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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

Archive for the ‘For The Region’ Category

Understanding Population Health and Librarian Support

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Written by Terri Ottosen, Consumer Health Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Southeastern/Atlantic Region.

Contact Terri at:

An interesting new buzzword is intriguing me lately. It’s called population health, and the term has been around for over 10 years. The American Public Health Association defines it as “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group.” David Kindig and Greg Stoddart wrote an article in March 2003, published in the American Journal of Public Health that discussed the relatively new term and the fact that it hadn’t yet been precisely defined. ( They argued that “the field of population health includes health outcomes, patterns of health determinants, and policies and interventions that link these two.” Many health organizations now have divisions or projects in population health management and researchers are increasingly giving their attention to population health and the opportunities it provides for improving the U.S. health care system, including costs and individual experiences of care.

In a publication by Academy Health, “Population Health in the Affordable Care Act Era,” Michael A. Stoto, Ph.D., writes about the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the implications for addressing population health. He believes that it addresses it in four ways: one, the provisions to expand insurance coverage aim to improve population health by improving access to the health care delivery system, which is critical to any community’s health. Second, it aims to improve the quality of care delivered. Third, a less well-known provision of the ACA, seeks to enhance prevention and health promotion measures within the health care delivery system. Finally, the fourth provision aims at promoting community- and population-based activities, including the establishment of the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council, which has already produced the mandated National Prevention Strategy (DHHS 2011) as well as a new Prevention and Public Health Fund (authorized at $1 billion in fiscal year 2012) and funding for Community Transformation Grants (

Much of the literature is focused on the education and roles of public health professionals, but I believe health sciences and public librarians can play a part in the education of the public and health sciences students by integrating and exploring partnerships and through information and health literacy training. All efforts should work toward the ultimate goal of an engaged, healthy, and knowledgeable patient population. Librarians can demonstrate and provide training on using resources for comparative effectiveness or “how to read a study” and critical appraisal. I think consumers can be trained to critically evaluate items they hear in the news or when they are researching treatment options. Classes are available from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Southeastern Atlantic Region (, both in-person and online for anyone wanting to know more about reliable health information resources.

I recently read an article about a new analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), published in the American Journal of Medicine. This article reveals that in the past 20 years, there is a sharp decrease in physical exercise and an increase in average body mass index (BMI), while caloric intake remains steady. Investigators theorized that a nationwide drop in leisure-time physical activity may be responsible for the upward trend in obesity rates. This comes on the heels of many recent media reports that caution people about the dangers of sitting too much ( One takeaway of the research article is that increased caloric intake is often blamed for rising rates of obesity. There are no direct associations found in this study, but rather a trend over time that lack of physical activity correlates with high BMI numbers in America. (

As we increasingly hear and read these studies, more evidence and important information relevant to our overall individual health will result. This makes me ponder, how can we as librarians and information professionals be involved? What should our roles be within our institutions and what are the implications for outreach? The results of these studies are interesting. To me, they suggest that “we” should focus on movement and exercise more and emphasize the benefits of physical activity. The NN/LM SE/A has received some fantastic funding proposals in the last couple of years that incorporate movement and fitness into their programming and training. ( I think this is a step towards improving the health of our communities and institutions.


Save the Dates: 2015 “A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI” Course

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

“This course was a great idea and very well executed! I learned a lot and am much more confident going back to my institution and teaching these resources as well as starting an information service. It’ll take time to become proficient but this was a great start!”

“The singularly most useful and interesting class I’ve taken in years.”
               – Comments from recent class participants

Attention health science librarians in the United States who wish to initiate and/or extend bioinformatics services at your institution! The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the NLM Training Center (NTC) will be offering “A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI” course in 2015. Participants who complete the class will be eligible for Medical Library Association (MLA) Continuing Education credits. The course is free, but travel costs are at the expense of the participant.

There are two parts to the course, and applicants must take both parts:

  • Part 1: “Fundamentals in Bioinformatics and Searching” is a six-week, online (asynchronous) pre-course.
  • Part 2: A five-day in-person course offered on-site at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.

Important Dates:
Monday, September 29, 2014 – Watch for a detailed announcement about the course and application process in the NLM Technical Bulletin.
Monday, November 17, 2014 – Application deadline
Monday, December 15, 2014 – Acceptance notifications e-mailed
Monday, January 12, 2015 – “Fundamentals in Bioinformatics and Searching” pre-course begins
Monday, March 9, 2015 – “A Librarian’s Guide to NCBI” five-day in-person class begins at NLM

Mark your calendars for this training opportunity.

Questions?  E-mail

July Issue of NIH News in Health available

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

NIH News in Health: A monthly newsletter from the National Institutes of Health, part of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
Check out the July issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research:

Family having fun in the shade at the beach.

Sun and Skin
The Dark Side of Sun Exposure
Sunlight is essential to many living things, but it also has a dangerous side. The good news is you can take simple steps to protect your skin from sun damage.
Read more about sun and skin. 




Man takes food from refrigerator.Fight Off Food Poisoning
Food Safety for Warmer Weather
It can be hard to keep foods safe to eat during warmer weather. Learn how to handle food properly to avoid the misery of food poisoning.
Read more about food poisoning. 




Health Capsules:

Click here to download a PDF version for printing.Visit our Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like us to cover, or let us know what you find helpful about the newsletter. We’d like to hear from you!Please pass the word on to your colleagues about NIH News in Health. We are happy to send a limited number of print copies free of charge for display in offices, libraries or clinics. Just email us or call 301-402-7337 for more information.


What I Learned: MLA 2014, Chicago

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Written by: PJ Grier, Outreach/Access Coordinator

Contact PJ at:

Yearly, the MLA Annual Conference exists in a compressed timeframe for like-minded librarians to gather and to express their intellect, creativity, research and cutting-edge activities. Sadly, there is never enough time to attend all the desired sessions, papers, posters, SIGs (Special Interest Groups) and business meetings. On the bright side, it is always a pleasure to meet new people and to catch-up with friends and professional acquaintances.

This year I was privileged to teach a well-attended CE – Breaking an Electronic Health Record System: a sandbox workshop at Northwest University’s Galter Health Sciences Library. The class examined roles for hospital librarians to operationally engage themselves with an institutional electronic health record (EHR) system, while simultaneously having the opportunity to “test-drive” a popular EHR system in a computer lab environment.

After teaching the morning CE class, I attended The Patient Experience and Engagement: Improving Patient-Centered Care One Person at a Time, a symposium in which fellow SE/A colleague, Terri Ottosen, was planning committee co-chair. It was interesting listening to each panelist take a different approach to patient engagement. Ruti Volk’s (University of Michigan Health System) presentation was about the need to design and present patient education print materials in a culturally aware and understandable manner. Judy Stribling’s (Weill-Cornell Medical College) talk was on continuing outreach efforts at the Myra Mahon Patient Resource Center. T. Scott Plutchak’s (University of Alabama – Birmingham, Lister Hill Library) perspective recounted his recent personal journey through the healthcare system as a patient with a complex condition. Each speaker’s presentation is located on the Symposium’s LibGuide.

On Tuesday afternoon, poster displays drew my attention. Susan LaValley, a University of Buffalo PhD student and I co-produced a poster on Information-seeking and End of Life Decision-making: future directions for medical librarian involvement. It compared the research results of a national 2007 hospice care study with that of selected MedlinePlus multi-year counts of page views including advanced directives, end-of-life issues and hospice care.

The DOCLINE Update given at its Users’ Group Meeting is now available to view at the DOCLINE presentations page.  One highlight of the presentation by Maria Collins from the National Library of Medicine included soon to be released information on new functionality for serial embargos. DOCLINE continues to be part of the National Library of Medicine’s strategic plan exploring the future of resource sharing.  Also available are all the NLM Theater presentation recordings, hot topics include the Affordable Care Act, MyNCBI, and MedlinePlus.

Joining a SIG or Section are two additional ways of enjoying the benefits of MLA. Personally, I’ve been a member of the Medical Informatics Section for several years. A special shout-out to Emily Hurst, NN/LM South Central Region, for organizing a great program entitled “Information Building Blocks: Open Data Initiatives and Trends.” Moderated by Margaret Henderson (VCU), Kevin Read spoke about interesting work on the progress of two data catalogs and the conceptual intricacies involved in development. Megan Laurance, Jackie Wirz, and Deborah Charbonneau contributed other interesting aspects of open data initiatives. One not so surprising outcome from this program was that academic research libraries involved with open data issues are hiring professionals, with or without the MLS degree, who have credible scientific data management and curating experiences in their backgrounds.

Call for Applications: NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program, 2014-2015

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Call for Applications: NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program, 2014-2015

The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) is pleased to announce the 2014-2015 year of the leadership program jointly sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and AAHSL. The NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program, which focuses on preparing emerging leaders for the position of library director in academic health sciences libraries, is accepting applications through August 1, 2014.

Fellows will have the opportunity to experience another library environment and to work closely with a mentor and collaboratively with other fellows and mentors. The multi-faceted program takes advantage of flexible scheduling and an online learning community. Candidates with a strong interest in pursuing a directorship in academic health sciences libraries and with leadership experience in academic health sciences libraries, hospital libraries, or other library-related settings are encouraged.

Sixty-one fellows have participated in the program since its inauguration in 2002. To date, twenty-six fellows have been appointed to director positions.

The program brochure, which includes information on program design, schedule, and application process, is available at For more information about the program, please contact Carol Jenkins, Program Director, AAHSL Future Leadership Committee,

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