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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

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.

Share Your Success: Outreach to a New Population

Friday, October 17th, 2014

DarraBallance1Darra Ballance, MLIS, AHIP
Georgia Statewide AHEC Network
Robert B. Greenblatt MD Library
Georgia Regents University
Augusta, GA

On the health sciences campus of Georgia Regents University, a child care center for children of faculty, staff, and students has been in operation since1988. The Center is licensed by the State of Georgia¬. It is 3-star Georgia Quality Rated (the highest designation) and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). My child had attended day care and Pre-Kindergarten at the center, and I had seen the Director’s efforts to improve nutrition and wellness for the children, families, and teachers. As an Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) librarian I was familiar with outreach awards and had received NN/LM funds for projects in the past. In March 2013, the Director and I partnered to apply for an NN/LM Health Literacy Pilot Project sub-contract award, with a goal to improve nutrition literacy among the center’s teachers.

We received the award funds and went right to work. Our plan was to purchase iPads for the teachers (the center had no technology in the classrooms) and showcase the infant and toddler nutrition pages on MedlinePlus. We also hired a young, energetic dietitian to deliver the nutrition content of our sessions—she was able to use many materials that the center already owned, such as fake food, to demonstrate ChooseMyPlate guidelines to the teachers. I taught the nine teachers how to use the iPads and took them through the NLM’s Guidelines for Healthy Web Surfing.

The teachers were enthusiastic participants in the outreach sessions and asked many questions. We had excellent attendance; all teachers attended at least four of the five one-hour sessions, and were given a small stipend at the completion of the project (sessions took place after the center closed for the day).

Teachers completed a brief assessment test at the beginning and end of the project. Scores on the post-test were markedly higher than the pre-test scores. At the conclusion of the project, the teachers indicated that they gained increased personal understanding of formerly confusing nutrition issues (e.g., how to read a nutrition label, what a whole grain is). Teachers were also able to identify aspects of web sites linked from MedlinePlus that indicated the sites served as reliable sources of health information. The dietician also incorporated content from MedlinePlus into her final session, although she had not been required to do so.

One teacher commented: “I like the fact that going to MedlinePlus for medical and nutrition information will provide information only from secure sites. Also, I was clueless about caloric and water intake needs. Now I’ve transferred my learning from these classes to my practices with my family. Now I try to serve the MyPlate categories and portion sizes. I now read labels on products in the grocery store before making a decision about purchasing items.” Another teacher stated: “I learned a great deal. I found out that a lot of foods I classified as healthy were actually not healthy.”

Childhood obesity is a huge risk for this generation of children, many of whom spend significant time and consume a good deal of their daily food intake at day care centers. Access to technology and nutrition training made a difference in teachers’ knowledge about wellness and healthy food choices. When child care teachers understand principles of good nutrition, and learn how to use technology to share that information with parents and other family members, everyone benefits. Our library is grateful to NN/LM SE/A for this opportunity to partner with a new user population that we have never reached before.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Enter NN/LM SE/A’s “Share your Success” event and enter for a chance to win one of two $1,500 Travel Awards to MLA 2015!

Last updated on Friday, 22 November, 2013

Funded by the National Library of Medicine under contract HHS-N-276-2011-00004-C with the Health Sciences and Human Services Library of the University of Maryland