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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

Archive for the ‘Outreach’ Category

University of Kansas Medical Center Seeking NN/LM Technology Coordinator

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

The A.R. Dykes Library at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) seeks a dynamic, customer-focused individual for the position of NN/LM Kansas/Technology Coordinator.

This position works as the National Network of Libraries of Medicine MidContinental Region (NN/LM MCR) coordinator for the state of Kansas, and will provide outreach and training to medical librarians, healthcare professionals, and the public.  This position also serves as a co-coordinator of technology in collaboration with the Technology Coordinator at the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah.  As a co-coordinator of technology for the NN/LM MCR, the individual in this position will be responsible for identifying emerging technologies and is responsible for promoting and supporting the use of technology throughout the region.  This position requires travel.

Qualified candidates will possess a Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited library school; experience in collaboration projects including, but not limited to, diverse groups, community/library, business/library, local and virtual; an understanding of technology’s use in libraries and its effect on library services, particularly in a medical library setting; and a working knowledge of NLM databases and products.

For a complete job announcement and application details, please visit  the KU Medical Center Employment Opportunities web site.  Search for the position title,  NN/LM Kansas/Technology Coordinator, in the pull-down menu. Applications are currently being reviewed and will be accepted until the position is filled.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, retaliation, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities

October is Health Literacy Month

Monday, October 20th, 2014

By: Sheila Snow-Croft, Public Health Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), Southeastern/Atlantic Region (SE/A)
Contact Sheila at:

Health Literacy, or Health Information Literacy, is an important topic and goal in the world of medical libraries and healthcare. We in the NN/LM have a class called “Promoting Health Literacy through Easy-to-Read Materials” (contact us if you’re interested in our teaching it for your group). A good standard definition is by Ratzan, S., and R. Parker (2000) and Healthy People 2010: “The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health care decisions.” In the past, we defined health literacy as the ability to read and do basic math, such as that needed for medications, but it has evolved to include the ability to navigate our current, incredibly complex, healthcare system. Health literacy is more of a concept than a capacity; to be truly literate one needs the ability to make informed choices in a system that is nothing if not confusing, understand how to reduce risks for poor health, and proactively improve quality of life. These are huge goals and the path to achieve them is long. It is also important to realize that health literacy is not just a goal for individuals dealing with their own health but for everyone in the healthcare field: information must be presented well if it is to be understood and properly consumed.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a “Clear Communication” initiative to address health literacy that was established by their Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL) with the goal of cultivating “a growing health literacy movement by increasing information sharing of NIH educational products, research, lessons learned, and research in the area of health literacy.” They focus on two primary objectives: “[p]roviding information in the form and with the content that is accessible to specific audiences based on cultural competence, and [i]ncorporating plain language approaches and new technologies.” Plain language is a frequently used term; note that it is a tool for improving health literacy, a strategy for making both written and spoken information easier to understand.

The CDC has an excellent web page that provides links to reports, research, information specific to the needs of older adults, standards, and global health literacy web pages: They link to resources provided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Minority Health, and the Indian Health Service, among others. Also, the Health Resources and Services Administration, (HRSA), has a free online course that is self-paced and targeted to healthcare professionals but also appropriate for consumers who “want to improve their health communication skills and understanding of the literacy, culture and language” of health literacy.

The National Library of Medicine has a page that details a MEDLINE/PubMed Search and additional Health Literacy Information Resources: Finally, MedlinePlus has an easy-to-read Health Literacy section for the public:

We must all work together to increase health literacy. The theme for Health Literacy Month 2014 is “Be a Health Literacy Hero.” It’s about taking action and finding ways to improve health communications. Health Literacy Heroes are individuals, teams, or organizations who not only identify health literacy problems, but also act to solve them ( Celebrate Health Literacy Month and share what you learn with family and friends.



Grey Literature, the deep end revisited.

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

By: PJ Grier, Outreach/Access Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Southeastern/Atlantic Region
Contact PJ at:

Online or printed works that are of scholarly or research value and not formally distributed by commercial publishers fall into the category of grey literature. These materials are considered “grey” because they are not readily discoverable via databases or other acceptable indexing mechanisms. They are also considered grey because a peer review process has not vetted their credibility and therefore the content must be thoughtfully evaluated.

Why is grey literature important? It is especially important in the area of health policy where assessments, economic evaluations, and comparative effectiveness research are of special interest. Grey literature is vital for developing a more complete view of research on a particular topic and can be a good source for data, statistics and for very recent research results1. Because there are no publisher enforced limitations these materials can be more detailed than the journal literature. Furthermore, they can help to offset issues related to publication bias1.

The Twelfth International Conference on Grey Literature in 2010 arrived at this definition:

Grey literature stands for manifold document types produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats that are protected by intellectual property rights, of sufficient quality to be collected and preserved by libraries and institutional repositories, but not controlled by commercial publishers; i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body.

Grey literature includes works that are not generally available for purchase, may be difficult to locate, have erratic availability but its content may include significant research information. While not exhaustive, grey literature may include reports, datasets, dissertations, newsletters, blogs, wikis, white papers, bulletins, social media, electronic listservs, informal communications and institutional repositories, such as the UMB digital archive.

Institutions often collect grey literature produced by their employees including researchers, scientists and policy analysts. The following denote some aggregated academic and health repositories worldwide. The OpenDOAR is a directory of academic repositories, the Virtual Health Library is a worldwide compendium of country and organizational health repositories and the Registry of Open Access Repositories, which is a subsidiary of EPrints, aims to promote the development of open access.

An assortment of grey literature resources useful to health sciences information professionals include: (a) MedlinePlus: contains a collection of organizations providing health information arranged by topic, (b) F1000 Posters: is an open access repository providing a permanent environment for the deposition of posters and slide presentations, (c) AHRQ: contains information on finding grey literature evidence, (d) The Grey Literature Report: is a service of the New York Academy of Medicine, (e) National Technical Information Service: is the largest resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information, (f) WHO: contains World Health Organization publications, (g) Grey Net International: facilitates dialog in the field of grey literature and (h) searches over 60 databases and 2200 websites from federal agencies and includes research and development results. Also, performing a search on the topic at the LibGuides Community website will yield rich results from academic libraries hosting all types of information on grey literature.

How does someone objectively evaluate grey literature? It is similar to how one would evaluate any resource. Consider the author’s or organization’s authority, the source of the material, the clarity of methodology used in the analysis or research and of course the material’s timeliness.

Following are tools for evaluation of grey literature. The AACODS Checklist by Jess Tyndal of Flinders University is designed to evaluate and critically appraise grey literature and its sources. Another tool that is available from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health is the CADTH Peer Review Checklist for Search Strategies, which can assist with assessment of database search strategies. AcademyHealth has an excellent archived grey literature three-part webinar series that can be watched at your convenience. For social media addicts, while it is not a good idea to cite Facebook or Twitter as evidence these tools may help alert you to up-to-the-minute issues germane to your research topic.

The MLA Clearinghouse offers a 4HR class on grey literature, entitled Grey Lit – Google for it and more and the instructor is happy to teach the in-person class in our region. Last month, the class was promoted to the Chairs of health sciences library associations throughout SE/A. If you are interested in attending, please contact the leadership at your local health sciences library association. It is also an educational opportunity for state library associations to embrace while planning their annual conference events to satisfy the interests of public librarians.

By thoughtful exploration, you will discover that grey literature is not a muddy swamp. Armed with the correct tools for constructing searches and evaluation of results, you will realize the area is full of opportunity in shaping a “balanced” view on a topic.


  1. Penn Libraries. Health and life sciences guides: Grey literature in the health sciences. Accessed September 19, 2014.

Share Your Success: Impacting Patient Care Through Evidence-Based Practice

Friday, September 19th, 2014


By Emily Brennan, MLIS, Research Informationist, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Library, Charleston, SC,

In my role as Research Informationist at MUSC Library, I teach and employ evidence-based practice (EBP) thus impacting patient care on both an individual and systematic level. As Co-Director of the Pediatrics Residency EBP Curriculum, I round with interprofessional teams on the inpatient wards, providing answers to clinical questions that arise at the point-of-care. I am also involved in the weekly EBP noon conference in which residents present on an EBP topic. Clinical rounding, informal training, and structured instruction are also a part of the Year 3 College of Medicine Pediatrics Clerkship, in which I am a preceptor. Throughout their pediatrics rotation, medical students work in teams to complete a project that involves developing a clinical question based on a patient, then finding and appraising an article that answers that question. My involvement in the pediatrics residency program and clerkship ensure that evidence-based research is integrated into clinical expertise, leading to better patient care.

As a member of MUSC’s Center for Evidence-Based Practice, I am also involved with EBP on a more systematic level. The Center is housed jointly in the Library and the Quality Management department of the MUSC Hospital, and includes a Director, Elizabeth Crabtree MPH, PhD(c), librarian (myself), and Clinical EBP Analyst. The Center develops evidence-based hospital guidelines, clinical decision support tools, and provides EBP education for MUSC clinicians, staff and students. The Center for EBP uses interprofessional content expert teams to develop evidence-based order sets for the electronic health record (EHR).
In my role as lead librarian in the Center for EBP, I am responsible for performing literature searches on clinical questions of interest for a given disease process or topic. My expertise in conducting comprehensive literature searches ensures that the best research evidence is integrated into practice. Once I complete the search, I share the search strategy and relevant references with the Director of EBP through a shared reference management account. The Director then critically appraises, evaluates and summarizes the evidence. The content expert teams then review the evidence and develop recommendations that drive the development of order sets. This framework helps ensure the delivery of comprehensive, coordinated, evidence-based care across the clinical spectrum.

The Center teaches clinicians, staff and students about the theory, practice and dissemination of EBP through educational courses. Three courses focus on the process of EBP: 1) Nurse Scholars Course, 2) Interprofessional Pediatrics Course, and 3) College of Medicine Year 2 Students EBM Curriculum. The primary outcome assessment for these courses is the completion of an evidence summary that requires participants to formulate clinical questions, search the literature, appraise the evidence, identify quality measures, and develop practice recommendations that drive care for a particular clinical topic. The final evidence summary leads to either an updated hospital policy or clinical decision support tool, such as an EHR order set. I teach how to formulate a clinical question, differentiate study designs, search the literature, and manage references. The Director of EBP describes how to identify stakeholders, interpret statistics, appraise the evidence, select quality measures, and translate the evidence.

Participants who have completed either the Nurse Scholars or Interprofessional Pediatrics Course may participate in an Evidence-Based Practice Leadership Program. This program, starting in fall 2014, will equip clinicians to lead change, and implement and disseminate evidence. My responsibility in this course will be to prepare participants to disseminate the evidence, including writing an abstract, selecting a journal for publication or conference for presentation, and creating a professional poster.
In my roles as Research Informationist and a member of the Center for EBP, I am uniquely positioned to equip clinicians, staff and students with the skills necessary to make evidence-based decisions during every day clinical practice, as well as impact and standardize patient care on a systematic level.

Inspiring People In Our Region: Nakia Woodward, Senior Clinical Reference Librarian, Quillen College of Medicine Library, East Tennessee State University

Monday, August 18th, 2014







Nakia Woodward, Senior Clinical Reference Librarian

Quillen College of Medicine Library, East Tennessee State University

1. What is your position?

I am the Senior Clinical Reference Librarian at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine Library in Johnson City, TN. We have a small staff, so I get to do a little of everything from clinical reference, outreach (both consumers and clinicians) and instruction, to research. One thing I really love about my job is that there is no such thing as a typical day.

2. How long have you been a librarian? Your current position?

I have been a librarian for 10 years and I have been in my current position 3 ½ years.

3. What was the path that led you to your current position?

I was fortunate enough to find a job in my hometown working part-time as a paraprofessional and part-time for an NN/LM funded project as a consumer health librarian. I was then able to move into a reference librarian position when one became available.

4. What made you decide to be a librarian?

I first wanted to be a librarian at age 3 when I decided checking out books looked like fun. As I grew up I bounced around majors and career plans before realizing that librarianship is a wonderful profession for people who love being generalists.

5. What do you love most about your outreach work?

The impact I get to have as a medical librarian is mind-blowing. We, as health science librarians, are fortunate enough to see a direct impact of the work we do. I have had physicians tell me that because of searches I have conducted they changed treatment plans and it extended patients’ lives. That is such a humbling thing when you think about it.

6. What do you consider your biggest work related challenge?

Educating people outside the field about what we do and the myriad of services that librarians can provide. This challenge is especially hard when librarians are confronted with people and administrators who feel they already know what we do. We have to break their preconceptions and work to be considered part of an integrated team and not an ancillary service.

7. What do you consider to be the most fulfilling part of your job?

I love that feeling when a student, clinician, or consumer gets exactly the information they needed. I like the connections made between people and information at that point. When I have a patron who wants information for a medical condition and leaves feeling calmer and more in control because of what I helped them find, that makes me feel fulfilled. When we have a rural physician call for information on a condition and we can provide her with the same level of service that we do our on-campus physicians, I know that my work is worthwhile.

8. What do you see as the biggest health concerns in the communities you serve?

Access to care, prescription drug abuse, and obesity are huge issues in east Tennessee. We have had to adapt classes for our students, training for the public, and consumer handouts to reflect these issues. Many of our researchers focus on these areas and we’ve had to stay on top of these developments and initiatives.

9. What do you see as the biggest concerns in hospital and/or health sciences librarianship?

Libraries constantly have to prove their relevance and justify their cost. I think some administrators have the naïve view that databases can take the place of a library. It is crucial for us to get better at promotion and marketing our profession and our libraries to address this issue.

10. How did you first come to know NN/LM SE/A?

I was first hired by ETSU on a project funded by an award from NN/LM SE/A which was the start of my library career. This project was the beginning of the Simple Plan project that went on to train public library workers across the state of Tennessee with 12 hours of continuing education focusing on consumer health.

11. In what ways has NN/LM SE/A benefited you or your organization?

NN/LM SE/A is a priceless resource. Our library would not have been able to do most of its outreach efforts without support from NN/LM SE/A. They have provided us with project funding, training opportunities, ideas for future projects, and program development support. We are very fortunate to have assistance from the NN/LM SE/A.

12. Can you share a success story about the impact of health outreach in your community?

We just finished an NN/LM SE/A funded project which provided mini-iPads to clinicians in 8 faith-based clinics for the working uninsured and a desktop computer to go in the lobby for registering for the Affordable Care Act and to provide consumer health information. The clinic workers are determined that their patients will not receive a lower quality of service because they are uninsured. The equipment and training were well received and the clinics are all now using as their go-to consumer education resource.

13. What advice would you give others who are interested in doing health outreach work in their communities?

Partnership and collaboration are crucial to outreach success. The main reason so many of our projects have been successful over the years is because of strong partnerships. Partnering with NN/LM SE/A provides a fantastic foundation for a plan, but also partnering with local groups such as churches, faith-based clinics, public libraries, community centers, etc., can lead to many successful initiatives. Look for people who may be interested in outreach since health is an issue that impacts everyone. Some of our successful partnerships include the following:

  • We began a project a few years ago which provided consumer health information at Remote Area Medical clinics in our region. Members of our local health sciences library consortium partnering with public libraries would show up at 6:30 in the morning for the event. We performed on-site consumer health information searches for the uninsured attendees. We provided our contact information and many attendees contacted us to receive further health information. (NN/LM SE/A funded)
  • We have collaborated with Preston Medical Library at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and the Tennessee State Library and Archives to provide extensive training on consumer health to all non-metro library workers across the state of Tennessee. (NN/LM SE/A funded)
  • We partnered with the Tennessee Hospital Association to provide handheld devices to rural clinicians. We have provided hundreds of devices to rural clinicians to assist them in getting access to health information so they are not penalized for choosing to be rural practitioners. (NN/LM SE/A funded)

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