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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Share Your Success: Outreach to South Carolina Families Affected by Autism

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014


Liya Deng, and Stan Trembach,, School of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

Four years ago, Liya Deng and I, at the time public service librarians at an academic library, thought about expanding library services beyond academia to include previously underserved and marginalized populations. From the NN/LM SE/A Public Health Coordinator at a library conference, we learned about the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Southeastern/Atlantic Region (NN/LM SE/A) and the funding opportunities available to its members. We decided to apply for one of those awards, leveraging Liya’s knowledge of government information resources and my instructional experience to reach out to economically challenged communities across the state of Georgia. We received our first State and Regional Exhibiting Award in spring 2010 and implemented the “Tips for a Healthy U” project promoting a healthy lifestyle and the use of reliable National Library of Medicine (NLM) electronic health resources to community members suffering from diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

What followed was a long-term relationship with NN/LM SE/A that resulted in three other health literacy and community outreach projects. So, four years later, in spring 2014, we found ourselves in a different setting (the University of South Carolina), in a different capacity (doctoral students), but still very much passionate about issues of health information literacy and improving lives of underprivileged or medically underserved community members. Our journey through the doctoral program at USC has led us to work closely with special needs populations, particularly children with developmental and learning disabilities, and we have seen the need to provide access to reliable authoritative health information for such children, their parents, and caregivers. In March 2014, we applied for the NN/LM SE/A Express Mobile Technology Project Award aimed at enhancing the accessibility of health information to South Carolina families affected by autism.

Once the funding was secured, we began developing partnerships with local autism advocacy organizations, such as the Autism Academy of South Carolina and the South Carolina Autism Society, to widen the scope of our project as far beyond the Columbia area as possible. The key to success for us has been in these collaborative efforts that resulted in an outreach initiative covering the entire state of South Carolina, from the coastal Low country to the Midlands region. The support from NN/LM SE/A enabled us to design health information literacy instruction sessions for the parents, service coordinators, and care providers of autistic children. We planned to teach our audiences how to use iPads or their own mobile devices while concentrating on such NLM resources as Mobile MedlinePlus, PubMed for Handhelds, and Drug Information Portal Mobile. Each training session involved live demos, discussions, and hands-on activities to allow the participants ample time to get familiar with the mobile devices and specific NLM mobile applications.

While the project is still underway, we have already seen great enthusiasm from our target communities, as well as the potential for replication and amplification, which was especially evident during a meeting with five regional autism office administrators at the South Carolina Division of Disabilities and Special Needs in Columbia, SC. The participants are to complete a pre- and post-session test to monitor their comprehension of the training content.

The highlight of the project has been our work with the staff and parent mentors of the South Carolina Autism Society. The diverse range of services offered by this organization will ensure the long-term sustainability of our efforts. The Society acts as the primary autism advocacy agency in our region and focuses on providing quality education and support to enable each individual living with autism to reach their maximum potential.

Providing adequate access to information resources on autism is an important part of care for nearly 70,000 people living with some form of this disorder in the state of South Carolina. Promoting awareness and the use of autism-related NLM mobile resources is one of the ways in which we, as information professionals, can help address one of the more fundamental needs of this special population, and we would be remiss not to continue work in this direction. We are appreciative of NN/LM SE/A’s support of our efforts and look forward to doing more to improve the quality of life of persons with special needs, both in our region and beyond.


Share Your Success: A College of Medicine Library Creates a Bridge with “Color My World Healthy”

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Written by: Elaine Evans, Consumer Health Information Specialist, East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine Library, Johnson City, TN

Up until 2008 the Quillen College of Medicine and the College of Medicine Library were viewed as off-limits to community residents. Around that time one of the NN/LM SE/A instructors came to our library to teach a class. During the course of the class she mentioned funding opportunities through NN/LM. As a staff person, I timidly asked if only librarians could apply. Her answer not only changed my life but also made consumer healthcare information available to the underserved populations of the Johnson City, TN area.

We applied for the Color My World Healthy sub-contract award through NN/LM which provided the vehicle we needed to reach the grass roots and minority populations of our community. Now we needed a driver – a chauffeur if you will. Librarians and staff, who were not afraid of driving in the fast lane, brought easy to understand, yet credible healthcare information to the underserved. Many options had been tried in an effort to reach the community; such as, pamphlets, brochures, and fliers. We could never be sure that these were read or understood. The award provided computers, books, DVD’s, a free standing sphygmomanometer, and healthcare classes to the busiest Park & Recreation Center in Johnson City. So began the “Color My World Healthy” satellite library at Carver Park & Recreation Center. All these things are wonderful within themselves, but somehow we still needed one-on-one and small group help.

Since our library is part of Quillen College of Medicine, we thought how wonderful it would be if we opened this teaching opportunity up to the medical students. This is when the “Color My World Healthy” library blossomed. What was once just computers and information, has turned into an educational “community service”. Medical students partner with our library and teach credible healthcare information classes at City Park and Recreation Centers, senior center, and local churches. This had never been done before in our area. Now the “untouchable” became touchable, and what seemed “impossible” became doable. Yes, we reached a new user population that the library had never reached before. (See photo below.)


The results: for the past three (3) years the medical students have used this as part of their “community service” which hones their clinical and professional skills. It has sharpened the teaching abilities of librarians and staff. We have touched every walk of life in that our classes include seniors, teens, kids, men, women, and multiple ethnic groups. Health topics include major health diseases and conditions, and those specific to minority races, population or genealogy. The community embraced us; the students are eager to teach classes as a community service, and pass the torch on to each new class entering medical school.

Community comments:

  • “Where have you been all this time?”
  • “Color My World Healthy” is a hidden jewel.”
  • “Thank you for helping me understand how to take care of myself.”

This excerpt from a letter written by a volunteer at the Carver Park and Recreation Center says it all:

“Due to the volunteer efforts of the ETSU students in the healthcare fields we now have a core group of about ten teens who have persisted over the past two years in their interests to pursue various healthcare professions. One young lady is interested in pediatrics; a fifteen year old boy is interested in corrective plastic surgery, others in heart surgery and nutrition, and so on. We hope that these teens will be a part of our first crop of home grown medical professionals, and most of them have expressed a desire to practice their particular specialties right here. These under-served youths did not consider/imagine such possibilities until your students worked with them and helped them understand that college and a medical career was possible for them too if they want it and work for it.”


Share Your Success: Ambassador for myWakeHealth

Monday, November 10th, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWritten by: Dianne Johnson,
Coy C. Carpenter Library, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC

Two years ago, a second year medical student wanted to do research on how the under-served and uninsured population received access to healthcare with the federal government’s new healthcare plan. With another librarian, we crafted several search strategies and searched but didn’t come up with anything appropriate. Since the healthcare plan was new at the time, we helped him change his topic for that research project. That research question planted a seed for me.

At the same time, my institution was implementing electronic health records to be called myWakeHealth. Along with all the training that came with integrating new programs, there were many communications about how to publicize and teach patients about myWakeHealth. An example is the internal website having scripts for different types of healthcare providers explaining how to show myWakeHealth to patients.

I decided to sign up and see how it worked. As I was doing it, I wondered how someone without a computer or access to the Internet would do it. I knew patients were receiving a print-out summarizing each visit and letters in the mail explaining test results because I had received them. I also knew I could call or email my providers, but again, I’m an employee and I’m comfortable with technology.

My institution kept promoting our patient promise about how we will keep patients safe, respect their time, etc., but we also wanted patients to be empowered with their healthcare. And in today’s world, empowerment comes via technology. So being a librarian who helps teach various populations, having been in charge of the history of this institution for a number of years and having a life-long attraction to the under-served population (always cheering for the under-dog in sports), I decided to help. Thus is born what I unofficially called: Your Ambassador for myWakeHealth!

I approached the manager at the Downtown Health Plaza, an outpatient clinic for the under-served population, with my idea. I knew what the Plaza did since I created a historical website about the various healthcare buildings in Forsyth County. The Downtown Health Plaza manager suggested I support the community at Winston East Pediatrics, the pediatric clinic for the same population. I came armed with my laptop, smartphone, clipboard, authorization/registration forms and two pens. I used the clipboard, paper forms, and pen the most after I approached parents in the waiting room. I briefly explained what myWakeHealth is and offered the form for them to register. Most parents were appreciative and typically filled it out if they had a few free minutes.

After having done this for a month and somewhat targeting the people I approached, I decided that the waiting area for a pediatric clinic was not the best environment. I sent the forms the parents filled out to another department which sent patients a paper letter explaining how to create a myWakeHealth account. So working in a stressful waiting room with no follow-up after the initial form helped me realize that I could do more in a better environment.

I’m now in the process of speaking with various community advocates to set up myWakeHealth classes in nearby recreation centers, public libraries, and churches to teach this population how to use myWakeHealth – hopefully bringing health information, comfort, and empowerment.

Share Your Success: Implementation of an IRB Service

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

EBWritten By: Everly Brown, Head of Information Services,, Health Sciences and Human Services Library, University of Maryland, Baltimore.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL) developed a unique service to review consent forms for researchers on campus that has been running successfully for nearly 4 years. Library faculty serving on the Institutional Review Board (IRB) took note of complaints by fellow IRB members about how difficult the consent forms submitted for their review were to read. IRB forms were required to be at a seventh-grade reading level but rarely met this stipulation. HS/HSL librarians realized that this was a great opportunity to work with principal investigators to create understandable and clear consent forms for human research subjects. As part of the Research Connection: Expertise to Advance Your Success program,, the library staff developed a free service with trained librarians and paraprofessionals who review IRB forms. Investigators submit their review via an online submission form and review staff guarantees a 3-business day turnaround. Library staff members review the form and suggest changes to adjust the reading level and provide suggestions for edits and formatting for clarity and brevity. Since this program’s implementation, we have processed 49 consent forms with 17 so far this year; these have ranged from 1 to 36 pages long.

The work HS/HSL staff completed on this project supporting clear health communication has been very satisfying. It has increased the library’s visibility on campus, facilitated new relationships with faculty and administration, and given the reference staff some challenging projects. We’ve heard back from several grateful researchers and have received positive feedback from our satisfaction surveys. One respondent said she would use many of the librarian’s suggestions on future consent forms, and another asked to meet with the reviewer to learn more about best practices for clear communication. We also have a presence on the Human Research Protections Program’s website with a note that strongly encourages researchers to use this free service, We hope that research subjects have benefited from these efforts as well.

I am proud of this service as it gives our talented Reference Department a chance to interact with faculty beyond the Reference Desk and offers interesting and complicated projects that benefit the University and patients participating in human research.


Share Your Success: Outreach for the Future – Thinking Outside of the Box

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

By: Jeff Coghill, Eastern AHEC and Outreach Services Librarian, Laupus Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC,

coghilljI believe we have made great strides with the Laupus Library Outreach Programs in the past 5 years. After I came on board as the Outreach Librarian in July 2009, I have asked myself “what can we do that we haven’t done before as a library?” It has been a challenge to work “out of the box.” I’ve tapped into my “creativity gene” to get new and innovative programs going for the Laupus Library at East Carolina University. I took it as a challenge to take the program beyond what was done before. The following are but a few of the projects that have reenergized the Outreach program at Laupus Library, East Carolina University (ECU). The expansion of new and non-traditional librarian roles that did not exist prior to 2009 are unique and demonstrate our commitment to present and future outreach programming.
The following initiatives are sponsored by Laupus Library, East Carolina University:

New Service for ECU Users

Systematic Review Service—Beginning this fall, Laupus Library intends to offer this service to our users—primarily upper level graduate students and faculty. A Systematic Review is the highest level of review of the best medical evidence. The library staff will support faculty and upper level graduate students who intend to perform systematic reviews to be published. Not all health science libraries offer this service or currently have the staff to offer this service.

New Service for the Eastern AHEC Region

“Nursing: Finding the Best Evidence”–Experience at Carteret General Hospital (CGH) showcases how our staff can do this training and offer it to the region. Library staff initially offered this as a two hour course at Carteret General Hospital. However, hospital associates asked for us to expand it further into a three hour course based on its popularity. With this success, we’ve offered this program throughout the region’s hospitals. We’re investigating the possibility of establishing contact credit hours for this program. We are approaching Eastern Area Health Education Center (EAHEC) to have this course rated to grant nursing contact hours credit.  This will be the first Laupus Library class given for Eastern AHEC contact hours credit (2-3 hours depending).
strong>New Consumer Health Information Initiative for the Eastern AHEC Region Users Working with Public Libraries and a Hospital
Healthier U” Consumer Health Classes—Since Spring 2013 we regularly offer a one hour class for the public on searching for the best websites to find up-to-date health care information. Since last summer, we have offered the sessions at Sheppard Memorial Library (Greenville), Aurora Public Library (Aurora), Martin County Memorial (Williamston) and Albemarle Hospital, Elizabeth City. This class has been offered in public libraries and hospitals throughout the region. This is our first attempt at consumer health information sessions for the general public. (The basis for this class is the NN/LM SE/A presentation “Prescription for Success: Consumer Health Information on the Web“.)

Pilot Initiative with Public Health Departments Across the State of North Carolina

Health Department Project and the AHEC Digital Library—In coordination with Public Health Department at East Carolina University, we currently have 90 users enrolled to assess public health department staff resource needs. The concept is to train all health department users about library resources and how to use the AHEC Digital Library in a one hour session. We will use Saba online meeting service for online, remote, distance users. This will be a first for us. This project dovetails with a project Christine Andresen, Education Librarian, Katherine Rickett, Brody School of Medicine Library Liaison, and I have to determine the best way to teach users library skills at a distance.  Classes were offered on July 24 & August 28 using Saba Webinar technology. We are offering this trial to 19 counties from Jackson County to New Hanover County.

New Partnerships with Users from the ECU Division of Health Sciences

Public Health Multi-disciplinary Research Group—This group began meeting in May to discuss putting projects together with a multi-disciplinary approach.  We had representatives from Public Health, Communications, Informatics (Allied Health), Allied Health, and the Library discuss ways to collaborate on research projects.  They were very interested in our kiosk project from 2012.  We discussed ways to expand this project and include new kiosk locations to provide more outreach and consumer health information throughout the region. We identified placing kiosks in the following locations: Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), pharmacies, public libraries, public health departments, churches, malls, hospitals, and restaurants.  As the research contact, I will organize the information from a literature review in the upcoming weeks. This group intends to combine public health practice and research to improve a community. We are scheduled to meet with the Dental School in Fall 2014 to get their “buy in.” We plan to publish articles on the outcomes in the future.
PS—if you had told me what I’d be doing as a librarian when I graduated from library school in 1997, I would not have believed it.

Last updated on Friday, 22 November, 2013

Funded by the National Library of Medicine.