By Terri Ottosen, Consumer Health Coordinator, NN/LM SE/A Region
Every year, it seems my MLA experience is busier and busier, but it’s a good thing because I always learn so much and meet new and interesting people, as well as connect with friends and colleagues. It was particularly exciting as a Co-Chair of the Planning Committee for The Patient Experience and Engagement: Improving Patient-Centered Care One Person at a Time, a Symposium on Saturday before the conference. We planned for over a year to bring a keynote speaker, Stephen Wilkins of the “Mind the Gap” blog, and a panel of librarians together to discuss patient engagement and to explore new and existing methods of how to connect the public and providers with quality health information resources and tools. Each speaker’s presentation is now on the Symposium LibGuide, with pictures coming soon. (http://mla2014symposium.libguides.com/patientengagement)
This year I was also privileged to have a paper accepted. My presentation was entitled, “Outreach Superstructure: Partnering to Design and Build a Framework for Health Information Interventions to Support Family Caregivers’ Medical Decision-Making.” I described a caregiver project that I worked on with Jamie Peacock, Outreach Librarian at the Specialized Information Services Division of NLM, and Wilma Templin-Branner, Health Education Specialist, at Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). We worked to produce a series of short, high-quality video tutorials using MedlinePlus. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to show one during the paper presentation, but the tutorials are available for viewing on YouTube:
There were some very interesting presentations in the same paper section, Patient Centered Care, sponsored by the Federal Libraries Section of MLA. Among them, Taneya Koonce from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, spoke about their project to personalize health communication using health literacy and learning style preferences to improve a group of diabetes patients’ knowledge. Hannah Norton at the University of Florida, Gainesville, spoke about her project with Linda Butson (Congratulations on your retirement!) and Ryan Nall, in which patients were assisted by librarians in preparing questions before their physician visits.
Overall, it was a great conference. The world of consumer health was remarkably represented by many talented and passionate individuals. In between papers and posters and other meetings, there was, of course, socializing and fun. I met one of my new AHIP (Academy of Health Information Professionals) mentees, Mary Ann Barnett, who is an intern at Rex-UNC (University of North Carolina) Healthcare and is currently involved in launching the Duke University Medicine Pavilion Resource Center. She worked many years in schools and special libraries in the Saudi Arabian oil and gas industry and is both fascinating and charming.
It is encouraging that so many talented people are interested in consumer health, with many aspects represented in papers, posters, and discussions throughout the conference. I am proud to be a part of the Medical Library Association and to represent the National Network of Libraries of Medicine as a Consumer Health Coordinator. I look forward to the MLA conference next year in Austin!