomedical information and training needs of the South Central Region. We are a consortial library serving the 56 institutions and 112,000 employees of The Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical center. We are on track to submit a strong application to continue serving as the Regional Medical Library for the South Central Region.
Jon Goodell, MA, AHIP
NN/LM South Central Region
The Texas Medical Center Library
TOXinvaders supports middle school science concepts pertaining to chemistry, the environment, and health. It can serve as an engaging classroom or homework activity for middle and high school students, as well as an entertaining learning activity for gaming aficionados of all ages. In the classroom environment, TOXinvaders works best as a supplement to NLM Tox Town, Environmental Health Student Portal, TOXMAP, and ChemIDplus Web sites.
The game consists of four fast-paced levels, in which a launcher is used to annihilate toxic chemicals falling from the sky and earn protective shield points by capturing “good chemicals.” To move on to the next level, players must take a brief quiz about the chemicals. These dynamically generated tests provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about environmental health and toxicology from the game’s chemical information sheet and from NLM Web sites. Quiz questions and answers can also serve as a starting point for classroom discussions, as well as for Tox Town, TOXMAP, and Environmental Health Student Portal activities and experiments.
The Next Generation of Access to Sequencing Data: Using NCBI’s SRA Toolkit to Access Data from dbGaP and SRA
Next Wednesday, February 25, NCBI staff will present a webinar on the SRA Toolkit (Sequence Read Archive), a system for accessing the approximately 3.4 Petabases of next-generation genomic and expressed sequence data housed in the NCBI Sequence Read Archive (SRA). As data sets become larger, mining information and performing comparisons directly from structured databases becomes increasingly necessary. The SRA Toolkit is not only capable of dumping the data out as a fastq or sam file, but also provides direct analysis and comparison from specific genomics regions across hundreds or thousands of samples.
In the webinar, we will show examples of configuration and use of the Toolkit for both public SRA and controlled access data associated with studies in the Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP).
Responses will be accepted through March 13, 2015.
This Request for Information (RFI) seeks input regarding the strategic vision for the NLM to ensure that it remains an international leader in biomedical data and health information. In particular, comments are being sought regarding the current value of and future need for NLM programs, resources, research and training efforts, and services (e.g., databases, software, collections) – collectively referred to in this RFI hereafter as “NLM elements”. Your comments can include but are not limited to the following topics:
Current NLM elements that are of the most, or least, value to the research community (including biomedical, clinical, behavioral, health services, public health, and historical researchers) and future capabilities that will be needed to support evolving scientific and technological activities and needs.
Current NLM elements that are of the most, or least, value to health professionals (e.g., those working in health care, emergency response, toxicology, environmental health, and public health) and future capabilities that will be needed to enable health professionals to integrate data and knowledge from biomedical research into effective practice.
Current NLM elements that are of most, or least, value to patients and the public (including students, teachers, and the media) and future capabilities that will be needed to ensure a trusted source for rapid dissemination of health knowledge into the public domain.
Current NLM elements that are of most, or least, value to other libraries, publishers, organizations, companies, and individuals who use NLM data, software tools, and systems in developing and providing value-added or complementary services and products and future capabilities that would facilitate the development of products and services that make use of NLM resources.
How NLM could be better positioned to help address the broader and growing challenges associated with:
Biomedical informatics, “big data”, and data science;
Electronic health records;
Digital publications; or
Other emerging challenges/elements warranting special consideration.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system to facilitate the submission of peer-reviewed manuscripts for inclusion in PubMed Central (PMC) in support of the NIH Public Access Policy. Since its inception in 2005, NIHMS has expanded to support the public access policies of other organizations and government agencies (for more details, see the Funders List). The NIHMS system allows users, such as authors, principal investigators, and publishers to supply material for conversion to XML documents in a format that can be ingested by PMC. Depositing a manuscript in NIHMS for inclusion in PMC is a multi-step process, requiring an author to approve the deposited files and associated funding before conversion and the PMC-ready version after conversion.
In May 2014, the National Library of Medicine posted a Request for Information (RFI) asking for ideas on how the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) (http://nnlm.gov) can more effectively and efficiently provide equal access to biomedical information and improve an individual’s access to health information. Based on the feedback from nearly 50 respondents and a review of historical data related to the program, NLM will change the award mechanism for the 2016-2021 Regional Medical Libraries’ cycle from contracts to cooperative agreements. This type of funding mechanism will allow NLM to participate more fully in the work of the RMLs and better coordinate collaborative programs and projects. A Notice of Intent was published on the NIH Grants & Funding site on January 22, 2015.
After nearly 45 years as contracts, the RMLs will return to grants, more specifically cooperative agreements, as the funding mechanism for the 2016-2021 award cycle. Cooperative agreements will allow NLM to actively participate in the work of the RMLs and Centers, enable the RMLs and Centers to better coordinate programs among their Regions and areas of responsibility, and enable the RMLs and Centers to better respond to regional and national needs during the five year grant period. Until the early 1970’s the RMLs were originally funded as grants but transitioned to contracts to allow NLM more oversight and standardization of the work.
NLM is hosting a teleconference Tuesday, January 27, to discuss the decision to go with this award mechanism. NLM will have Extramural Program staff on the call to help get you started if you plan to apply and what you need to do now.