The National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) have teamed up to kickstart a three-year pilot project that will support this unique and promising NIH initiative.
This collaboration will maximize the power of All of Us Research Program’s community engagement and by informing and engaging participants through NLM’s National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM).
The All of Us Research Program is a historic effort to gather data from one million or more people living in the United States to accelerate research and improve health. By taking into account individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and biology, researchers will uncover paths toward delivering precision medicine.
The partnership aims to help public libraries and community organizations in supporting the health information needs of their users, to support community engagement in managing personal health information and to operate the All of Us Training Center, the home for training and resources about and related to the program for customers, health professionals, librarians and researchers.
NNLM will coordinate efforts across all of the Regional Medical Libraries to develop effective, innovative, and replicable approaches to meet the health information needs of communities. The Regional Medical Libraries will engage in partnerships with public libraries and community organizations to provide access to quality health information for library users of all ages and guide community members to trusted health information so that they can make educated decisions about their health and that of their loved ones. NNLM will begin the community engagement program with a phased approached, beginning with Durham, NC, Memphis, TN, Sacramento, CA, Portland, OR, Houston, TX, New Orleans, LA, and Albuquerque, NM.
After full launch of the All of Us Research Program in 2018, community engagement initiatives will expand. NNLM members can get involved by facilitating collaborations between members, public libraries and other community organizations to support programming, act as a resource to library staff, and participate in community activities, such as health fairs and other activities.
Find more information about the NNLM All of Us National Program at and about opportunities for partnerships with your Regional Medical Library at https://nnlm.gov/ner
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The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) invites you to participate in Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles. This course will be primarily held via the Moodle platform with optional WebEx discussions. This course is designed to help health sciences librarians understand the issues of big data in clinical outcomes and what roles health sciences librarians can take on in this service area.
Dates: February 5 – March 30, 2018
Register: To register for this class, please visit: https://nnlm.gov/class/big-data-healthcare-exploring-emerging-roles/8113
The class size for this course is limited to 60 students. We will begin a waitlist if there are more interested in participating.
Course instructors for the winter session are Ann Glusker, Pacific Northwest Region, Derek Johnson, Greater Midwest Region, Alicia Lillich, MidContinental Region, Ann Madhavan, Pacific Northwest Region, Tony Nguyen, Southeastern/Atlantic Region, and Elaina Vitale, Mid-Atlantic Region.
Description: The Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles course will help health sciences librarians better understand the issues of big data in clinical outcomes and what roles health sciences librarians can take on in this service area. Course content comes from information shared by the presenters at the March 7, 2016 NNLM Using Data to Improve Clinical Patient Outcomes Forum, top selections from the NNLM MCR Data Curation/Management Journal Club and NNLM PSR Data Curation/Management Journal Club’s articles, NINR’s Nursing Research Boot Camp, recommended readings from previous cohorts, and Big Data University’s Big Data Fundamentals online course.
Participants will have the opportunity to share what they learned with the instructor from each section of the course content either through WebEx discussions or Moodle Discussions within each Module. These submissions can be used to help support the student’s views expressed in the final essay assignment.
Objectives: Students who successfully complete the course will:
- Explain the role big data plays in clinical patient outcomes.
- Explain current/potential roles in which librarians are supporting big data initiatives
- Illustrate the fundamentals of big data from a systems perspective
- Articulate their views/options on the role health sciences sector librarians is in supporting big data initiatives
NOTE: Participants will articulate their views on why health sciences librarians should or should not become involved in supporting big data initiatives by sharing a 500-800 word essay. Students are encouraged to be brave and bold in their views so as to elicit discussions about the roles librarians should play in this emerging field. Participants are encouraged to allow their views to be published on a NNLM online blog/newsletter as part of a dialog with the wider health sciences librarian community engaging in this topic. Your course instructors will reach out to you following the completion of the course.
On top of information gained, being a part of the big data in clinical care dialog, and earning 9 continuing education credits from the Medical Library Association, students may earn an IBM Open Badge program from the Big Data University.
This is a semi-self-paced course (“semi” meaning there are completion deadlines). While offered primarily asynchronously, your course instructors plan to offer opportunities in which participants can join a WebEx discussion to discuss some of the content.
Course Expectations: To complete this course for nine hours of MLA contact hours, participants are expected to:
- Spend 1-2 hours completed the work within each module.
- Commit to complete all activities and articulate your views within each module.
- Complete course requirements by the deadline established in each module.
- Coordinate with a course instructor to publish your observations/final assignments on a NNLM blog/newsletter
- Provide course feedback on the Online Course Evaluation Form
Grading: Grades for this course is simply a pass/fail grading system. When your submission meets the assignment’s expectations, you will receive full credit for the contact hours for that Module. For submissions that are unclear or incomplete, you may be requested for more information until your instructor approves.
- For discussion posts, your activity will be marked as complete after you’ve submitted a discussion AND your instructor assigns a point to mark as complete
- If you participate in WebEx Journal Club Discussions (when available), your instructor will assign points in the Discussions for that module.
Students have the option to accept fewer contact hours. However, you will need to inform your course instructors ahead of time.
Please contact Tony Nguyen with questions.
Succeed in your New Year’s resolutions using resources from the National Library of Medicine! Be prepared for emergencies in 2018 by finding helpful disaster apps to download to your mobile device. Find resources to help you stay fit and eat healthy in 2018 using Health Topics pages on MedlinePlus.
Disaster Apps for Your Digital Go Bag
- Resolution: Be ready for an emergency in 2018. Here are recommended disaster apps to help you stay safe. https://go.usa.gov/xn5JQ #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- Be prepared in 2018! Use this helpful list of disaster apps to be ready for any emergency. https://go.usa.gov/xn5JQ #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- Is your New Year’s resolution to be prepared for any future emergencies? The National Library of Medicine can help you fulfill this resolution with a list of disaster apps to help you stay safe. https://go.usa.gov/xn5Jd #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- Your 2018 resolution: Be prepared for an emergency! Use this list of disaster apps created by the National Library of Medicine to prepare your Digital Go Bag. https://go.usa.gov/xn5Jd #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
MedlinePlus Exercise and Physical Fitness Page
- Is your New Year’s resolution to get in shape? Find exercise and fitness resources to help you meet your 2018 goals on @MedlinePlus: https://go.usa.gov/xn5JU #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- Get fit in 2018 with @MedlinePlus! Find fitness information, health check tools and more. https://go.usa.gov/xn5JU #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- Is your 2018 New Year’s resolution to exercise more? Let MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine be your guide! Find exercise and fitness resources, health check tools, and more under the Exercise and Physical Fitness page on MedlinePlus. https://go.usa.gov/xn5Jw #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- Get in shape for 2018 with the help of MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine! Learn about the health benefits of exercise, and find fitness tips and resources at the Exercise and Physical Fitness page on MedlinePlus. https://go.usa.gov/xn5Jw #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
MedlinePlus Nutrition Page
- Your 2018 resolution: Eat a healthier diet. Find helpful resources about nutrition at @MedlinePlus: https://go.usa.gov/xn5JP #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- Hoping to improve your diet in the New Year? Find healthy nutrition tools and information at @MedlinePlus. https://go.usa.gov/xn5JP #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine can help you meet your New Year’s resolutions about a healthier diet. Check the Nutrition page on MedlinePlus for information, health check tools, and more about healthy eating. https://go.usa.gov/xn5Jf #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- Is you 2018 resolution to eat a healthier diet? Check the Nutrition page on MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine for information, health check tools, and more about healthy eating. https://go.usa.gov/xn5Jf #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
MedlinePlus Exercise and Physical Fitness Page (Spanish)
- ¿Cuál es tu resolución para 2018? Si quieres hacer más ejercicio, utiliza @MedlinePlusEsp para información y recursos. https://go.usa.gov/xn5Jm #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- ¡Ponte en forma durante 2018 con @MedlinePlusEsp! Encuentre recursos e información sobre ejercicio aquí. https://go.usa.gov/xn5Jm #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- ¿Cuál es tu resolución para 2018? Si quieres hacer más ejercicio, utiliza la página de MedlinePlus “Ejercicio y estado físico” para información y recursos. https://go.usa.gov/xn5JG #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- ¡Ponte en forma durante 2018 con MedlinePlus! Encuentre recursos e información sobre ejercicio en la página de MedlinePlus “Ejercicio y estado físico”. https://go.usa.gov/xn5JG #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
MedlinePlus Nutrition Page (Spanish)
- Tu resolución para 2018: come sano. Encuentre recursos e información sobre nutrición con @MedlinePlusEsp. https://go.usa.gov/xn5Jp #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- Come sano durante 2018 can la ayuda de @MedlinePlusEsp. Encuentre recursos sobre nutrición aquí: https://go.usa.gov/xn5Jp #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- Tu resolución para 2018: come sano. Encuentre recursos e información sobre comida saludable con la página de Nutrición en MedlinePlus. https://go.usa.gov/xn5JH #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
- Come sano durante 2018 can la ayuda de MedlinePlus. Encuentre recursos sobre comida saludable con la página de Nutrición en MedlinePlus. https://go.usa.gov/xn5JH #NIHhealthy2018 #ResolutionsWithNLM
Just in time for the new year, NER got the great gift of having Catherine Martin, M.Ed, start with the NNLM NER.
Catherine is the NER Community Engagement Coordinator for the NIH All of Us Research Program. She holds an M.Ed. with a major in Health Education and minor in Non-profit management. Catherine has a lifelong commitment to teaching healthcare programs to healthcare professionals and to culturally diverse populations as an Adjunct Professor in area colleges, within local DPH’s Medical Reserve Corporation, and for emergency medical services agencies.
Her background includes teaching for research and community participants in a Healthy Living Course under the direction of the Department of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Catherine will be working with the NIH’s All of Us Research Program and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to raise awareness and offer education about the program and precision medicine. This partnership is a three-year pilot program, with several objectives:
- To increase the capacity of public library staff to improve health literacy.
- To equip public libraries with information about the All of Us Research Program to share with their local communities.
- To assess the potential impact of libraries on participant enrollment and retention.
- To highlight public libraries as a technology resource that participants can use to engage with the program, particularly those in underserved communities affected by the digital divide.
- To establish an online platform for education and training about All of Us and precision medicine, with resources for members of the public, health professionals, librarians and researchers.
- To help identify best practices in messaging and outreach that lead to increased public interest and engagement in the program.
Read more about the partnership here.
Catherine can be reached at email@example.com or 508-856-5992
Please join us in welcoming Catherine Martin.
Definition of Resolve, transitive verb
5: to reach a firm decision about: resolve to get more sleep; resolve disputed points in a text.
In the work world, there are all sorts of “new years”, usually tied to the fiscal or funding cycles of the workplace. When I worked in public libraries, our fiscal year was July 1. At the end of June, we were madly spending money in a use-it-or-lose-it way. At the hospital library where I most recently worked, our fiscal year was October 1. As autumn rolled around, we were identifying our most impressive statistics to share with hospital administrators. Here at NNLM, our funding cycle starts on May 1. Just past our halfway point, this is a great time to decide how we want to finish out our year.
For me, this is a time to reflect on personal work goals. Some of these goals are of the “get more sleep” variety. Methods of pacing myself and staying on task. Other goals are akin to the “resolve disputed points.” The disputes are internal. The times when I inwardly groan, such as needing to take CITI Training once again. Or, when I have to coach myself through facing a new circumstance. Or, when I find myself going toe to toe with my old friend Procrastination.Upcoming Endeavors
In 2018, I resolve to…
- Finish developing the Business of Healthcare webinar for January. This webinar is aimed at serving hospital librarians in the New England Region, but open to anyone. Please join us!
- Deliver the Grants and Proposal Writing webinar in February. Thinking of applying for NNLM funding for our 2018-2019 cycle? This webinar is perfectly timed for you.
- Co-present NNLM’s Stand Up for Health preconference at the Public Library Association Conference. If you will be in Philadelphia this coming March, let me know.
- Write and submit the Consumer Column for the Journal of Hospital Librarianship. I have a March/April deadline. Here’s when Procrastination will surely show up.
Wishing you a Healthy and Happy New Year!
What are some of your first thoughts when you think about the holidays? Will you consider me “Negative-Nellie” or one of those “glass-half-empty” people if I admit that “stress” is one of the first thoughts I have when I think about the holidays?
Do you think that family stress could cause an increase in the amount of family violence during the holiday season? My immediate answer is, of course! Increased stress, increased alcohol consumption, increased time with family, increased expectations, increased obligations, it is not hard to see how violence could be the culmination of all those increased behaviors.
Guess what? There is no data to support that assumption that family violence increases during the holidays! “This is a myth that has been debunked pretty well, “according to Monica McLaughlin, deputy director of public policy at the National Network to End Domestic Violence. The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence issued a report that was not able to “find any reliable, national study linking the holidays with an increase in domestic violence. “In fact, the perpetuation of the myth that violence escalates during the holidays, is proof of the significant lack of understanding many of us have about how abuse works. Domestic violence is not just isolated acts of physical violence, instead it is a pattern of behavior that seeks to control and intimidate victims through emotional, verbal, economic and sexual abuse. “Coersive control doesn’t take a vacation,” states Monica McLaughlin. “It’s there all the time.” That is why Melissa Jeltsen entitled her December 13, 2016 Huffington Post article on this topic “Why It’s Dangerous to Claim Domestic Violence Spikes Over the Holidays.“
If you would like to read the article, here is the link http://bit.ly/2kqXcfr .
There has been an abundance of violence in our country over the past few months, I worried about writing a blog post about this topic, especially during the holidays. Over the past few months, I too have felt like I have reached my limit of how much sadness I can tolerate, as I process what seems like weekly tragedies occurring in our country. Yet, it is hard to ignore that there have been 81 famous and prominent men accused of sexual misconduct and/or violence just since the beginning of October according to the December 8, 2017 Time Magazine article, “Here are All the Public Figures Who’ve Been Accused of Sexual Misconduct After Harvey Weinstein,” written by Samantha Cooney.
As a nation we are right in the middle of an important and historic national conversation about sexual misconduct and violence toward women. Victims are finally being heard and perpetrators are suffering significant consequences. Hopefully, this conversation about violence can be an opportunity for education. Through our shared knowledge and education, I am hopeful we can help each other create solutions that will enable women and families to emerge from these tough experiences, stronger and resilient.
Back in November, which is domestic violence month, our local YWCA created this display to bring awareness to domestic violence. The display was placed in the Worcester City Hall for the month. To learn more about this event, http://www.ywcacentralmass.org/events/an-empty-place-at-the-table-5
If you are interested in learning more about domestic violence, the National Library of Medicine has created the following resources through their Specialized Information Services Outreach Portal. You can also access the following information through this link http://bit.ly/2i78Q1R.
Patient Resources in Multiple Languages for Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a form of abuse that may involve a spouse or partner, a child, elderly relative, or other family member. Domestic violence can include physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the National Library of Medicine offers handouts, audio, and video resources in multiple languages on HealthReach to educate people about domestic violence, such as:
- No One Has the Right to Hurt You, Even Someone You Love (22 languages): This eight-panel brochure educates refugee and immigrant women who may be victims of domestic violence. It uses a question-and-answer format to provide instructions for how to get out of a domestic violence situation and where to go for help.
- Healthy Living Toolkit: Violence In the Home (20 languages): This six-panel brochure educates people about violence in the home. It explains that anyone can be abused, especially women, the elderly, and children.
- Dating Violence (English and Spanish): This one-page handout with accompanying audio and video educates people about dating violence. It explains what dating violence is, how it starts, and its consequences.
- Safe, Smart and Healthy – Keys to Success in Your New Home: Family Issues and Domestic Violence – 1 (16 languages): This one-page handout with accompanying video educates people about domestic violence and the law. It discusses types of domestic violence, and clarifies that it is illegal in the United States.
Safe, Smart and Healthy – Keys to Success in Your New Home: Family Issues and Domestic Violence – 2 (16 languages): This one-page handout with accompanying video educates people about resources to assist women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. It contains information about 911, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Head Start, WIC, and Medicaid.
Last winter, I joined the staff at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region. I had a solid background in libraries. I worked in public libraries from 1996-2008, and in a hospital library from 2008-2016. I was very familiar with NNLM NER, but I knew less about other regional and the national offices. I subscribed to the NNLM YouTube page to have easy access to recorded NNLM webinars. At the end of September, I viewed this webinar from the National Library of Medicine, Midcontinental Region (MCR).
I encourage you to watch it!
During the webinar, Dr. Graber mentioned the upcoming Diagnostic Error in Medicine 10th International Conference in Newton, MA. The preconference, Patients as Partners in the Diagnostic Process, was free. Lucky me! If I was willing to give up a Saturday (and I was), I could easily drive to this event.
Dr. Graber welcomed us to the preconference, giving us background information about The Society to Improve Diagnosis. Established in 2011, one strategic priority is to engage and integrate patients and their families into diagnostic improvement efforts. In partnership with the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and the Jefferson Center, the Society was funded in 2015 by the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ) to look at the problem of diagnostic error from the patient’s perspective. The result was this report: Clearing the Error: Patient Participation in Reducing Diagnostic Error.
My ears perked up when Dr. Graber referred to a recently published commentary: Graber, M., Rusz, D., Jones, M., et al. (2017). The new diagnostic team. Diagnosis, 4(4), pp. 225-238. doi:10.1515/dx-2017-0022.Abstract
The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in the recently issued report Improving Diagnosis in Health Care outlined eight major recommendations to improve the quality and safety of diagnosis. The #1 recommendation was to improve teamwork in the diagnostic process. This is a major departure from the classical approach, where the physician is solely responsible for diagnosis. In the new, patient-centric vision, the core team encompasses the patient, the physician and the associated nursing staff, with each playing an active role in the process. The expanded diagnostic team includes pathologists, radiologists, allied health professionals, medical librarians*, and others. We review the roles that each of these team members will need to assume, and suggest “first steps” that each new team member can take to achieve this new dynamic.
*Please note that I’ve bolded the words medical librarians.
At the lunch break, I mentioned to my table mates that public librarians might play a role as well. I spoke with them about the collaboration between the Public Library Association and NNLM to prepare librarians for handling health information questions. One person was perplexed by this concept. She associated librarians with fictional books, not health and wellness. Others were more intrigued. Or more polite!
I have lots to share about this preconference. Look for future blog posts about the role of patients, families and librarians in the diagnostic process.
The first week in November, I felt a tickle in my throat. Within twenty-four hours, this developed into a full-fledged head cold. Fever, sore throat, stuffy nose. Misery. As the symptoms dragged on, I found myself wanting a miracle cure. HealthDay posted this article just as a cough was settling into my chest. As the article suggests, I learned that the miracle cure is rest, plenty of fluids and time. Lots and lots of time.
Cold and flu season is the perfect opportunity for us to brush up on evidence-based remedies. For background information, take a look at the Common Cold page on MedlinePlus. This page links to many reputable resources for guidance on ways to distinguish colds, flu and allergy; to learn the best uses of humidifiers; and to view an illustrated explanation of the common cold. MedlinePlus is a great resource for dispelling myths, such as the need for antibiotics for runny noses.
Curious about natural remedies? MedlinePlus links directly to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) for Treatment and Therapies information. NCCIH discusses scientific studies on American ginseng, echinacea, garlic, honey, meditation, probiotics, saline nasal irrigation, vitamin C and zinc.
On this web page, NCCIH links to relevant research, such as: Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Doyle WJ, et al. Chronic stress, glucocorticoid receptor resistance, inflammation, and disease risk. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2012;109(16):5995-5999. doi:10.1073/pnas.1118355109.
For those of us who want to look deeper into the medical literature, the same NCCIH web page links to this PubMed search:
MeSH Terms: humans
Publication Type: meta-analysis; review
majr: influenza, human; complementary therapies; common cold
A great jumping-off place for performing your own literature searches.Stand Up for Health
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine is teaming up with the Public Library Association for a new initiative called “Promoting Healthy Communities”. We will be working together to increase library staff* knowledge and skills related to reliable health information resources. If you work in a public library, please consider attending our Public Library Association preconference on Tuesday, March 20, 2018.
*This initiative is intended for anyone who works in a public library, regardless of educational degrees or job description.
You are invited to the NNLM NER Funding Meeting.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 – 9:30am-3:30pm at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (Faculty Conference Room), Worcester, MA
Are you curious about receiving NNLM NER funding? What is the process? What do we look for?
Want ideas, or bounce your ideas off others?
Have you received funding before and want to share what you know and your projects with others?
Join us for a day to learn about and from previously funded projects, learn about evaluation, and share project ideas and questions with others.
A tentative schedule is below. We will be sending out more details about the content and logistics to registered individuals as we get closer to the event.
- 9:30-10am – Arrival, networking, light snacks
- 10am-10:45am – Welcome and Overview of NER funding program (info on requirements, expectations, etc)
- 10:45-11am – Break
- 11am-12pm – Presentations about the funding experience from Currently Funded Projects (invited presentations)
- 12pm-1pm – Lunch & Networking
- 1pm-2pm – Presentation: How to evaluate a project and logic model training from the National Evaluation Office
- 2pm-2:15pm – Break
- 2:15pm-3:15pm – Round table discussions
- 3:15pm-3:30pm – Wrap up and end
Please fill out the registration form if you would like to attend. This event is free and open to anyone interested, but we have a limited capacity so register now.
Lunch is included and travel reimbursement is available.
Please contact Martha Meacham (firstname.lastname@example.org – 508.856.1267) with any questions or for more information.
The last place I would have expected to provide educational HIV/AIDS information would be a restaurant. But June’s HIV+Eatery is doing a great job getting the word out that HIV/AIDS cannot be spread through food.
It all started with a survey by Casey House, asking how comfortable Canadians would be eating food prepared by someone who is HIV positive. Surprisingly, 50% of survey respondents stated that they would not knowingly eat a meal prepared by someone with HIV. That’s when the CEO of Casey House, Joanne Simons knew “a conversation across the dinner table where you share love and compassion while eating a meal…” was needed to address the lingering stigma that HIV/AIDS still has despite the decline in HIV/AIDS in Canada over the last 7 years.
This restaurant, which is really a food “Pop-up” (a current, popular trend for restaurants to open temporarily) was open for just 2 days earlier in November, and served 200 customers who bought reserved tickets costing $98 each. The praise received from the delicious menu offerings like Thai potato leak soup and gingerbread tiramisu have got the organization thinking about future venues like New York, San Francisco and London where they can showcase their culinary skills, as well as their clever marketing communication. June’s has received lots of positive media attention using the #SMASHSTIGMA hashtag and the restaurant’s striking red aprons that don memorable and catchy phrases like “Judge the cooking, not the cook”, “I got HIV from Pasta, said no one ever” and “Break bread. Smash stigma.” People are talking and Casey House has accomplished what it set out to do, provide an opening for communication about the misperceptions some still have when they think about eating food prepared by those with HIV/AIDS. Putting the questions many are thinking about, out there. Questions like, “What if the chef cuts his finger?” and “Can you get HIV through saliva or sweat?”, and honestly addressing the apprehensions while cooking and serving delicious food is how they are “Smashing the Stigma” one bite at a time!
Another recent development also related to HIV/AIDS is happening in our own backyard at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The National Library of Medicine awarded $50,000 in funding for the UMMS grant “Bringing HIV/AIDS Information to the Heart of a Community. “The Lamar Soutter Library blog just posted the description of this exciting project and community collaboration.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) Lamar Soutter Library is excited about the launch of the AIDS Community Outreach Project, “Bringing HIV/AIDS Information to the Heart of the Commonwealth”. The project is a collaboration between the Lamar Soutter Library, AIDS Project Worcester (APW), and Worcester Public Library (WPL). The outreach project aims to improve the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS in Worcester and surrounding communities by increasing their knowledge of the disease through awareness and utilization of National Library of Medicine (NLM) HIV/AIDS resources through training, information outreach, and resource development. NLM resources include AIDSinfo, AIDSource, ClinicalTrials.gov, MedlinePlus, PubMed, and Public Health Partners.
The project includes building a training room at AIDS Project Worcester, train-the-trainer sessions conducted by the Lamar Soutter Library for AIDS Project Worcester and Worcester Public Library staff and volunteers, who will then provide training sessions as part of their outreach efforts. AIDS Project Worcester staff will train UMMS and Worcester Public Library staff on PrEP Navigator procedures in Central Massachusetts, then UMMS staff will train the partners on specific PrEP Navigator resources available through the NLM. Updates are planned to the AIDS Project Worcester website through a collaboration between project consultants and AIDS Project Worcester. The project also includes usability testing to better understand how APW staff, volunteers, clients, and the public use the website, along with a coordinated social media campaign to promote NLM resources and the services available from the project partners. In addition, Worcester Public Library will expand their collection of print and audio-visual resources to increase the quality and quantity of HIV/AIDS resources available to consumers in the Worcester area.
The “Bringing HIV/AIDS Information to the Heart of the Commonwealth” project improves the visibility of the services available from the collaborators and highlights the resources available to those living with HIV/AIDS, their families, caregivers, and at-risk populations in the Worcester area. The collaborators are very enthusiastic about the potential of helping clients and patrons get reliable HIV/AIDS information and the opportunity for them to learn computer and Internet searching skills, empowering both health care professionals and their patients. We are looking forward to the evaluation aspects of the project to hopefully support the successes of the project and provide lessons on areas for improvement in the future.
The National Library of Medicine has a AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects portal that provides information about HIVAIDS funding opportunities, currently funded and projects previously funded by NLM.
AIDSOURCE is NLM’s mobile one source for HIV/AIDS information.
The sixth New England Research Data Management Roundtable was held July 27, 2017 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. Sponsored by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region, the NE RDM Roundtables provide opportunities for New England librarians to compare notes, ask questions, share lessons learned, explore new working models, acquire fresh ideas, and develop new partnerships.
The day focused on sharing data: first from the perspective of the researcher, followed by the view from WPI’s academic computing.
Below are the notes captured by all participants at the event during the roundtable discussion. We hope you can use the questions and insights from others to think about your own work or inspire more questions and investigations!
Topic 1: Challenges and successes working with researchers and sharing data.
- Take a moment to reflect on the first talk – perspective of a researcher. What are your key take-aways?
- How many people were involved to make a project work
- How much data was created by one lab
- Importance of creating a culture for Data Management
- Eagerness to share
- Even champions still need help with data management!
- Importance and benefit of having a champion for data management at your organization
- Importance of cross-training students
- Clear that there was a great deal of time spent thinking about workflows and continuous improvement
- Sometimes it takes a big problem for folks to realize they need help
- Scale of work is changing — new interdisciplinary layers add to complexity
- Need for repetition in RDM training
- Do you consider yourself an advocate for data sharing, a facilitator of the process, an educator, something else?
- Trying to get a foot in the door!
- Facilitator — trying to help others be able to do their work
- Mixed advocate and educator role
- Advocacy needs to be done with care
- Helping folks think about data management proactively
- Helping connect folks to the resources they need – break down barriers in communication, departments, centers, organizations
- Helping folks get answers — not scolding into compliance. Librarians as part of the solution, but maybe not the leaders
- Importance of having a champion
- Educating others so that they can become advocates — in their departments, elsewhere
- Advocating can help you hear the pushback/feedback from others, and can itself be extremely informative
- Justifying librarian involvement can be the hardest part.
- Can you talk about some of the challenges you have had communicating with researchers re: sharing data? What about successes?
- Scientists not viewing librarians as reputable sources of guidance because librarians “are not scientists”
- Discouragement from administration, who may advocate for open but also push for protecting information — not necessarily balanced
- Scaling resources — how do we scale up from what is currently provided?
- Language and how we explain topics so all can understand
- Explaining how to use a tool
- Getting information from researchers about their wants and needs
- Tools don’t fix all the problems or make them more organized
- Cultural barricades
- Librarians not very good at sharing their own data — not good at practicing what we teach.
- Librarians need to become part of the research ecosystem — not just an observer
- Researchers don’t know what they don’t know – hard to know where to begin the conversation
- Metadata — sharing is not just putting data out there, it needs to be useful. Researchers often don’t realize they need to submit metadata.
- Time consuming to figure out solutions to unique problems — and librarians can’t always provide the unique solutions to each problem
- Can be intimidating if librarians don’t have training in same discipline — but often researchers just want help
- Perception that no one wants or needs their data.
- Motivated PIs
- Grassroots awareness with students to raise PI awareness — like naming schemes; or — asking PIs “do you know what your graduate students are doing?”
- Working with compliance office
- Good PR from other presentations, faculty
- Reminder that many folks are already doing aspects of data management
- Meeting with researcher after DMP is implemented
- Researchers often just want help — so don’t need to have same background or training as researcher
- What are some of the ways that you talk about benefits to sharing data responsibly? How do you address concerns of sharing data or the additional work involved?
- Important to focus on framing this in a positive way
- Focus on “good” practices — may feel more achievable than “best” practices
- Reinforcing practices related to publishing — you write papers so others can reproduce your work, you cite papers so others can find it — similar principles apply to data!
- Incentivizing data sharing — increasing in practice, and getting credit is of great importance. Talk about citing data to make that an important point.
- Finding the failure points
- Using the term gatekeeper — don’t use overly-restrictive language
- Diving deeper into knee-jerk reactions to sharing data — many claim funding obligations but might be a deeper discussion
- “Stand on the shoulders of giants” — you want to be those shoulders
- “You never know how useful your data may be”
- Making it personal — how to be a good scholar, good colleague, reminding researchers of other work they have built off of, and how challenging that might have been. Avoid finger wagging
- How do you educate researchers and their staff on sharing data responsibly and best practices/sharing?
- Getting into workflows and trainings that already exist
- Creating workshops for different audiences
- Disguise workshops – “loving your research data”
- Reach out to graduate students
- Find a PI advocate
- Recognizing subject specific idiosyncrasies
- Get metadata and other specialists involved early — and know who your resources are
Topic 2: Storing data at our institutions, options for long-term access, and interactions with researchers.
- What storage practices and related software are you able to recommend to researchers, based on the infrastructure and technical expertise available at your organization?
- Box, LabArchives, Open Science Framework
- Open source — avoid things that aren’t backward compatible
- Encourage folks to use local IT solutions
- Sometimes moved to faculty senate decisions
- Sometimes troubles with infrastructure that is dated or unclear
- Troubles with administration
- Larger issues with data security and privacy — education around these areas
- Do you collaborate with other units/people on campus, such as IRB, research integrity, tech transfer office, IT? What are some of the challenges and opportunities partnering with other units around data sharing and long-term access?
- Research Office, Compliance Office, IRB, Tech transfer office
- Challenging to make inroads, know who to talk to
- Establishing relationships takes extensive time
- Present solutions, not problems
- Encouraging faculty and researchers to not keep their hard drive ‘under their desk’
- Communication continues to be a challenge
- Payment — faculty member viewed any service they didn’t have to pay for as not a service
- If there is an increase in cost, transparency will be important — people want to know where their money is going
- Important to have conversations with administration
- Do you have a data repository, IR that accepts data, or other long-term storage solution at your campus?
- DataVerse, FigShare, bePress, Hydra, DSpace, Fedora
- In-house is often not the best option — recommend folks to outside/other solutions
- Creating a data catalog — record in IR that points to data wherever it lives.
- IR is not a good home for all types of data
- Access repository v preservation repository
- No long-term storage option — passed back and forth between stakeholders
- Some slower uptake for IRs early on
- Challenges of terminology between groups
- How do we help researchers make appropriate decisions about third-party data repositories?
- Used to trust government repositories — now not so sure
- Give researchers a checklist for data repository quality
- DataVerse as a model of good policies
- Tables/charts/other decision-making guides — on a libguide, elsewhere
- Use publisher suggestions
- Value the discipline-specific knowledge
- Embargo and privacy issues should be considered
- All projects come to an end. How do we prepare researchers for end-of-project data disposition years after the project ends?
- Start way sooner — need to plan for five years or more after deposit
- Conversations often happen at a time of crisis
- Would be ideal to follow up with researchers after a project — but can’t always be done
- Importance of metadata to cut through the noise, really help make work reusable into the future
- Good guidance from DCC:
- Sunset planning needs to be part of a data management plan
- If I can’t read it in five years, why should I keep it in five years
- File transformation guidance: Brown Dog from NSF; Stata and R
- File naming conventions
- Partner with archivists on preservation, appraisal, and deaccessioning
- Should get our own house in order
For more information about this roundtable or upcoming events, please contact the NER office at NNLM-NER – email@example.com
This post is part of a series on NNLM NER’s funded projects.
For several funding cycles, 15-40 Connection, an organization dedicated to improving cancer detection skills, has received support from NNLM NER. This unique organization targets people between the ages of 15-40, considered to be in their prime, asserting that “[s]ince 1975, improvements in cancer survival rates for 15 to 40 year-olds have continuously lagged behind all other age groups. Delayed diagnosis is a major culprit of this shocking statistic.”
In an effort to raise cancer detection rates, 15-40 Connection promotes self-empowerment in three steps. First, identify what your “great” is. When you are at your best, what are your eating, sleeping, and bathroom habits? What is your skin like? Is your weight steady? Your energy? Second, if you notice a change that lasts more that two weeks, consult your health care provider. Fatigue dragging you down too long? Injury not healing properly? 15-40 Connection wants to you to risk the embarrassment that your concerns are not warranted. Get checked out. Third, communicate openly with your health care provider. Here’s where 15-40 Connection is ready to lend a hand. This organization builds educational resources and outreach activities around self-empowerment.MedlinePlus Supports Self-Empowerment
As an Education and Outreach Coordinator, I was curious to see how 15-40 Connection promotes the National Library of Medicine. I am impressed with how they weave MedlinePlus into their storytelling. In this blog post, featuring Holy Cross student Henry Carr, the bone cancer hyperlink goes directly to MedlinePlus. That is just one example. The website routinely links to MedlinePlus. And, 15-40 Connection swag includes the promotion of MedlinePlus.
An early detection advocate and cancer survivor, Henry Carr made a huge impact on the staff at 15-40 Connection. They dedicated the 2016 Crusaders Against Cancer 5K fundraiser to him. Sadly, Henry died in June after a recurrence of his cancer.
On October 28, I headed over to Holy Cross for this year’s Crusaders Against Cancer fundraiser. Once again, the run was dedicated to Henry. Many runners wore gray HC for HC t-shirts. Others wore Crusader purple. The day was crisp and clear. And the message of self-empowerment was clear as well.
“Doctors, like all other people, are subject to prejudice and discrimination. While bias can be a problem in any profession, in medicine, the stakes are much higher.”
― Damon Tweedy, Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine
With the goal of promoting reflection and academic discourse, the University of Massachusetts Medical School selects a book for the campus to read and discuss each year. A dedicated committee spends precious time reading and reviewing each book nominated. Shedding light on a timely topic, and promoting greater understanding of a key initiative from the school’s mission are two of the criteria a book must meet. Black Man in a White Coat, this year’s campus read, is Dr. Damon Tweedy’s thoughtful compilation of personal and professional stories that clearly illustrate how skin color along with a variety of complex social, cultural and economic factors contribute to inequalities in the health care we receive.
On October 11th, Dr. Damon Tweedy came to the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA for lunch… and a discussion of his book. One of the first stories from the book that Dr. Tweedy shared was his internal struggle with self-doubt in the first months of medical school caused by his of his own insecurity with his skin color, and social class. Just as he was facing those doubts his medical school professor mistakenly identified him as a building custodian and asked him to fix the lights in the classroom. That incident pushed Tweedy to study hard in order to lead the class academically, and to make sure everyone, instructors and peers alike, would have no doubt he “belonged” at Duke Medical School. That first semester of medical school he earned honors status which affirmed to him that he was able to compete academically with classmates who had opportunities to attend expensive and prestigious schools, that he did not.
I was impressed with the vulnerability and honesty with which Tweedy recounts the prejudice he experienced when patients voiced their distrust of him and told him they wanted another doctor for no other reason but his skin color. As I progressed through the book, I felt like a cheerleader hoping Dr. Tweedy would win over another one of these “prejudiced” patients with his compassion, empathy and humility. Showing us himself, being unafraid to include the good, the bad and even the ugly experiences where he reveals his own imperfections, (like when Tweedy has to confront his own prejudice and bias toward others) has given me an additional perspective on the difficult job medical care givers have at times.
Given the media exposure the topic of U.S. Healthcare has had recently, I am a more informed citizen about the complexity that fixing health disparities requires, thanks to what I learned from reading this book and the discussion I was fortunate to be part of! That’s the great thing about reading a good book, you learn about things!
Health disparities refers to differences in the health status of different groups of people. Some groups of people have higher rates of certain diseases, and more deaths and suffering from them, compared to others. These groups may be based on race, ethnicity, immigrant status, disability, sex or gender, sexual orientation, geography or income. As part of its mission to bring good health information to all, The National Library of Medicine seeks to lessen health disparities through its outreach program of free digital resources, training and grant funding opportunities.
In a recent edition (May 16, 2017) of NLM Musings from the Mezzanine, a guest post written by Dr. Fred Wood the Outreach and Evaluation Scientist in the Office of Health Information Programs Development, discusses how the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) All of us precision medicine initiative is expected to focus on the use of big data to help with reducing health disparities. The full article is here, https://nlmdirector.nlm.nih.gov/2017/05/16/health-disparities-big-data/.
If this topic is interests you, there is more information on the MedlinePlus website. There are many useful links to a variety of research and populations affected by health disparities https://medlineplus.gov/healthdisparities.html.
Guest post by Alan Lampson, Lead, Frymoyer Community Health Resource Center, University of Vermont Medical Center
On Oct 10, NNLM NER hosted the second in the series of four webinars for the Community Health Engagement Community of Interest. The focus of this presentation was Community Assessment. Margot Malachowski presented information on the whys and whats of community assessments. She identified four sources of information to pursue when doing a community assessment.
I wanted to highlight one of the resources listed, the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). Some hospitals had been conducting CHNAs for many years before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but with the Affordable Care Act it became a requirement. The act also requires hospitals to develop implementation strategies to meet the community needs that are identified.
During the CHNA, key stake-holders are identified and interviewed and community members are surveyed so that a list of needs can be identified. The CHNA plays a crucial role in identifying the social determinants of health and planning population health management. When considering a community project, you can use the CHNA to see these already identified community needs and the community partners and key informants. The CHNA is also a tool that the hospital can use to explain to regulators and the public what steps the hospital is taking to address the health needs of the community. You can view the CHNA of the University of Vermont Medical Center here.
Anyone who has tried to search for local health data knows it can be difficult to find so don’t forget to look at the Community Health Needs Assessment of your local hospital(s).
You can view a recording of the 2nd session of the Community Health Engagement Community of Interest here.
There are two session still to come –
Session Three: Outcomes-based Planning
Describe data collection methodology.
Prepare to gather pre- and post-participation input.
Session Four: Preparing Your Pitch with Data
Practice pitch with peer group.
Identify methods of data display.
If you have any questions about this Community of Interest, please contact Margot Malachowski at Margot.Malachowski@umassmed.edu
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 http://bit.ly/2ywASJz
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.”
- Cathy Leamy (@metrokitty; metrokitty.com), 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; kriotawelt.blogspot.com), 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, 4Panel.com, 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_; iasminomarata.com), 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; graphiclibrarian.wordpress.com), 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 www.micexpo.org.
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 —
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: https://dsld.nlm.nih.gov/
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.
This post is part of a series on NNLM NER’s funded projects.
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!
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.
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