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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

University of Kansas Medical Center Seeking NN/LM Technology Coordinator

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

New Mobile Optimization for MedlinePlus Launched

Today, MedlinePlus released new versions of the MedlinePlus Mobile sites in English and Spanish. The mobile site URLs are and

Like the original versions of the mobile sites, the redesigned sites are optimized for mobile phones and tablets.  Unlike the original mobile sites that contained only a subset of the information available on MedlinePlus, the new sites have all of the content found on MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español.  They also have an improved design for easier use on mobile devices.

The key features of the redesigned mobile sites are:

  • Access to all the content available on MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español
  • Improved navigation using “Menu” and “Search” menus to access search and major areas of the sites
  • Enhanced page navigation with the ability to open and close sections within pages
  • Updated look and feel with a refreshed design

This new version of MedlinePlus Mobile is the first step in redesigning MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español to behave responsively.  Responsively designed Web sites automatically change their layouts to fit the screen of the device on which they are viewed, whether that is a desktop monitor or a mobile touchscreen.

In 2015, the MedlinePlus team will release a fully responsive version of MedlinePlus to provide a consistent user experience from the desktop, tablet, or phone. This will remove the need for a separate mobile site. Users will then have one destination for MedlinePlus ( when using any device.

Until then, try out this first offering of MedlinePlus’s responsive design on your smartphone at and  Send us your feedback and comments about the new site via the Contact Us link that appears on every page.

October is Health Literacy Month

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.



Share Your Success: Outreach to a New Population

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!

SE/A Advocacy Committee for Hospital Librarians

By: Mollie Titus, Librarian, Self Regional Healthcare, Greenwood, SC
Contact Mollie at:

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

The Hospital Librarians’ Program Advisory Committee (HLPAC) held its first meeting on April 10, 2014 at the University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library. The HLPAC was formed under the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) Southeastern Atlantic Region (SE/A) and is overseen by the Regional Advisory Committee (RAC). The HLPAC’s mission is to collaborate with the SE/A Regional Medical Library (RML) to identify and promote opportunities for the benefit of hospital librarians in our 13-state region.

The Committee recognizes the challenges hospital librarians face in their ever-changing healthcare environments. While mergers and healthcare funding have played a key part in bringing about change, technology has also had a significant impact on hospital library transformation.  As a result, hospital librarians are constantly challenged to re-envision their roles, learn new approaches and respond to the manner in which their customers acquire information. All of these techniques provide library value.

Customers are acquiring patient research, treatment, and care information in new and exciting ways. It is not simply literature searching anymore. It is about data and information management. Methods include results from EHR analytics, information technology initiatives, consumer engagement applications, and applications that work in concert with EHRs, as well as metrics and goals imposed or suggested by government and regulatory agencies, such as the National Quality Strategy (NQS).

NQS is a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Its three broad aims are to provide better, more affordable care for the individual and the community, with a focus on six priorities to guide efforts to improve health and health care quality. Hospital librarians should become proficient in one or more of the nine levers that underpin the six priorities. Hospitals can choose to use these levers to align core business functions, resources, and/or actions that may serve as means for achieving improved health and health care quality. As an example, one of the nine levers is “payment”, which hospital librarians can adopt if they choose to opt-in to a group purchasing initiative such as HSLANJ-GLI. Joining a group purchasing arrangement demonstrates to hospital leadership that the library has a stake in aligning itself with the NQS. And perhaps if your hospital also supports the lever’s design mechanism, there may be a reward or incentive attached. See chart.

Lever Icon Design Example
Payment reward Reward and incentivize providers to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care. Join a regional coalition of purchasers that are pursuing value-based purchasing.

To further explore, the NQS offers free archived educational webinars that explain its aims, priorities and levers in greater detail.

Networking remains an ever-important aspect of librarianship, and ways to collaborate and connect include participation in committees, listservs, association memberships, meetings, and webinars. Budgets are a constant concern; try taking advantage of consortiums, active negotiation with vendors, and applying for grants or awards. When possible, get out of the library. Choose wisely, but do participate in organizational committees that involve research or content organization; volunteer for hospital or community events; network with other departments – be active!

The HLPAC encourages hospital librarians to take advantage of resources currently available through the Regional Medical Library, such as the Hospital Librarian’s Toolkit, SEA Currents articles, Beyond the Sea webinars and the new SEAside webinars, and SE/A funding opportunities. Visit the HLPAC website, for member contact information, as well as the SE/A website, for updates and resources. HLPAC is having its autumn meeting on November 4th; feel free to contact any HLPAC member with questions, comments, and concerns anytime.

Current members of the HLPAC are: Mary Wallace Berry, Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, Charlotte, NC; Jan Haley, Saint Thomas West, Nashville, TN; Dionne Lyne-Rowan, Columbus Regional Health, Columbus, GA; Mollie Titus (Chair), Self Regional Healthcare, Greenwood, SC; and PJ Grier (ex-officio), NN/LM SE/A. HLPAC is also seeking an additional member from the DC, MD, or VA area to fill a vacancy. If you are interested in volunteering please contact PJ Grier. Members are here to assist fellow hospital librarians with outreach and library promotion, resource maintenance, funding options, and educational growth.

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