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Updated: 2 hours 25 min ago

Did you Know that NLM Resources Can Add Value and Evidence to Your mHealth Apps?

Wed, 2017-10-18 09:02


Did you know that a number of  systematic reviews of health-related mobile apps reveal they lack evidence-based content?  A major challenge to including evidence based content in apps is how to efficiently find accurate, credible, and vetted content.  The National Library of Medicine (NLM) houses the largest biomedical library in the world and provides numerous expert-developed online resources on disease and health education.  Susan Halpin from the The New England Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Director of the University of Connecticut Center for mHealth and Social Media have teamed up in an upcoming webinar to share how mobile apps and social media are are being used in health care and medicine, as well as introduce you to NLM digital resources, and give examples of how they can and have been used in mobile apps.  If you or your organization is involved with creating mhealth tools or if you have an interest in this topic, you are invited to join us for this webinar on November 7th 12-1PM (EST). Not available at that time? This webinar will be recorded. All who register will receive the link to the recording, as well as the class materials.

Register here

Categories: RML Blogs

Comics and Medicine Panel at MICE 2017

Wed, 2017-10-18 07:29

Each year since 2010, the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) has been a showcase designed to build connections between local artists and a local audience. In addition to exhibiting artists, MICE includes workshops for both children and adults and panel discussions that delve deeper into the nuances of the medium.

This year, as part of NNLM NER’s growing Graphic Medicine initiative, I have worked together with the MICE team (Cathy Leamy and Dan Mazur) to coordinate a panel titled ‘Comics and Medicine’. The panel will take place at 11 am EST on Saturday, October 21st. The full description reads: “Medicine and public health are increasingly turning to comics as tools for teaching, storytelling, and more. This panel will talk about aspects of “graphic medicine”, including projects rooted in health education, medical history, and library science.”

Panelists include:

  • Cathy Leamy (@metrokitty;, a medical writer and cartoonist with an interest in preventive medicine and primary care. She has a new minicomic on improving your sleep, debuting here at MICE 2017.
  • Kriota Willberg (@Kriota;, whose comics focus on bodies (human and animal), anatomy, bioscience, women’s health, and history. Her self-care comics for artists will be published by Uncivilized Books as one book in April 2017. You can find her work in SubCultures, Awesome Possum 3,, Strumpet5, Comics for Choice, Intima: Journal of Narrative Medicine, Broken Pencil, and the upcoming Graphic Canon. Willberg is a massage therapist and a health science educator. She is the first-ever Artist-in-Residence at the New York Academy of Medicine Library.
  • Iasmin Omar Ata (@DELTAHEAD_;, an intersectional comics artist, illustrator, and game designer. They focus on creating art centered around the themes of coping with illness, understanding identity, and dismantling oppressive structures.
  • Matthew Noe (@NoetheMatt;, is a Library Fellow at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Lamar Soutter Library and the Graphic Medicine Specialist for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region. His specialty areas include health literacy, medical humanities, and graphic medicine. He is the curator for the weekly blog posts, ‘This Week in Graphic Medicine’, which serve as a newsletter/bibliography for comics and medicine news.

The panel will be recorded and made publically available, but for those nearby, I encourage you to come out to MICE – not just to get direct contact with this panel, but to meet and a wide array of brilliant artists. And, of course, find new things to read!

More information about the panel, and MICE 2017 generally, including location, schedule, and a list of exhibitors, visit

In anticipation of this panel, I asked each panelist to say in a few sentences what graphic medicine is to them. Here are their responses – a bit of a teaser of the panel to come!

  • Cathy: Graphic medicine is anything involving comics/cartooning and health and illness. I love that it’s not rigid and nailed down; the door is open for all kinds of explorations and investigators. Health education comics, illness memoirs, analysis of comics for medical themes, art therapy, teaching self-expression and empathy through comics making – so many applications are possible, and we all benefit from the cross-pollination of being exposed to them.
  • Kriota: My goal as a cartoonist making GM is to normalize medicine and the body. I hope to make illness, anatomy, and science a benign and familiar trio of actors in our lives, thereby mitigating the anxiety and confusion that often effects patients and their families, and stigmatizes the ill.
  • Iasmin: [To me, graphic medicine is] using unique mediums to heal through the power of art. Particularly in comics and games, there exists such an opportunity for those with illness to speak, be heard, listen, and heal.
  • Matthew: Graphic medicine, beyond the strict definitions and the difficult task of reigning in what exactly it means to be a comic, is about communication. Patients communicating with physicians. Physicians communicating with patients. Family communicating with family. Comics can give voice to the voiceless, clarity to the unclear, and can help us refocus medicine on the human.

— Matthew Noe —

Categories: RML Blogs

Using Diet Pills and Supplements Can Have Life Altering Effects

Tue, 2017-10-17 15:23

Did you know that an estimated 300,000 Massachusetts residents suffer from an eating disorder? This week Massachusetts lawmakers will consider steps to prevent those under 18 years old from having access diet pills and weight-loss supplements.   Massachusetts State Representative Kay Khan along with three organizations working to help those with eating disorders,  STRIPED (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders), MEDA (Muli-Service Eating Disorder Association of America), and NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) have joined together to promote house bill HB1195 which aims to address the dangers of diet pills and muscle-building supplements.   Proponents of HB1195 are urging lawmakers to pass a bill requiring anyone purchasing these pills and supplements be at least 18 years old. The bill also includes a provision that they must be placed behind the counter in the stores where they are sold.

According to the National Institutes of Health approximately 15% of U.S. adults have used a weight loss supplement at some point in their lives. Currently, diet pills and supplements are not regulated like other medications that have to prove that they are safe and effective before they are allowed to be sold. Many who use diet pills may wrongly assume that they safe to use because they are widely available and can be purchased by the general public. The truth is that these over-the-counter medications have been found to contain illegal and even banned substances.  Doctors like those at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) have been studying the effects of diet pills. Dr. Elisabeth Poorman of the CHA recently remarked, “A lot of weight-loss supplements include a drug called sibutramine, which in the past has been used for weight loss, but was very quickly pulled from the market because it is associated with heart attacks and strokes.”

In a recently-aired interview on Boston’s WGBH public broadcasting station, reporter Tina Martin talks to Kristy McMillan of Watertown, Massachusetts about the traumatic effect diet pills had on her health. “I struggled with an eating disorder for 21 years, using diet pills off and on during that whole time. I started when I was 15.” In college, Kristy started to experience abnormal heart tests and heart palpitations that she now attributes to her eating disorder and the use of diet pills. When Kristy received help for the eating disorder and stopped using the pills, she thought she was OK because her health seemed to return to normal. However, Kristy learned that she had heart damage after the miscarriage of her first pregnancy.  Doctors discovered that her heart was not strong enough to carry a pregnancy. Since then Kristy has been advised that she should not get pregnant again. Through telling her painful and life altering story in such a public way,  Kristy is sharing what she has learned about the dangers of using diet pills and supplements in the hopes of helping other women.

The Natural Products Association is opposing this legislation. The association president will be in Boston when lawmakers consider this bill on October 17th. The Natural Products Association issued a statement that said in part:

“This proposal would place onerous restrictions, most notably on small businesses. Dietary supplements are simply natural ingredients found in foods, and restricting access to them is unfair to Massachusetts consumers, hurts responsible retailers and drains the state budget through lost sales taxes. Nobody wins.”

Another important piece of  HB1195 is that diet pills and supplements would be required to carry a warning label on the package, in addition to having them placed behind the counter. Kristy McMillan believes these types of restrictions would have helped her if they had been in place with she was a teen.

The National Library of Medicine has several educational resources that provide information about what is in dietary supplements. The Dietary Supplement Database from the National Library of Medicine and NIH Office of Dietary Suplements currently includes free full label information to over 17,000 dietary supplement products marketed in the U.S. and is expected to grow to include most of the more than 55,000 different dietary supplements. Here is the link to that database:

This screen capture shows additional NLM resources that can help you learn more about over-the-counter pills and supplements:

If you would like to listen to this story, click on the link to the WGBH interview by Tina Martin.


Categories: RML Blogs

Health in the Square

Thu, 2017-10-12 13:28

This post is part of a series on NNLM NER’s funded projects. 

Raised beds in urban garden

Raised beds at Mason Square Branch Library

In FY2016-2017, NNLM NER funded the Mason Square Branch Library (Springfield, MA)  for the Health In The Square project. Goals of this project included: strengthening community partnerships, providing healthy and nutritious food, and encouraging health literacy. The Mason Square Branch Library is a vibrant community library located in a neighborhood struggling with poverty. Librarians tapped into community strengths to host health-related programming at the branch library as well as other locations within the city.

Project leaders Ellen Sulzycki and Caitlin Kelly approached the School of Health Sciences at American International College (AIC), and arranged for AIC public health students to assist with programming. Sister Anna Muhammad, from the Springfield Food Policy Council, designed the curriculum for gardening workshops. She coordinated with community gardeners to hold workshops at various community gardens throughout the city of Springfield. Workshops included free soil testing, free garden start-up kits, and access to free seeds. Tasty Tuesdays nutrition workshops were offered to youth at the Mason Square Branch Library and at Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services after-school program. At Tasty Tuesdays, youth learned to prepare four no-cook, nutritious recipes.

The Health In The Square project supported the purchase and installation of tablets to allow library patrons easy access to quality health information. Springfield City librarians, project partners, and library patrons were invited to attend workshops on how to use MedlinePlus and other reputable health resources.

In their final report, project leaders Ellen Sulzycki and Caitlin Kelley stated: “Alleviating food insecurity was the driving force behind this project. By educating the community on healthy nutrition practices, providing all the tools needed to grow their own vegetables at home, and exposing them to health literacy resources, we hope to continue influencing the community and making positive change.”

Looking for Mason Square at NELA! vegetables in garden bed

Veggies at Mason Square Branch Library

Are you going to the 2017 New England Library Association Annual Conference? Ellen Sulzycki and Caitlin Kelley are teaming up Brandie Burrows from the Portland Public Library (ME) to present on funding, planning, and executing public health programming in public libraries in Health Happens Here.

My colleague Susan Halpin will be presenting during the same session. Please ask her about how NNLM NER supports short-term outreach projects to promote quality health information in collaboration with local community organizations.

Categories: RML Blogs

Exploring Hunger and Graphic Medicine with MEDstudio@JEFF and Design Philadelphia

Wed, 2017-10-11 07:41

Last week I had the great pleasure to travel to Philadelphia to participate on the opening panel for this year’s MEDstudio@JEFF collaboration with Design Philadelphia. The short description of the event is that artist Tom Judd is spending a week creating a mural of 7,500 apples, with each apple representing 100 people, in order to raise awareness of the 750,000 people who go hungry each day in the Delaware Valley. For a more complete description, see here.

The panel (as seen in the photo to the right) was a multi-disciplinary force, including expertise in medical research, architecture, social justice, with my role being to represent graphic medicine. Each of us were given time to share our current projects, in my case the focal point being educational outreach on the value of comics in medicine and our Graphic Medicine Book Club Kits initiative. While we had planned a great number of potential topics, we didn’t make it too far into them because once the panel got talking, we couldn’t stop making connections between all of our work!

We ultimately spent a great deal of time discussing a series of “A’s”, spurred by the use of the apple: Awareness, Anger, Advocacy, and Action. If we consider Tom’s chalkboard mural a mission of raising Awareness, which creates a feeling of Anger in the community, the question becomes how do we connect that to Advocacy and/or Action? Here is where I felt comics could enter the conversation. As a medium well-suited to conveying complex information in simple ways, following up on the ability of the finer-arts to raise awareness, comics could then provide the necessary information to effect community change. Imagine, if you will, a comics campaign that told a story about an activist from a Philadelphia neighborhood that along the way shared how to be a real life activist – providing representative contact information, example scripts, and local organization information. Important information that is typically widely dispersed, condensed into a legible, accessible form!

Since I like to practice what I preach as best I can – I’m no “fine” artist – I sketched out a small comic after the event to help reflect, condense, and visualize the very conversation I just described above. You can see it below. I recommend drawing a simple comic like this any time you need to reflect and focus in on an idea you don’t want to slip away – especially if your memory is anything like mine!

Speaking of being “no “fine” artist”, I want to leave you with one last comic to consider (below) about the nature of drawing. Part of the panel discussion, as is part of every discussion about integrating comics into medicine, was around the idea that people latch onto that “I can’t draw”. I firmly believe, as I thought-bubbled out below, that you can learn something from even the most cartoonish of illustrations. For example, when I asked a stranger at the bar next to me what they learned about me from my stick-figure self, they were immediately drawn to the marks on the knee – meant to illustrate pain. I’m not the only one who feels this way – for example, this recent post by Anita Ravi describes her use of similar illustrations in her medical practice as a way to bridge language and cultural barriers. Give it a try!

While my trip to Philadelphia was brief, I learned a great deal and made new relationships that I hope to build and grow in the coming years. I encourage you all to follow along with the progress of Tom’s mural on Twitter (@MEDstudioJEFF) and consider: how might YOU make use of the arts – murals, comics, or beyond – in your practice?

— Matthew Noe, Library Fellow & Graphic Medicine Specialist, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Lamar Soutter Library & NNLM NER

Categories: RML Blogs

Diversity Includes the Differently-abled

Tue, 2017-10-10 10:10


“Inclusion Drives Innovation” is the theme of this year’s national awareness campaign about disabilities. The goal of highlighting October as National Disability Awareness Month is meant to draw our attention to the contributions made to the workplace, our communities and our families by people who have disabilities. To me, the word “disability” carries a negative and limiting label, and stigma with it. I prefer not to use that word. A friend of mine uses the term “differently-abled” to describe people living with physical or intellectual challenges. I like the word “differently-abled” because it reinforces my belief that we all have abilities, just in different areas. Have you ever had an experience where a challenge in one area of our life, caused you to grow or become stronger in another area? For example, my visually impaired friend Liz has shared with me since losing her sight, her sense of smell has become more enhanced.

Disability Awareness Month was created in 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” The word “physically” was removed in 1962, to include the contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Did you know that it is estimated that 10% of people in the U.S. have a medical condition which could be considered a type of invisible disability?  The challenges people are dealing with may not be apparent. Conditions such as depression, learning disabilities, PTSD, chronic pain, cancer, etc…that are beneath the skin are difficult and can be debilitating. Perhaps that co-worker, store clerk, or customer service rep that was less than helpful has a challenge that is not visible?

Diversity and inclusion are current conversation and media topics as our country hears the latest news of travel bans and bathroom laws. With all of that in the news, I find myself immediately associating the topic of diversity with culture, ethnicity and sexual orientation. However, diversity and inclusion are also a key ingredient to a recipe for happy and motivated employees. According to a 2012 article in Harvard Business Review on what motivates employees,               “Whatever else each of us derives from our work, there may be nothing more precious than the feeling that we truly matter — that we contribute unique value to the whole, and that we’re recognized for it.”

In the past few years, I have been fortunate to have a friendship with my visually impaired, attorney friend Liz. She not only has added diversity, depth and color to my life, she also has taught me a few life lessons. Here’s what I have learned.

  1. Ask a differently-abled person what they need. Don’t assume you know what they need, because you read an article about it. Have you ever had the frustrating experience of being given a task at work that looks easy to someone not familiar with the intricacies of your world or your job, but is not easy at all, given circumstances you know and they don’t? How does this apply? I have learned that when we shop together, I ask if Liz wants me to describe the color and fabric. Does she need my help when getting money out of her wallet?
  2. All visually impaired people do not automatically know Braille and sometimes they can see some things. Liz was sighted most of her life, she has been progressively losing her vision for the last 9 years due to a degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa – the medical encyclopedia in MedlinePlus has some good background information on this eye disease. Liz is able to read the screen of her smartphone (which has caused some people to question whether she is faking the blind thing), but in other settings what she can see is affected by color, contrast and the amount of light available. One time she even prevented my husband from driving the wrong way down a one-way street. But, that’s another story…
  3. Being relegated to a separate section in libraries or schools with the materials/equipment/services for the differently-abled, feels isolating. In some libraries there are separate spaces where the talking books and other materials for the visually impaired are located. Many differently-abled people want to be with everyone else. They want to be part of a community, be with friends, and feel that they are contributing with unique skills and talents. Because Liz has limited sight, I assumed she wouldn’t want to attend plays, go to museums, exercise at a gym, go shopping, or even be on a sports team. I was wrong.
  4. Enlist the help of and value the expertise of people who have experienced non-inclusiveness (even though the non-inclusiveness was not intentional) when planning for inclusivity. Ask a person who knows how it feels, rather than assuming you know what is needed to make them feel included. Creating inclusive materials, environments and experiences sometimes requires creativity. Consult with someone differently-abled as you plan a conference or create public programming.  I recently attended a city council meeting where I was impressed to hear our city counselor say how important it is that a member of the differently-abled community be part of the citizen task force that will advise the engineering team planning the renovation of Main Street.

NLM has some good resources about Disabilities.

Liz and her friend Nick, who is in a wheelchair were recently part of a Dragon Boat Festival race team here in Worcester, MA. The Dragon Boat festival was a celebration of the diversity of Worcester and its surrounding communities. CNN’s show United Shades of America ( ) spent a day with Liz, and filmed she and Nick as they practiced with their Dragon Boat team. CNN will air this show featuring Liz and Nick, this coming spring about the best and worst cities to live in if you are differently-abled. I took these pictures as they were being filmed on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester within walking distance to the Medical School.

Categories: RML Blogs

Announcing: Fall 2017 NSLANJ Group Licensing Offer Now Available

Fri, 2017-09-29 07:41

PRINCETON, NJ (September 27, 2017) – All medical librarians in a 20-state area including the NNLM’s Middle Atlantic (MAR), Southeastern/Atlantic (SE/A), and New England (NER) Regions are welcome to participate in the technology-sharing, cost-cutting consortium organized by the non-profit Health Sciences Library Association of New Jersey’s Group Licensing Initiative (HSLANJ GLI).

Deadline to participate in the Fall Offer is Friday, November 17. Due to the online ordering system, no exceptions can be made regarding the deadline. The HSLANJ GLI greatly appreciates and welcomes early orders.

The HSLANJ GLI is recognized by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) as the lead organization capable of assisting health sciences librarians obtain resources.

“We are a state library, so we are dependent on government funding (which this year wasn’t looking so great) so knowing we can talk to our stakeholders and let them know we can get great prices by participating, it shows we’re making all the efforts to have good practices with our budget…. Certainly being a small library with a limited budget, there’s no way we’d be able to purchase resources on our own… being in a consortium is the only way we could make that happen,” says Alison Wessel , Director of Library and Information Services, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, New Castle, Delaware. Wessel began participating in the HSLANJ GLI’s Offers in 2016.

Additional feedback from librarians, along with previews of vendors’ fall resources, can be found at

Questions? Please contact Robert T. Mackes (570-856-5952 or

Founded in 1972, HSLANJ is a non-profit organization which encourages the professional development and advancement of librarianship to improve the quality of library services provided by health care organizations.  To learn more, visit

Categories: RML Blogs

Science Boot Camp 2017 – Scholarship Recipient Blog Post 6

Tue, 2017-09-26 07:06

This is the sixth and final blog post in a series authored by individuals who received scholarships to attend the 2017 Science Boot Camp held at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst on June 14-16, 2017. Read the first post here, second post here, third post here, forth post here, and fifth post here


New England Science Boot Camp: Rebooting Ambitions!

I wanted to be a librarian from the age of five or six, which is when I realized that the people lucky enough to spend all day in a giant building full of books also got paid. My understanding of librarianship and my own professional goals have greatly refined since that realization twenty-some years ago, and upon starting my first semester of my MLIS program at Simmons I knew I wanted to work in an academic setting. Beyond that, I wasn’t really sure.

My full-time job influenced my studies right from the beginning. I am an administrative assistant at the University of New Hampshire, shared between the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering and Shoals Marine Laboratory. As I delved into the basics of librarianship, I began applying what I learned to my administrative position, and grew more and more curious about the role librarians played in science. When I heard about the scholarship opportunity at the New England Science Boot Camp, I knew I had to apply! I was thrilled to be selected as one of the recipients, and made the drive down to Amherst with great anticipation.

The presentations themselves focused on three main topics: mathematics and statistics, earth sciences, and biomedical sciences. The presenters were all eloquent and clear-spoken. I was impressed by how understandable they made their fields’ subjects and research to laypeople, especially given how difficult it can be to distill a complex scientific topic into a few simple sentences. They were also charming, engaging, and funny—the mathematics and statistics presenters especially! We also had a special presentation about sustainability in UMass Amherst’s dining services, as well as copyright issues and how librarians may be involved in assisting with copyright and open source questions. In the past few weeks since boot camp, I have told many of my friends and family members stories about what I learned, and the incredible research going on in the aforementioned fields.

Rather than a play-by-play of what the presenters had to say, though, I’d rather place a special emphasis on what made this experience truly wonderful for me: the people. Every single person I spoke to there was truly lovely: intelligent, curious, and passionate about education and librarianship. Everyone shared stories about their lives and their adventures over meals, and swapped book recommendations at every opportunity. Upon learning that I was a student, just about everyone had wonderful professional advice to share, and words of encouragement and support for considering science librarianship. To top it off, I played the best game of Trivial Pursuit I have ever experienced in my life with those wonderful librarians! I have never felt so at home so quickly with a group of strangers.

This experience has changed the course of my future, and that is not an exaggeration. I was curious about becoming a science librarian before, and now I know it’s the path for me. I returned to my administrative assistant position the following Monday with a fresh perspective, even more excited now to be working in a field where I am surrounded by scientists and fascinating research. When friends, family, or coworkers ask how grad school is going, rather than talking about class, I tell them about what I learned at boot camp, the people I met and their passions, and the sheer delight I have now when I consider my future. I know what I want to do with my MLIS degree now, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.

—– Samantha Claussen, Graduate Student, Simmons College; Administrative Assistant at the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering and Shoals Marine Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire —–


For more about this Science Bootcamp or upcoming events, please visit this year’s website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Learning about #SaferIsSexy

Fri, 2017-09-22 10:26

Logo for #saferissexy campaign, ABCD Health Services

This week, I headed into Boston (MA) with my colleague Susan Halpin. We were scheduled to meet with Action for Boston Community Development. ABCD is an anti-poverty and community development organization founded in 1961, just prior to the federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. ABCD serves over 100,000 clients, facilitating access to benefits that allow families to stabilize their home lives and move toward self-sufficiency. Our visit to ABCD is part of the NNLM NER’s Focused Outreach Initiative.

Prior to the 2016-2021 funding cycle, NER identified Boston as a new area for Focused Outreach. To learn about health information needs, Susan and I generated a list of government agencies (Boston City Council, Boston Public Health Commission, Massachusetts Department of Public Health), hospitals and clinics (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Whittier Street Health Center), libraries and learning centers (Boston Public Library, Blum Patient and Family Learning Center at Massachusetts General Hospital), and community-based organizations (Action for Boston Community Development, Community Servings, Multicultural AIDS Coalition). We conducted 13 key informant interviews over the summer. By August, we concluded that we wanted to reach Boston-area youth on topics of mental health, substance use, and sexually transmitted infections. Our draft goal is to demonstrate the availability of National Library of Medicine resources that are available through mobile apps and mobile-optimized websites. All of our key informant interviews pointed to smartphones as the best internet access method.


During our meeting with ABCD, we had the opportunity to hear from Health Education and Training Manager Irvienne Goldson. Ms. Goldson talked about the #saferissexy campaign.

Safer is S.E.X.Y. (Sophisticated Empowered Xtraordinary You) is a social media and community outreach campaign to mobilize the community and engage non-traditional partners to promote targeted substance abuse and HIV prevention messages to Black and Latina Women and Girls in Greater Boston.

The three steps to S.E.X.Y. are:

  1. Knowledge is Power. Find out about HIV/STI and safer sex methods.

  2. Know Your Status. Get free HIV Rapid Tests at ABCD partner sites.

  3. Know Your Plan. Attend Sister2Sister individual sessions to develop personal prevention plans.

At this point, we have not determined the best methods to work with ABCD. We need their guidance to learn appropriate avenues for instruction in health information resources. As they take some time to consider what we have to offer, I will be following #saferissexy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Although this is just one of many ABDC programs, learning about #saferissexy is an opportunity for me to see the good work that is happening in our Focused Outreach area.

Check out this 2016 video for an overview of Sister2Sister.

Categories: RML Blogs

Teens and Body Art: Staying Healthy with Tattoos and Piercings

Tue, 2017-09-19 13:59
My daughter’s 18th birthday meant something completely different to her than it did to her Dad and I. For a whole year before that coming of age birthday, in spite of  pleading and at times anger, we stood firm in our decision that we were not going to give our permission for her to pierce her nose. If she wanted to get pierced once she was old enough according to the law, which is 18 years old in Massachusetts, that was fine. The afternoon of her 18th birthday, as soon as school got out, Carro’s first decision as a “legal adult” was to visit a piercing parlor to get her nose pierced.

I was reminded of  that memory today because for the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued guidelines about tattoos and body piercings. Did you know that 38% of millennials have at least one tattoo and 23 percent have a piercing somewhere other than an earlobe (this information comes from the Pew Research Center)? Whereas, just 6 percent of boomers have tattoos, and just 1 percent with other piercings.

As I drove into work today I listened to an NPR news story about the new body art guidelines. AAPs report “Adolescent and Young Adult Tattooing, Piercing and Scarification” will be published in the October 2017 issue of Pediatrics (available online on September 18th). As part of the September 18th press conference by lead author and chair of the AAP Committee on Adolescence, Cora C. Breuner, MD, presented recommendations from the nation’s pediatricians. The guidelines address the need to be aware of the health issues tattoos and piercings could potentially cause. In addition to providing health and safety information to patients, the recommendations also will help health care professionals to advise patients and their families when a tattoo or body piercing is being considered. The federal government does not regulate the tattoo and piercing industry. It is a smart idea to know about the rules in your state as the regulations are different in each state. In some states the age for minors is 14 years old, if they have their parent’s permission. Also, what is considered “sanitary” varies greatly from state to state. Take a look at the following link to make sure you know the rules pertaining to body art in your state is external). Although body art is popular, “Most of my medical colleagues don’t know regulations in the states, complications rates or later impact on young people when looking for a job,” states Dr. Cora Breuner, member of the division of adolescent medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital and chair of the AAP Committee on Adolescence.

The AAP recommends that pediatricians communicate the importance of hygienic practices such as using new disposable gloves, making sure that needles used are from a sealed, sterile container; and that fresh, unused ink is poured into a disposable container for each new patient. In some states, such as California, practitioners are required to register with the state health department and must submit proof of a hepatitis vaccination, as well as take a yearly course in blood borne diseases and infection. control. If you are considering a tattoo make sure your immunizations are up-to-date, especially tetanus. People who take medications that suppress the immune system, such as steroids or Accutane should avoid both tattoos and piercings.

Additional information for parents can be found on the AAP website, HealthyChildren .org.(link is external) MedlinePlus also has a page providing helpful information about Tattoos and Piercings is external) . MedlinePlus offers information in several different languages, as well as provides links to journal articles, clinical trials and current news stories related to body art.

The NPR story concluded with some good advice – keep in mind that tattoos are permanent.  Experts often counsel teenage clients to avoid getting a tattoo on a visible part of the body, as many professions are still conservative and avoid hiring people with visible tattoos for some jobs. “Definitely stay away from the face, we call that the job stopper; if you don’t want to get employed, tattoo your face.”

Here’s a link to the September 18th NPR story by Patti Neighmond: is external)

Categories: RML Blogs

Science Boot Camp 2017 – Scholarship Recipient Blog Post 5

Mon, 2017-09-18 09:37

This is the fifth blog post in a series authored by individuals who received scholarships to attend the 2017 Science Boot Camp held at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst on June 14-16, 2017. Please watch for more posts about this event and from scholarship recipients in the upcoming weeks. Read the first post here, second post here, third post here, and forth post here.


This past June I was one of the recipients of a scholarship to the Science Boot Camp for Librarians, which was held this year at UMass Amherst.  My favorite parts of attending the Boot Camp were touring the campus and meeting fellow science librarians.

I really enjoyed visiting the greenhouses and hearing about how the caretaker finds the best spots in the greenhouses for the many plant types.  In addition, I especially enjoyed the tour of the digital media center in the library.  I thought it was fantastic that students have access to sound booths, an HTC Vive for VR, green screen rooms, and many 3D printers!  Yuntian Hu, the Digital Media Lab supervisor provided an excellent overview of the types of objects students print out on 3D printers.

From the researchers, Jon Woodruff gave an excellent talk about his research on flooding in New York harbor and how now disappeared oyster beds used to offer better protection from tidal surges caused by storms.   Wilmore Webley gave an excellent overview of biomedical research, its importance, and its recent innovations and discoveries.  Finally, Michele Markstein gave a more detailed description of her research with drosophilia, or fruitflies.

In closing, I thought there were several valuable things I learned from science bootcamp.  First of all, it was a great opportunity to learn about my colleagues work.  Secondly, I enjoyed visiting the campus library and science-related spaces.  Finally, it was excellent to hear about research and work in the fields of math, statistics, the geosciences, and biomedical research.

—– Renee Walsh —–


For more about this Science Bootcamp or upcoming event, please visit this year’s website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Science Boot Camp 2017 – Scholarship Recipient Blog Post 4

Thu, 2017-09-07 07:59

This is the forth blog post in a series authored by individuals who received scholarships to attend the 2017 Science Boot Camp held at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst on June 14-16, 2017. Please watch for more posts about this event and from scholarship recipients in the upcoming weeks. Read the first post here, second post here, and third post here.


I want to start by saying thank you to everyone at this years Science Boot Camp for being so friendly and helpful. As someone who is contemplating a career in librarianship, I was welcomed with open arms. You all really made the experience enjoyable. It’s a priority to me to begin a career knowing that I’ll be working alongside intelligent and diverse minds who will challenge me in multiple ways. I now feel confident knowing that if I do decide to become an academic librarian, I will be surrounded by the best and brightest.

I found that the boot camp schedule was organized in a way that optimized my ability to understand each of the lectures. The subject overviews taught main concepts that aided the specific research to follow. The first lecture covered mathematics and statistics which I, being completely honest, had little prior knowledge of. I appreciated Adena Calden’s explanation of applied vs. pure math and the humor she brought to a very complicated subject. Dr. Julie Blackwood’s presentation on periodical cicadas and rabies transmission in vampire bats followed the broad introduction perfectly, and I was especially surprised to learn just how much math can be used to understand complex ecological dynamics. Applied math may have gained a new fan.

The next session of lectures covered geosciences and the related research and subdisciplines. Dr. Isla Castaneda did a great job of briefly discussing an obviously complex topic; geosciences is much more than just studying rocks! I enjoyed learning about the important link between geosciences and global climate change, especially given current events. I was also interested to learn about the intersection between geosciences and public health, two topics that I never thought to connect. Dr. John Woodruff followed with his lecture on storm and tsunami reconstruction from coastal lagoons. I plan on watching “Chasing Ice” based off the clip he showed. It’s amazing how much you can learn about the past, present, and future based off a little sand!

After eating some lunch, which I appreciated much more after Britt Florio’s talk on UMass’ sustainability initiatives, we learned about the fascinating world of biomedical research. Dr. Wilmore Webley astonished us with the latest in stem cell research and Dr. Michele Markstein added some welcomed humor in her discussion on fruit fly research. Who knew those pesky flies around my wine are helping discover the latest anti-cancer drugs (and carry 14,000 genes?!).

Overall, I feel this was an invaluable opportunity for me to learn about the profession from librarians with a range of experience. I genuinely enjoyed all of the conversations I had and the people I met at boot camp. You are hard working professionals and I admire your passion and drive to make information as easily accessible as possible to those seeking it. Thanks again for allowing me the opportunity to attend the boot camp this year!

—– Nicole Alarie —–


For more about this Science Bootcamp or upcoming event, please visit this year’s website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Stop Lyme! Nahant Public Library’s Statewide Project

Wed, 2017-09-06 09:35

This post is part of a series on NNLM NER’s funded projects. 

STOP LYME binder, funded by NNLM NER

In FY2016-2017, NNLM NER funded Nahant Public Library (MA)’s project STOP LYME! Information for Tick-Borne Disease Identification, Prevention and Patient Care. The goal of the project was twofold: (1) to disseminate authoritative information about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases using a wide variety of formats; and (2) to demonstrate that libraries can assist the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in distributing state information to the public.

Knowing that individuals using public libraries have diverse preferences in formats, Nahant Public Library produced a loose-leaf binder to either circulate or be kept at the reference desk; purchased ebooks to be made available through the Massachusetts eBook Collection , updated a digital repository of quality information on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, and hosted an information panel on identification, prevention and treatment of Lyme disease.

Massachusetts public librarians responded strongly to the opportunity to receive a binder of reproducible information on tick-borne diseases as a result of this project. Of 370 public libraries, 130 (35%) unique locations requested a binder, either for their circulating collection or as a reference item.

Looking It Up at the Public Library

At the end of the summer, I took advantage of this publicly available resource. After a weekend of gardening and walking in the woods, I discovered a red welt but no tick. After 24 hours, the welt expanded to a pale pink rash. I saw my nurse practitioner. That’s when I discovered the imprecise nature of treating potential Lyme disease. There was no tick, but if it was a tick bite… I’d had the bite for more than 72 hours. I had no fever, but I lived in a location with a high incidence of Lyme disease. My nurse practitioner opted for the prophylaxis dose of doxycycline, most likely to appease my concern about future chronic disease rather than evidence-based medicine. The problem is that we do not know enough about Lyme disease for anyone to feel 100% confident about any decision. I do feel confident that I located the best available knowledge at my public library.

In the STOP LYME! binder, I found these articles to be most useful:

The clinical assessment, treatment, and prevention of lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, and babesiosis: clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Evidence assessments and guideline recommendations in Lyme disease: the clinical management of known tick bites, erythema migrans rashes and persistent disease.

NNLM NER supports short-term outreach projects to promote quality health information in collaboration with local community organizations.

Categories: RML Blogs

Science Boot Camp 2017 – Scholarship Recipient Blog Post 3

Tue, 2017-09-05 07:11

This is the third blog post in a series authored by individuals who received scholarships to attend the 2017 Science Boot Camp held at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst on June 14-16, 2017. Please watch for more posts about this event and from scholarship recipients in the upcoming weeks. Read the first post here and the second post here.


Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a scientist? New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians could be your chance to glimpse into the lives of others. I’ve heard more than a few librarians, or aspiring librarians (myself included) quip that they pursued a life of librarianship to satisfy, if only for brief minutes, their research itch for an endless number of topics. Boot Camp certainly entertains that curiosity (but, forewarning, it will only feed your curiosity, not satisfy it).

We had some great speakers at Boot Camp this year: Adena Calden (UMass Amherst) describing the lives of applied and pure mathematicians, Julie Blackwood (Williams College) talking ecological statistics of cicadas and vampire bats, Isla Castañeda (UMass Amherst) with an overview of the broad world of geosciences, Jon Woodruff (UMass Amherst) captivating us with his research into sediment transport and the reconstruction of large storm events, Wilmore Webley (UMass Amherst) dazzling us with the bright future of biomedicine (CRISPR is a game changer!), and Michele Markstein (UMass Amherst) extolling the virtues of Drosophila as a research model (she says ‘we’ when referring to flies) and pounding the metaphorical podium of open access (go OpenFly!). To cap it all off, the inspiring team of the UMass Amherst Scholarly Communications office – Marilyn Billings, Erin Jerome, Laura Quilter, and Jeremy Smith – brought us up to speed on all the things they’re doing to improve open access to scholarship and educational resources. These folks are tireless and unapologetic in their advocacy for Open Access!

Doesn’t that sound like great fun? It was! But at this point you may be asking “Isn’t this just like a symposium or a brown bag at my university/college? I could just go across campus to listen to scientists talk about their research”. And you’re right, sort of.  But it’s a little more than that. With an audience of librarians, not necessarily only other scientists, the speakers at Boot Camp concentrate more on process than on the technical side of their science. This lends us the point of view of the science researcher, allowing us to imagine points in the research process where we could help. Our speakers gave us clues to what resources and services they and their students need to get their work done (e.g. open access journals, data repositories, writing retreats).

Science Boot Camp also differs from a symposium or brown bag in your science departments in that we are in the company of other librarians and aspiring librarians. As riveting as the science talks were, the between-session conversations were of great value to a library school student such as myself. Fellow attendees were ever so generous in answering my endless questions on how their institutions do this or that, what their backgrounds are, and what they see as the skills to concentrate on in the final semesters of my graduate program. I appreciate these experienced professionals taking the time to share the inside stories and boost my confidence that I, too, can someday be a friendly, helpful librarian. You all were great – thanks!

And, finally, a hearty thank you to the planning committee for pulling off a great event, and to the scholarship committee for generously affording me the opportunity to attend. I have a feeling I’ll be seeing you again.

—Jodi Shippee, MSLIS Student, Simmons College & First-time Boot Camp Attendee—


For more about this Science Bootcamp or upcoming event, please visit this year’s website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Talking about the Unpleasant

Thu, 2017-08-31 08:51
books on bookshelf

BISAC categories at Wilbraham Public Library (MA).

This week, I headed to the Wilbraham Public Library (MA) to lead a book discussion based upon the NNLM NER Graphic Medicine Book Club Kits initiative. We were discussing Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Chast). I arrived a bit early. I wanted to check in with librarian Mary Bell and director Karen Demers. I’ve lead health-related book discussions at this library for several years. We’ve discussed Your Medical Mind (Groopman and Hartzband), Know Your Chances (Woloshin, Schwartz and Welch), and The Power of Habit (Duhigg). Wilbraham has a nice group of book club attendees. They are never shy about sharing their opinions.

I learned that Wilbraham is ditching the Dewey Decimal System for the Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC). I’ve heard the argument for going with this bookstore-type of categorizing system, but I’d never been in a library that was actually doing it. Karen brought me up to the mezzanine so I could grab some books on Aging and Eldercare. Back on the ground floor, I asked Mary for back issues of The New Yorker. I wanted to share samples of Roz Chast’s more familiar work before we launched into a discussion of her graphic novel.

The first attendee walked in with high praise for Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? She told her 50-something son that he should read the book. She was enthusiastic about the format of the story. Like all the attendees, this was her first experience with reading a graphic novel. For those attendees who had not read the book yet*, I selected several pages to demonstrate the power of sharing a story through comics. They quickly understood.

The discussion was a success. Attendees were comfortable with sharing their impressions of Roz Chast and her struggles with her aging parents. Likewise, they shared their own experiences with aging parents and with their own aging. One man said that his family’s story mimicked that of Roz Chast. The photos of her parents’ chaotic apartment were familiar to him. His wife said that their goal was not to put their son through the stress of tossing out decades of their stuff. At the same time, everyone in the room marveled at how easy it is to accumulate stuff.

One attendee wryly told the story of hearing that her son was not comfortable with her driving on the Massachusetts Turnpike. “We’ll come get you,” he told her. She rolled her eyes. Clearly, she still felt competent at driving on the highway.

During the book discussion, I took a few minutes to demonstrate MedlinePlus by pulling up the End of Life Issues Health Topics page. I distributed a few printouts to show the high quality of the information. I searched additional topics to show that MedlinePlus is not a one-trick-pony. We talked about the differences between using MedlinePlus, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and Google for health information searches. I hope to get back to Wilbraham. Maybe with a Precision Medicine discussion?

*At every library-sponsored book club, there are always people who haven’t read the book!

Categories: RML Blogs

Science Boot Camp 2017 – Scholarship Recipient Blog Post 2

Tue, 2017-08-29 07:41

This is the second blog post in a series authored by individuals who received scholarships to attend the 2017 Science Boot Camp held at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst on June 14-16, 2017. Please watch for more posts about this event and from scholarship recipients in the upcoming weeks. Read the first post here.


I attended this year’s Science Boot Camp for Librarians as a paraprofessional scholarship winner. This is actually the fourth year I have attended boot camp. This year, I was attending the conference as a paraprofessional just prior to beginning a full-time librarian position. Receiving this scholarship was valuable as it allowed me my to continue my development as a new library professional, and in particular, maintain contact with colleagues from the New England region I have met at previous Boot Camps. I also wanted to connect with my mentor and other librarians to get advice as I enter the next phase of my career.

The UMass Amherst campus is beautiful and there are many changes from when I was an undergraduate there. Prior to the start of Boot Camp, I went on a tour of the greenhouses offered to our group. We saw lots of beautiful plants, a few resident critters,  and heard about the goals of the greenhouse staff in maintaining their “library” of plants and their efforts in making the greenhouses more thematic and interesting for visitors.

This year’s educational sessions were on the topics of Math and Statistics, Geosciences, and Biomedical Research. Each of the sessions included a speaker who gave an overview of the field, and a second speaker who talked about their research and more in-depth concepts. I am amazed each year that the planning committee is able to select dynamic, friendly, and interesting speakers. Many of them have won teaching awards for their skills in communicating their fields to students, and this is clear in the way they spoke to us as well. Additionally, the speakers make an effort to discuss how librarians can help them in their work, and share resources we might find useful.

One of the most interesting talks for me was our after-dinner speaker on sustainability at UMass Dining Services. We learned how the school has created an award-winning dining program and  has committed to sourcing local and sustainable foods on a larger scale while serving over 50,000 meals per day.

The final morning’s capstone session on Scholarly Communication provided insight into the typical work done by that department at UMass. A panel discussion was followed by breakout sessions on related areas, such as Open Educational Resources, where the librarian speakers and the conference attendees shared stories about issues they may have encountered or new developments in their field.

One of the best reasons to attend Science Boot Camp is the ample opportunity to connect with mentors and other librarians from our region, many of whom you will see at other events if you stay in New England, but also to meet others from around the country who decide to come attend. I was starting a new professional librarian job the week after Boot Camp, and was serendipitously matched with a mentor from my new institution. She made a great effort to connect with me and answer my questions about transitioning from a paraprofessional to professional librarian.

In addition to the networking, Boot Camp fosters friendships and social communication. I saw many people making a point of connecting with others, and making sure that no one was sitting alone at meals. The opportunity to meet librarians from a wide variety of science libraries is amazing. I dined with librarians from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and NOAA, among many others! Discussing the types of work we all do, in addition to sharing personal stories about travel, pets, and family, creates a connection that persists yearly among returning campers and is also welcoming to newcomers. I encourage anyone in New England or beyond to attend, including library school students!

— Jennifer Chaput —


For more about this Science Bootcamp or upcoming event, please visit this year’s website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Back-to-School for Hospital Librarians

Wed, 2017-08-23 09:11

1947 Vocational Classroom

[Metropolitan Vocational High School, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1947] (Library of Congress)

We still have a few hot and sticky days ahead in New England, yet the stores are full of back-to-school items and some children are climbing onto school buses next week. Here at NNLM NER, we are putting together a list of opportunities for hospital librarians who are looking for continuing education.

Advanced MeSH Techniques

On Sept 19, 2017, we are offering an Advanced Search Skills webinar with Rebecca Brown from the National Training Office. Rebecca is an experienced technology instructor. She will be teaching advanced techniques in using MeSH to find information on drug and pharmacological actions.

After Rebecca’s presentation, we will take 10 minutes to discuss crafting an “Aim for Excellence” elevator speech for hospital librarians with advanced search skills. We hope this segment will help build the confidence necessary for self-promotion.

Cannot attend the live webinar? Please register anyways. We will send you the link to the recording.

Did you miss the DOCLINE Update?

Erin Latta, National DOCLINE Coordinator, delivered an update for specifically for the New England Region. Much of the information shared is available on the NDCO website. Erin acknowledged the decline in DOCLINE usage. University health sciences libraries are shifting their interlibrary loan services to OCLC to align with other discipline-specific requests. Sixty percent of DOCLINE users are hospital librarians. For these libraries, the decline of usage is due to point-of-care tools and availability of open/public access articles.

One interesting trend is a re-imagining of Loansome DOC. Initially created to support unaffiliated health care providers with a source of interlibrary loan services, Loansome DOC is attracting a new user… hospital librarians! Those who no longer have the capacity to lend are moving onto Loansome DOC to obtain articles for their institutions. Erin is happy to speak with hospital librarians considering this shift.

Solo Hospital Librarians

During the DOCLINE Update, Erin spoke briefly about the impact of licensing agreements on borrowing and lending journal articles. Negotiating with vendors is such a challenge, particularly for solo librarians. The Medical Library Association recently announced the formation of a Solo Librarians Special Interest Group (Solo SIG). Louise McLaughlin, MSLS at Women’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, LA and Ellen Aaronson, MLS, AHIP at West Hills Medical Center in West Hills, CA are the co-conveners. The purpose of this SIG is to provide an opportunity for support, help and professional development. NNLM South Central Region is supporting monthly Solo SIG chats through WebEx. MLA members are encouraged to participate.


Categories: RML Blogs

Farewell from Allison Herrera

Tue, 2017-08-15 09:17


Hello New England Region,

Thank you for the congratulations. This is my last week at UMass Medical School. Working with the NNLM New England Region office, and previously with the NNLM National Public Health Coordination office, has been absolutely wonderful. I’m going to miss everyone and I’m grateful that I got to know y’all. (I’m from Texas, if you didn’t know!)

In the last year my work with NER has been varied and exciting. We’ve accomplished quite a bit through unexpected challenges! My projects involved technology, communications, user experience, website design, virtual reality, and outreach as well. I’m happy to say that our communications and back-end technology initiatives have been going very well and grew incredibly quickly. We launched our new website, our new newsletter, and revamped our social media, such as our Twitter. We started new data analysis that allowed us to create data visualizations that helped inform our decision making processes. We’ve used open communication channels and usability testing to hear more from our members about how we can better serve you as a New England Region and created better experiences form this feedback.

If you aren’t familiar with the NER team, please reach out or get connected with them. Everyone in the team is bright and has exceptional strengths. You still have a window of opportunity to apply to join this team.

Categories: RML Blogs

Science Boot Camp 2017 – Scholarship Recipient Blog Post 1

Mon, 2017-08-14 07:55

This is the first blog post in a series authored by individuals who received scholarships to attend the 2017 Science Boot Camp held at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst on June 14-16, 2017. Please watch for more posts about this event and from scholarship recipients in the upcoming weeks.


Hi everyone! First and foremost, I would like to extend a sincere ‘thank you’ to the Science Boot Camp committee for both selecting me as a scholarship recipient as well as their tireless effort in putting on such an enjoyable and rewarding camp at UMass Amherst.

Boot Camp was an entirely new experience for me as this was the first year I attended camp, so I’d also like to pass along my thanks to my mentor, Zac Painter, as well as my colleague at Holy Cross, Barbara Merolli, for making the experience that much more welcoming overall.

The first day started off right away with insightful tours of both the Digital Media Lab and Morrill Greenhouses at UMass Amherst. Both sites were extraordinary in what they offer the community at UMass and seeing the collaboration of both science and technology at both sites was very interesting, to say the least.

Wednesday afternoon began with an overview of Mathematics & Statistics with Adena Calden and Julie Blackwood then Britt Florio discussed the overall sustainability efforts going on with UMass dining services later in the evening. Personally, I was very pleased to hear UMass dining is focused on allocating more funds each year to local farms and producers throughout Massachusetts and New England to supply the university’s culinary needs.

Thursday was focused on Geosciences, with Isla Castaneda and Jon Woodruff, and Biomedical Research with Wilmore Webley and Michele Markstein, in the afternoon. It was a pleasure to hear these four speakers discuss what is going on now and what is expected to happen in the not-too distant future in their respective fields and in research library settings.

Friday was the capstone session focusing solely on scholarly communications and how it is shaping UMass now and moving forward. This is a field I personally have a great deal to do with on a regular basis and was glad to have the chance to hear from the four individuals from UMass’s scholarly communication office along with sitting in on breakout sessions to discuss matters further.

Once again, I would like to thank everyone involved with making Boot Camp such a fun and great experience – the planning committee, my mentor, and the rest of the camp attendees who were incredibly nice and always curious to get to know more about each other. It was a terrific experience and I’m already looking forward to Boot Camp next year.

— Andrew Lambert —


For more about this Science Bootcamp or upcoming event, please visit this years website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.

Categories: RML Blogs

Resources for Back to School – NLM’s Online Playground

Wed, 2017-08-09 09:37

When I was a teacher, the days leading up to the end of August would cause me to experience a range of emotions. Knowing that the freedom of the summer would soon be over, made me sad. Conversely, anticipation about new opportunities for learning, new students and colleagues to get to know, and having a shiny classroom and brand new supplies would make me excited. In my current position as an Education and Outreach Coordinator for the New England Region of the NNLM, I am excited to share some educational resources from NLM that are very useful, in or out of the classroom.

Whether you are an educator, teacher, student or parent, there are free NLM resources that can foster learning of all kinds and for all ages. This post will focus on a few key resources for K-12 learning.

The current topics of “Fake News,” and “Alernative Facts” that have become part of our present-day vocabulary provide an opportunity to promote the use of NLM resources as a productive way to begin learning about a new topic, and a smart way to start a research project. NLM resources are trusted resources because they are written by experts, the information presented is peer-reviewed, NLM sites are updated on a regular basis, and advertising is not allowed on any NLM resource.

The MedlinePlus website, which is collaborative effort from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, offers information about 750 health topics, a dictionary, medical encyclopedia, news, and directories to find physicians. MedlinePlus is written in simple language, for a consumer audience.  Each page of the website is translated into Spanish and depending on the page, there are an additional 40 languages that the information is translated into.

If you are looking to teach students about how to evaluate online health information, MedlinePlus offers a helpful tutorial about what to consider. Many high school and post-secondary classes that use internet resources may find a MedlinePlus tutorial on website evaluation a valuable first step in the process of learning about a specific health or medical topic. The information provided in the tutorial is presented in different formats. The tutorial can be viewed and heard as a video  or accessed in written format,, MedlinePlus also offers a link to a useful website evaluation tool called “Trust it or Trash it” that can be printed as a handout and used as part of a lesson on how to evaluate internet websites. There is also an abbreviated version of the tutorial, that could be used as a review tool for students already familiar with this information.  MedlinePlus has a Children’s page ttps:// and a Teen Page  Medline offers topics that are related, and links to additional information on its pages.  Both the subject matter and language used is age appropriate.

PubMed,, NLM’s most well-known product, is a database of indexed citations and abstracts to medical, nursing, dental, veterinary, health care and preclinical sciences journal articles. PubMed is an excellent resource for high school juniors and seniors to locate articles for research about medical topics, especially if they are taking AP classes or if they plan to pursue a post-secondary education in any of the health sciences. PubMed through its tutorials, can also teach students how to start a health-related research project. Some of the articles from a PubMed search may cost money to access.  However, an alternative that can be used to locate free, full-text articles on topics, is PubMed Central  Another PubMed product, PubMed Health, is a great place to locate information about “hot topics” of interest to teens, such as obesity and mental health.  When PubMed Health highlights a news article, it also provides the source of the news story, what type of research was conducted, whether the research involved animals or humans, and a summary of the research results. PubMed Health has useful resource, England’s Behind the Headlines service from the National Health Service, that contains a section about how to read health news critically.

As a new school year begins, consider sharing these helpful, educational resources with your favorite teacher or student. Those of us who provide education and training for the NNLM NER are available to provide your organization with training for any of the resources we offer.

Categories: RML Blogs