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Updated: 3 hours 21 min ago

Food Literacy at the Worcester Public Library Through Nutrition Education & Healthy Cooking Classes

Wed, 2020-07-01 13:18

The following blog post was written by Dot Sachs, Public Services Librarian at the Worcester, Massachusetts Public Library. The Worcester Public Library is one of the NER’s Year 5 funded grant awardees. 

The Worcester Public Library was awarded an Outreach grant in April 2020 from the NNLM/NER to provide patrons with tools to learn how to plan, manage, select and prepare healthy food through nutrition education and healthy cooking classes.

Over the past several years, WPL has offered free nutrition and healthy cooking classes to its patrons by partnering with a local certified nutritionist and local chefs.  The grant will allow the library to expand and develop new programming.

The library was able to continue to provide patrons these classes in a virtual environment during the COVID 19 quarantine.  Participants register online on the library’s website, via social media sites, or by calling the library’s information line during operational hours at 508-799-1655 option 3.  Classes are recorded and uploaded to the library’s YouTube channel for later access.

WPL Nutrition & Healthy Cooking Virtual Classes


Classes this summer include:

July 11 – Nutrition Mythology
August 1- The Art of Vegetables
June 27 – Virtual Cooking Class with Chef Kim: Cooking Myths
July 25 – Virtual Cooking Class with Colin: Healthy and Amazing Sauces
August 22 – Virtual Cooking Class with Colin: Fiction in the Kitchen

Chef Kim Youkstetter, a culinary instructor at Worcester Technical High School has taught at WPL and other local libraries for several years.  Her classes have included:  Cheese Making, Pasta Making and Knife Skills.  In WPL’s first virtual cooking class, she gave a glimpse of her own kitchen with a Zoom class on Pantry Cooking.  Chef Kim showed how to make the most of the ingredients already on hand and discussed food handling, food safety, and when you really need to let those leftovers go.  Below are the photos from class where she made stuffed peppers and two other recipes.

Below are some photos of her Pasta Making class.

Registered Dietitian Judy Palken of @CrystalClearNutrition has taught several classes at WPL such as:  Great Whole Grains, How to Read Food Labels, Stress Eating, and recently held The Art of Fruit via Zoom.  Attendees learned how different types and colors of fruit can help lower the risk of getting certain cancers, and also help with brain and heart health. They learned that some favorite vegetables are really fruits, and shared tips and tricks on how to add more fruit into our day.  Judy adds a nice visual touch by incorporating images of artwork in her classes that represent the topic she is teaching.


Colin McCullough, a well-known, local vegan cooking instructor and author of The Healthy Vegan, has taught at WPL for several years.  Some of his classes include:  Smoothies that Taste Like Dessert, Vegan Sushi, Healthy Amazing Sauces and Thai Curries from Scratch.  Below are some photos of his recent Smoothie and Sushi Making classes.

Due to the popularity of the healthy cooking classes, a Virtual Cookbook Club was added to the events calendar this year.

Author, Jessica Tyler Lee, joined WPL’s first virtual cookbook club discussion which featured her book Half the Sugar, All the Love.   Jessica highlighted some of her favorite recipes and substitutions, shared her inspiration for the book, and answered questions.  Participants got a chance to share the recipes they cooked for the discussion.

Worcester Public Library is partnering with the Worcester Senior Center for this grant in order to outreach to the city’s senior residents.  WPL’s Nutrition and Healthy Cooking classes and some other WPL events are included in the Worcester Senior Center Newsletter.  They also are sharing the library’s  Nutrition and Healthy Cooking classes social media posts on their sites and will air recorded classes on the local government channel.

The Worcester Public Library also offers other nutrition & healthy cooking resources:

Gale Culinary Arts Collection  offers articles from more than 250 major cooking and nutrition magazines.



The Health & Wellness Resource Center, also from Gale, offers reference materials, journal and magazine articles, news, images and video about a variety of health and wellness topics.



Food Literacy & Healthy Living this webpage was compiled by WPL librarians and lists COVID-19 free activities, resources and virtual classes. Some of these resources are free for a limited time.

WPL’s Healthy Living Resources Blog
Topics include:  Nutrition and Healthy Cooking Resources from MedlinePlus, Nutrition & Cooking Classes, Healthy Benefits of Humor, Horticultural Therapy, Health Reference Resources

Categories: RML Blogs

New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians Goes Virtual

Thu, 2020-06-25 09:31

Guest post from Jennifer Chaput about the Virtual New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians that took place on June 11, 2020. Find more information and a link to all the recordings 

New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians, now in its 12th year, went virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated closures. The traditional format for the conference is two and-a-half days of in-person sessions and activities held at a college or university campus in the region. After campuses were closed in the spring of 2020, the planning committee regrouped and decided to host a virtual one-day conference.

The topics chosen for the virtual bootcamp reflect the current moment in time and included speakers on Virology, Vaccine Development, Libraries Making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and Institutional Review Boards. Our speakers came from around New England and allowed attendees to get a variety of perspectives on science and research in this challenging time.

Dr. Bob Rawle of Williams College began the day by speaking about viruses and the mechanisms of viral infection. While he doesn’t work specifically with coronaviruses, he provided a great overview of what a virus is and what it’s made of, and how viruses infect the body. This talk was engaging and gave background that would be useful for the next speaker.

Dr. Wilmore Webley of UMass Amherst then spoke about vaccine development. Again, while his work does not focus on coronaviruses, he was able to explain the process of how researchers determine what will stop a virus from reproducing in the body, and what needs to be added to a vaccine to make it successful. A takeaway that I found useful to think about is that vaccines do not protect you from getting infected, they protect you from the pathology of the virus and from the illness it causes. Dr. Webley ended with a summary of what the current state of vaccine development for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID19. There’s a lot of work still to be done, but researchers are working hard and constantly collaborating and learning from each other as part of this effort.

The Makers Making PPE panel had speakers giving a perspective on how the community stepped in and began helping healthcare workers and the public get needed PPE. Dennis Spencer of the UMass Amherst Maker Lab, Rebecca Meehan and John Walsh of the Woburn Massachusetts Public Library, and Nancy Maier of Knockout Designs all spoke about their process and what PPE they produced. Nancy Maier spoke about being a hardware fabrication business in a small community and sharing finished items around town and getting to know her community. Woburn Public Library is known for having a maker space and for their 3D printing capabilities, and were happy to produce face shields and other items for nurses and healthcare workers. UMass Amherst was able to leverage their connections, and share patterns and finished items with national networks of makers.

The last speaker panel was on Institutional Review Boards (IRB) and how the pandemic has affected their work. IRBs review and approve any research with human subjects. Dr. Allison Blodgett spoke about UMass Medical School and UMass Medical Center, and Dr. Julie Simpson spoke about the University of New Hampshire (UNH). It was informative to have perspectives from a large medical school and medical center, and also from a smaller state university working with mostly psychological research. Research shutdowns during the pandemic stopped a lot of research, but not all of it. At UMass, the hospital participated in both Remdesivir and convalescent plasma trials for COVID-19 patients. While working remotely was a challenge for their group, they were still able to approve these studies very quickly so that patients could get treatments.. Dr. Simpson from UNH spoke about changes to in-person research they conduct, such as psychology students who volunteer for studies having left campus causing that  research to shut down. Other studies, such as with elderly patients, will have to be reconsidered in the future to look at personal risk and safety requirements such as social distancing and PPE.

In between speaker sessions, short recorded interviews called “Tales from the Frontlines” were played. These interviews included perspectives from healthcare and emergency workers, restaurant owners, grocery store workers, and others who continued to work during the pandemic shutdowns. These stories were moving and impactful and showed a different side of life during the pandemic.

The virtual Boot Camp reached a much bigger audience than the traditional in-person conference. A typical Boot Camp has 60-70 attendees from the New England region. Over the course of virtual boot camp we had 581 unique attendees, from all over the world, who watched all or some of the sessions! It was great to reach such a wide audience and provide a free professional development opportunity while people are working remotely.

The 2021 New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians will be hosted by the University of Connecticut Library from June 2-4, 2021. Stay tuned for more information!

Science Boot Camp logo

Categories: RML Blogs

African-American/Black Experiences and Anti-Racism in Graphic Medicine

Tue, 2020-06-23 11:51

In light of recent events including police brutality and ensuing protests, the staff at NNLM NER stand with the Black and African American community. My colleagues in other NNLM regions curated lists highlighting Black/African-American Health and Anti-Racist resources:

  • Pacific Southwest Region with links to African American mental health, anti-racist reading materials, cultural competency, NLM African American and race history, racism in science, and PubMed Central articles about police brutality and African American health.
  • Middle Atlantic Region with links to resources related to mental health, funded projects, cultural competency, racism in science and more.
  • Greater Midwest Region with links to resources related to mental health, anti-racist reading, NLM African American and race history and more.

In the interest of sharing different resources and with NER’s special initiative focused on graphic medicine, I felt it was important to share graphic medicine by and about Black/African-American health, as well as anti-racist graphic medicine resources.

Graphic Medicine is comic books and graphic novels that cover topics of health and wellness.  The visual format makes the information easier to understand and digest.  By reading a personal, non-fiction story, we can learn about issues we may not have experienced ourselves.  These stories can also help us feel less alone in our own lives.

From traditionally published graphic novels to webcomics and self-published works, below are some examples of graphic medicine works and resources that address Black/African-American health and race or racism.

Whit Taylor is a cartoonist and public health professional who has graphic medicine works that often include historical and scientific context for public health and healthcare concepts.

Using statistics, historical records and stakeholder interviews, We Are Wynadotte (Kansas City, KS) created two comics on redlining and how the practice continues to affect the health of their community.

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and the Graphic Novel Round Table curated a reading list of graphic novels that highlight Black experiences.  Here are three examples of graphic medicine works on the list:

Looking to make your graphic medicine collections and programming more inclusive? My PSR colleagues hosted a webinar on Inclusive Graphic Medicine in August, 2019.

Categories: RML Blogs

NER Hospital Libraries Advisory Group Annual Meeting

Fri, 2020-06-12 17:03

photo of rural New EnglandNER hosted our annual meeting for the Hospital Libraries Advisory Group on Tue, June 9. We began the meeting by acknowledging the recent closure of Vermont and New Hampshire hospital libraries. This sad development signals a bigger issue. Economic hardship is commonplace for those providing healthcare in our rural communities. Our hearts go out to the librarians who worked hard to support patient care in Vermont and New Hampshire.

The agenda for the meeting included an overview the actions we take to address the needs of hospital librarians in New England and an introduction to our plans for 2020-2021. We offer training and funding opportunities through webinars and in-person events. We highlight the work of hospital librarians in our blog posts and tweets. We provide platforms for peer sharing, primarily through in-person events.

In the coming year, we know that conference travel is unlikely. We are hoping to develop satisfactory ways of connecting hospital librarians with each other. There is no substitute for peer-to-peer sharing with regards to hospital library management and research services.

We announced the brand-new Health Sciences Libraries Webinar Series. This series will explore National Library of Medicine resources through real world examples provided by experienced librarians. We will launch the series on Tue, June 23 at 1:00 pm ET with Searching LactMed and LiverTox for Drug Effects.  We hope you will join us.

We wrapped up the meeting by encouraging everyone to take a look at the Request for Applications for the Regional Medical Libraries for the Network of the National Library of Medicine (note: name change). The RFA  2021-2026 Cooperative Agreement was released on June 2, 2020 and applications are due to the National Library of Medicine on September 11, 2020. The RFA states that New York will join New England in the upcoming agreement, more than doubling the population that the northeastern Regional Medical Library will serve.

If you weren’t able to attend, here’s the recording. Let us know if you have comments or questions about anything we discussed!



Categories: RML Blogs

Going Back to School During COVID 19 – How France is Doing It

Thu, 2020-06-04 09:02









Before joining the NNLM NER, I was a public high school teacher at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, Massachusetts. Ten years ago, I said yes to the French teacher in our school looking for a volunteer to host 2 French teachers (who teach English) for 2 weeks as my high school participated in an exchange experience with a school in France.  The French students participating in the exchange stayed with the families of students enrolled in Algonquin’s French program. Through involvement with the exchange program I came to know and become good friends with Jeanne-Marie Bacher, vice principal and English teacher from Institution Saint-Paul Saint-Etienne (

St. Paul’s is home to 1300 students ages 5 through 18. The school is located in the heart of the city of St. Etienne. St. Etienne is 34 miles southwest of the city of Lyon (the second largest city in France) and has a population of 172,023.

It’s been 10 years and 4 more student exchange opportunities have occurred. Even though I now work for the NNLM, my family continues to host our friend every other year as she and one of her colleagues brings 30 of their students to central Massachusetts for the French exchange program.

While other European countries have chosen to keep schools closed, the French government has said that keeping kids in school will prevent them from falling behind.  On May 11, the country began opening some primary schools and a group of St. Paul’s staff and faculty returned to their school to prepare for the return of their students.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, Whatsapp and Zoom have allowed us to keep in touch with our friends, not only to make sure everyone is healthy, but to also to compare notes about how each of our countries is fairing during these difficult months. As New England starts the process of re-opening, I thought it would be of interest to share what it’s been like for another country to navigate the process of re-opening their schools. On Friday morning, May 22 (for me it was morning, St. Etienne is 6 hours ahead of us in the eastern time zone) we talked through Zoom. It was a treat to see not only Jeanne-Marie who is the vice principal, but also Cyril, the high school government teacher, Philipe, who teaches high school history and Sandra, the principal’s assistant.








The following is some background information to put the experiences I will share into context. From March 14 through May 11 France was in lockdown with all schools and non-essential businesses closed. Each week during that time the country’s interministerial health committee (Comité interministériel pour la santé) comprised of the country’s ministers (health, economic, education and labor) addressed the country to communicate the most current information about COVID-19 and the impact of this pandemic on their country. This committee was created with the aim of improving population health and reducing health inequalities through better coordination on all matters affecting health determinants, such as socioeconomic, geographic, environmental and educational issues.

During the lockdown there were strict restrictions on travel. “Each day we were allowed 1 hour out of the house to exercise, walk the dog or shop for food. We were asked to write down the time as we left our homes, and we were allowed to travel just 1 kilometer.” FYI, for those of you like me, who have forgotten the metric system,   1 kilometer is .62 miles. Exceptions to the travel rules were made for those taking care of aged family member or those emplyed at an essential job. Citizens were advised to keep official documentation (work certificate papers) allowing travel, either on their person or as a QR code on their phone. Roadblocks were set up around the country, and the fine for not having the documentation if stopped by the police was 135 euros, which is $149.75. Travel restrictions are still in place now even as the country has begun re-open.  One hundred kilometers is the maximum distance you can travel as of May 13.

Similar to the US, during the lockdown, the French teachers used Zoom, Skype and other technology to maintain connection with their students. However, lack of internet connectivity and computers prevented some students from participating in the virtual classes, especially those whose families relocated to the countryside during the lockdown,

Monday, May 11 was the first week St. Paul school was open. Faculty and staff who were able, returned and began preparing for their students to return the following week. Classrooms were re-arranged and logistics to aid in efficient movement and less crowding were developed. Creating signage and making corridors one-way by locking doors so passages were either in or out, were put in place as part of the social distancing protocols that were required.

As French schools have begun to reopen, some parents have chosen not to send their children back to school.

“What I have heard quite a bit is that families are afraid of the virus and of becoming infected,” said Marie Lugnier, secretary general of the Rhône department’s parent association. “If they are able to keep their children at home, because there is at least one parent who is not working or has not yet resumed work, they prefer to keep them.”

Many of St. Paul’s students take public transportation to travel to and from school. Because public transportation is a health risk, attendance at school during the re-opening has been just 30% of what it was before COVID-19. St. Pauls has been re-opening in phases. On May 18, just the 7 and 8 graders returned, with 61 of the 180 students in attendance. This past week the 9 and 10 graders started back and 71 of the 172 students returned.

It has been necessary split the school day into a morning session 9AM-Noon for half of the students, and an afternoon session from 2PM-5PM for the rest of the students. Typically, the school day begins at 8AM, there is a long lunch period from noon to 2PM as many of the students living close by either walk or take public transportation home to eat their lunch. Before OVID-19 students would return from lunch at 2PM and the school day ended at 5PM.  Because St. Paul’s building is in the middle of the city it has a smaller footprint than schools in the US that house a 1300 student population. The typical class size before the pandemic was about 30 students. To accommodate the new protocol requiring 4 square meters (1 meter equals about 3.3 feet) distance between desks in the classroom 15 students are allowed in each classroom. Additionally, everyone must wear a paper mask provided the educational ministry. The masks are disposed of after each morning or afternoon session, teachers use 2 masks every day. Each morning and before the afternoon session all surfaces in the classroom are wiped down and disinfected by the custodians. The cost for masks, hand sanitizer and additional cleaning materials is estimated to be about 10,000 euros. Jeanne-Marie is hoping they will have just a couple of months of spending this amount of money to keep their school protected from the virus.

Jeanne-Marie and the others are quick to say that the return back to school does not resemble what teaching in their school used to be. Because just 30 percent of their students are attending school right now, classes consist of mostly of listening and talking with the students. Their teaching goal is not introducing new concepts, it is to make sure the students are OK emotionally and mentally, as well as being physically healthy.

The last day of school is July 4. The start for new school year in the fall was is scheduled for Sept 1st.  Each day, long memos from the educational minister and school educational board provide more information, however, they have not been told what coming back to school in the fall will look like. Right now, their best guess is that it will be a combination of remote and in school teaching.


Categories: RML Blogs

Civics 101: Census

Mon, 2020-05-18 16:20

United States Census 2020 logo

2020 is a Census year! For a lot of people, the Census is something they do every ten years and then they don’t think about it again until it’s time to fill out the survey again.  But for people who work in public policy, who are interested in politics or who work for local, state and federal agencies, the Census can be a big deal.

What is the Census and why do we do it?

Article 1 Section 2 of the US Constitution outlines the need to count everyone in the US every ten years to evenly distribute the members of the House of Representatives based on the population.

How does the census work?

  • People are asked to respond online, by phone or return the paper form sent through the mail.
  • The Census Bureau will start following up with households that haven’t responded through door to door interviews conducted by Census workers.
  • Avoid scams and know how to identify Census takers.

What does the Census tell us?

The Census looks to count everyone in the United States.  The basic Census survey asks questions about how many people and who lives in your household to collect basic demographic (sex, age, race) information.

Every year the Census Bureau also conducts Household Surveys that tell us more about things like health, housing, education and employment.  Households and businesses are randomly selected to participate in these additional surveys that give a snapshot on the US population.  Learn more about Household Surveys.

How does the Census affect the work we do at NNLM NER?

Many federal funds are allocated based on Census information including for social service programs, health related programs such as Medicaid, mental health services and even funds for local and state health departments.

  • Funding for many of our partners may be impacted by Census information including funding for schools, hospitals and more.
  • Learn more about how Census data has been used to distribute money to organizations in your communities.

Census data is also the basis for many health needs’ assessments. Learn more about Using Census Data from the SCR Connections webinar held September 2018.

Census data is used to support your community, so help your community respond.

Categories: RML Blogs

Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor: Accessible Recreation and Physical Activity

Fri, 2020-05-08 11:30

In 2019-2020, NER provided funding to Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor to increase knowledge about importance of physical activity for individuals with disabilities; increase access to recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities, moving toward universal access to recreation; and build relationships between disability communities and recreation communities.

On July 18, 2019, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine provided MedlinePlus training at Blackstone Heritage Corridor (BHC) headquarters. Twelve staff and volunteers took advantage of this opportunity. NER demonstrated using MedlinePlus for a variety of health concerns.

Throughout August, All Out Adventures offered five opportunities to train on providing support for adaptive kayaking. All Out Adventures (AOA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports adaptive outdoor adventures. Volunteers were required to attend at least one training session prior to the BHC Adaptive Kayaking programs. Trainings involved: safety briefing, unloading equipment boast, paddling participants in tandem kayaks, unloading participants from kayaks, and packing up equipment after each program.

Blackstone Heritage Corridor Marketing Director Bonnie Combs promoted the four adaptive kayaking sessions on social media, in the BHC newsletter and in several local newspapers (Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Blackstone Valley Tibuen, Millbury-Sutton Chronical, New Uxbridge Times, RINOW.News, Upton Mendon Crier and The Valley Breeze).

Marjorie Turner Hollman, BHC volunteer, wrote about her experiences in her blog

BHC photographer Bob Evans made a fly-over video of the September 14th event.

Our volunteers came from the Volunteers-in-Parks program of the National Park Service. They welcomed and registered our participants, unloaded all of the equipment, cleaned the kayaks between each paddle, loaded the van and kayak trailer, all with smiles on their faces, knowing they had made a difference in someone’s life that day. And we developed partnerships with All Out Adventures, Blackstone Valley Paddle Club, Rhode Island Canoe & Kayak Association, Millbury Federal Credit Union and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Lessons Learned!

Just before the second session, we were notified that Douglas State Forest was listed in a “critical zone” for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). As a result, the remaining three sessions were relocated to Lake Quinsigamond State Park in Worcester, MA. Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation reissued permits, opened restrooms and waived parking fees for participants and volunteers. The press was notified and notices were pushed out through social media.

Several people interested in participating were reluctant during the EEE threat. We adjusted our program and gave volunteers additional on-water training. We used this opportunity to demonstrate using MedlinePlus to locate information about EEE.

Project Lead Suzanne Buchanan tells us that many hands make for a light load! This program had strong support from outstanding partners. All Out Adventures supplied trained staff and all the adaptive equipment. The Blackstone Valley Paddle Club and the Rhode Island Canoe & Kayak Association supplied knowledgeable volunteers to assist with paddling. Millbury Federal Credit Union kicked off our first program. Six employees were given a day of pay to volunteer. They provided healthy refreshments. Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation issued (and reissued) permits, waived parking fees and opened restrooms. The Volunteers-in-Parks program of the National Park Service were the glue to the entire program (see above). Total volunteer contribution for the entire program was 365 volunteer hours. Twenty-eight volunteers covered multiple shifts. Blackstone Heritage Corridor will maintain these partnerships in future adaptive programming. 

Categories: RML Blogs

WFH? NNLM Offers a Variety of Excellent Educational Opportunities

Mon, 2020-05-04 15:54





Has being able to work from home or being quarantined given you time to take advantage of some additional educational opportunities? The NNLM has many webinars and Moodle classes scheduled in the coming months. If you are a librarian or nurse you may eligible earn CE credits from the Medical Library Association (MLA)  for attending these upcoming training opportunities. Take a look at the schedule of classes.

Are you interested in learning more about substance use disorder (SUD)?

If you would like to know more about the topic of substance use disorder the NNLM NER has many excellent webinars presented by experts in the fields of addiction and behavioral health that have been archived. The link provided is to our medical school repository where you can listen to the recording and download the materials associated with each webinar.

SUD webinars are eligible for CE credit for medical librarians and nurses through the MLA. CE credit is available for 1 year after the webinar is presented. You must complete an evaluation at the end of each webinar to receive the CE Credit. The enrollment code needed to claim your CE credit is given at the end of each webinar.

The following are webinars that are still eligible for CE credit:

Substance Use Disorder Webinars That Are Eligible for CE Credits

Webinar Name & Description Original Date CE Expiration Date Recording Link Evaluation Link Strategies & Resources to Maintain Sobriety During COVID19 4.9.2020 4.9.2021 Substance Use Disorder and Heredity: It’s a Family Disease

  12.10.2019 12.10.2021 Engaging Parents and Caregivers in SUD Prevention and Recovery

  12.5.2019 12.5.2020 A Myth-Shattering Look at Addiction, Prevention and Treatment, Based on Research

  10.9.2019 10.9.2020 Family Focused Addiction Support Training: Getting Your Life Back

  9.17.2019 9.17.2020 How the Trauma-Informed Approach Can Help Treat SUD 6.26,2019 6.26.2020

How to Claim your CE credits from MLA


The following are SUD webinars that are NOT eligible for continuing education credit but are still worthwhile if you are looking to learn more about SUD.

Substance Use Disorder Webinar Recording Links NOT Eligible for CE Credit

Webinar Name and Description Webinar Date Recording Link Misperceptions and Misused Language of Addiction: Words Matter

  Aug 2017 Connecting Resources to a Community in Need: Worcester Police Addiction (WPAR) Program

  Sept 2017 Treating Opioid Use Disorder and Co-occurring Disorders Oct 2017 Individual Treatment and Understanding Non-Pharmacologic Components That are Part of Recovery

  Jan 2018 Using Data to Guide and Evaluate Responses to the Opioid Crisis: Rhode Island’s Drug Overdose Dashboard Mar 2018 Addressing a By-Product of the Opioid Addiction Crisis: Commercial Sexual Exploitation

  Apr 2018 EMPOWER: A Community-Based Approach to Improve Care for Women and Newborns Affected by Perinatal SUD

  May 2018 Just Talk About It: Using Mental Health Education to Prevent and Treat SUD

  June 2018 How to Save a Life: Administering Naloxone 101

  Sept 2018 Using Recovery Coaches in SUD Treatment

  Oct 2018 Understanding Grief After an Overdose Death Nov 2018 Drug Courts: A Bridge to Recovery

  Jan 2019


Earn CE Credits for Other NNLM Recorded Webinars Too!

Listen to the recordings of many other webinars that have been presented in the past year. To find these webinar recordings look at these past classes. If the recording is from a webinar within the past year, and is eligible for CE credit, contact the webinar host for the evaluation URL.

Categories: RML Blogs

ICYMI: 2020 ONC Annual Meeting on Bringing the EHR to the Patient

Fri, 2020-04-24 16:11 logoWith work travel prohibited while our country copes with COVID-19, I am looking for alternative professional development opportunities to help me understand my role in empowering health information outreach in New England. To catch up on Health IT, I dedicated one day to watching this recorded webcast of the 2020 ONC Annual Meeting on Connecting Policy and Technology: Bringing the EHR to the Patient. I want to share my takeaways, and I encourage you to view the recordings yourselves.


One of the most thought-provoking sessions focused on Unique Patient Identifiers (UPIs). The panel discussed the inconsistencies of requiring identification in general–for example, comparing air travel to Amtrak. They talked about the difficulties of merging data for prescription refills when not all data fields match. This led to a discussion on the importance of clean data and using standards, such as the United States Postal Service standard for street addresses. Several issues cropped up. We need front desk staff to standardize data entry in order to improve interoperability. Dual authentication is a critical part of patient verification (“is this you?”). At the same time, IT developers acknowledge that not all patients have smartphones or computers.

Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) gave an excellent 15-minute talk on The Congressional Perspective on Unique Patient IDs. He spoke about the bipartisan agreement to lift the ban on federal funding for the development of a national patient identifier that is similar to the Social Security Number. The most compelling argument for having UPIs is short-circuiting “shopping for doctors” so that patients will not be able to get multiple opioid prescriptions. The substance use disorder crisis touches every part of our nation.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar gave the Morning Keynote. He began by apologizing for being late to the event. He was delayed by a phone call to China’s Minister of Health as well as a call with the Director General of the World Health Organization. This was on January 28, 2020. At that point, the United States had five confirmed cases of COVID-19. Secretary Azar went on to speak about the 21st Century CARES Act. He is passionate about improving the patient’s experience of health technology, referring to his own frustrations with trying to gain access to his own health records. “And, I’m the Secretary of Health and Human Services!” he exclaimed.

The Balancing Patient Privacy with Data Access panel is worth watching. Comprised of patient advocates, this discussion was the most patient-centric. The panelists took on the topic of control. Patients want access to their health records. Caregivers need access. Patient concerns over privacy are overwhelmed by the need to understand a cancer diagnosis. They want information because they are trying to survive. For patients, the lack of transparency is more problematic than the lack of privacy.

I took one day to get updated on Health IT. I heard from experts in the field from the comfort of my own home. The webcasts are excellent. In May, I plan on watching the NIH Webcast on Maternal Mortality. The key having a successful conference-at-home-day is to close my email and turn off my phone. I miss the opportunity to talk with colleagues over coffee, but I don’t need to miss out on the learning.

Categories: RML Blogs

Reflecting on NEGM20 and Looking Forward on NER Graphic Medicine Initiative

Fri, 2020-04-17 15:11
Sketch notes for the NEGM20 Keynote with Brian Fies

Sketch notes by Sandy Bartholomew. Click the image to see sketchnotes for the full conference. (

When you put together an event, you don’t want attendees to know what goes on behind the scenes.  But it’s important to draw back the curtain and note that the 2020 New England Graphic Medicine Conference (NEGM20) was supposed to be an in-person conference held on MCPHS’s Boston campus March 26-28.  NEGM20 became an online event in about two weeks.

And for having to pivot so quickly from in-person to online, learning a new platform, and learning on the fly, the event went fairly smoothly.

We had a few technical issues.  Pin-chia Feng recorded her remarks since she couldn’t join live, but we weren’t able to play the recording during the session.  But our attendees and presenters were kind enough to bear with us as we worked to put on an event we could all be proud of.

And it did work.  We learned a lot, adjusting as we went.  We missed seeing people, but being online, we were able to reach more people, averaging 90+ people per session, and we reached people from across the United States and around the world.

NEGM20 organizer and host A. David Lewis, in his opening remarks, thanked everyone for staying home to attend and although we had to be apart to be together, attendees found ways to create community in the chat box and on social media using #NEGM20.  Several attendees shared sketch notes using #NEGM20, but we also contracted with Sandy Bartholomew (@SandyBee) to be our official sketch notetaker for every NEGM20 session.

NEGM20 can continue with every session posted to the NNLM YouTube Channel’s Graphic Medicine Playlist.  You can (re)watch and share with colleagues who couldn’t join us.

NNLM NER is proud to be an NEGM20 partner and to continue to support Graphic Medicine in New England and beyond.  Our continued involvement is evolving and expanding.

We’re continuing to promote Graphic Medicine to new audiences through the Graphic Medicine Book Club Kits. Kits are free to organizations in New England and to those outside of New England with some restrictions.  Book Club Kits are a program in a box that allow organizations to try graphic medicine with their staff, patrons and clients.

We also host a semi-regular webinar series, Graphic Medicine: Beyond the Books.  Find registration to future webinars and material from past webinars on the Graphic Medicine: Beyond the Books page and webinar recordings are available on the NNLM Graphic Medicine YouTube Playlist.

Finally, the NNLM NER Graphic Medicine Initiative website is getting an update that will bring together resources that address some of graphic medicine’s most frequently asked questions, such as: Where can I learn more about Graphic Medicine? And Where do I find Graphic Medicine titles?

Stay up to date Graphic Medicine announcements from NER and partners by joining the NER Graphic Medicine Initiative Listserv. And we look forward to seeing you online and in-person soon.


Categories: RML Blogs

FREE Citizen Science Program Kits for New England Libraries

Tue, 2020-04-14 09:39

Do you run programs at your library?
Interested in receiving a FREE Citizen Science Program Kit?

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region (NNLM NER) has partnered with SciStarter ( to support Citizen Science programming in libraries

The NNLM NER is offering all types of libraries in New England a FREE Citizen Science Program Kit.

Sign up to receive a completely FREE citizen science kit for your library with this form (  


Citizen Science is the involvement of the public in scientific research – whether community-driven research or global investigations. Programming Kits will introduce people from all walks of life to the field of citizen science and to hundreds of opportunities to get involved. Citizen science is an amazing way to participate in research efforts, and it can often be done from a mobile device, from one’s home, or from a library. Libraries are ideal partners for citizen scientists! Participants can expect to learn how to support citizen science in their communities and ways that libraries can easily participate.

Citizen science library programs are perfect for all ages, and all types of libraries. No prior scientific knowledge is required, simply a willingness to participate!

More citizen science resources are available from NNLM

More citizen science resources are available from SciStarter

Please contact Martha Meacham ( – 508.856.1267) with any questions or for more information.

adult and child doing citizen science project


Categories: RML Blogs

Libraries Closed! Painful Decisions in Response to COVID-19

Wed, 2020-04-08 15:12

I subscribe to multiple listservs for library staff, with a focus on issues affecting hospital libraries and public libraries. My inbox exploded in March. Librarians were frantically seeking support and guidance during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At first, the emails were related to spring conferences. Many institutions started restricting travel, and this cascaded into canceled flights, hotel reservations and the disappointments of not seeing colleagues nor having the opportunity to share professional accomplishments. Hospital librarians were told to explore work-from-home options. Most DOCLINE accounts remained open for loaning electronically available documents. Some hospital librarians headed into the workplace at least once per week to fill print requests.

Public librarians were far more passionate in the “to close, or not to close” discussion. After positioning themselves as dependable in times of crises (hurricanes, mass shootings), public librarians had difficulty making the shift to safely supporting their communities during a pandemic. Throughout March, public libraries were offering curbside pickup of library materials. A few libraries were opening by appointment only, to give computer access and assistance.

As the pandemic surged, more libraries (hospital and public) closed altogether. No one knew enough about keeping materials and furnishings properly disinfected.

On the listservs and still on-the-job, hospital librarians were quick to share search strategies. Some of the search strings were quite complex! FYI, here is the recommended PubMed search strategy, including MeSH terms. LitCovid is curated literature hub for tracking up-to-date scientific information about the 2019 novel Coronavirus.

Despite doing critical work to support clinical staff, many hospital librarians are anxious about their jobs. Hospitals are taking a huge financial hit as elective surgeries are canceled.

Public librarians are not immune to this anxiety, but there is a precedent for recovery. Heather Backman, Director of Hopkinton (MA) Public Library shared this historical observation:

Library staff member Linda Connelly noted that on page 171 of the [library’s digitized] logbook, the librarian’s report talks about how during the 1918 flu our library – guess what! – closed for three weeks, pushed back item due dates, forgave fines, and disinfected both the library building and books that were returned. Maybe in another century, our successors working through the next big epidemic, trying to do their best in uncertain and frightening times, will look back and realize that we dealt with almost the exact same issues ourselves – and came through okay.

Facebook Post: What will I read?

I’ll admit that the closure of public libraries unnerved me. What would I read during the pandemic outbreak? Here’s a little video that I made for my friends and family.

What’s in your bookshelves? Surviving the temporary closure of public libraries.

Posted by Margot Gilfeather Malachowski on Monday, March 16, 2020

Categories: RML Blogs


Mon, 2020-03-30 11:42







The first one was ten years ago. Scientists were trying to engage American students in community events so that they would learn what science has taught us about drug use and addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse or better known as NIDA was the sole organization involved with this annual event and reached out to just Americans back then. Today,  National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) has grown considerably because it has a many other federal partners such as Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Office of Safe and Healthy Students in the U.S. Department of Education, and the Drug Enforcement Administration in the U.S. Department of Justice. The collaboration of these partners has brought this important information to teens in countries all over the world.

From Monday, March 30, through Sunday, April 5 students will have the opportunity to engage with scientists and other experts in the field of addiction to dispel myths about drugs and addiction teens may have received from sources that are not always credible like the internet, their friends, movies, music and social media. This week of focused attention on drugs and alcohol will provide information and many free materials to educate young people about how drugs affect the brain, body and behaviors.

NDAFW will be different this year because of our response to COVID-19. In lieu of in-person events and activities, NIDA encourages virtual participation.

The following information about the virtual events and resources is taken directly from the  webpage. Use the links to participate in  the countless activities that teens, parents, caregivers, and teachers can do that don’t involve leaving the house.

Here’s a list of our favorite activities:

  • Playing the new Kahoot! games with an online class or encouraging students to play the games individually.
  • Taking the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge. Test students’ knowledge about drugs and alcohol with this short, interactive quiz available in English and Spanish that can be used on mobile devices. More than 200,000 people took the IQ Challenge last year.
  • Join NDAFW by sharing why you want to
    Learn more

Sharing the facts on social media. Tweet, snap, or post. Social media platforms can be powerful tools to SHATTER THE MYTHS® about drugs and alcohol. Use the new “Not everyone’s doing it” social media cards and hand-held placards.

  • Participating in the Drug Facts Challenge!, an interactive game using scientific facts about the brain and addiction, marijuana, vaping, and more.
  • Join the NDAFW Tweetstorm on Monday, March 30 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET. Help us get #NDAFW to trend on Twitter by sharing messages about drugs and alcohol during the planned hour.
  • On Friday, April 3, at 3 p.m. EDT, NIDA will host a Twitter Trivia Challenge in collaboration with Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). Anyone can test their knowledge by following the hashtag #NDAFW and answering multiple-choice questions about drugs and alcohol.

Taking advantage of the free, science-based resources to use in classrooms and communities, or at home. These include toolkits and activity ideas on various topics; science- and standards-based classroom lessons and multimedia activities on teens and drugs; and the recently updated Mind Matters series, which helps teachers explain to students the effects of various drugs on the brain and body.

  • NIDA Toolkit for Out of School Time. This toolkit offers science-based activities and resources on drug use and addiction for educating teens during out of school time (OST). The OST setting—before and after school, in the summer, or any time teens attend a supervised program outside of the typical school time—offers a unique opportunity for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning.
Categories: RML Blogs

Citizen Science Resources in New England

Tue, 2020-03-24 18:54


April is Citizen Science Month.  The NNLM and Scistarter have paired up at to bring Citizen Science Projects to your library and your home.  There many projects that can be done outside while practicing social distancing or in the home.  When taking a walk maybe you would want to be a part of the Debris Tracker, or play online games such Stall Catchers or indoor science experiments such as Crowd the Tap.

Listed below are links for local citizen science projects that can be found in each New England State.  Get inspired and have fun exploring your environment and your health.



Connecticut Fund for the Environment Save the Sound

Connecticut Audubon

Connecticut Wildlife Division Citizen Science / Volunteer Opportunities



Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Citizen Science Portal The Citizen Science Manual

University of Maine Cooperative Extension: 4-H

Schoodic Institute Acadia National Park



Mass Audubon

NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Citizen Science

MA Citizen science: Wildlife observation

Zoo New England Citizen Science


New Hampshire

Nature Groupie Citizen Science Experiences


Rhode Island

Audubon Society of Rhode Island

Rhode Island Natural History



Citizen Scientists: Making a World of Difference

State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

Vermont Center for Ecostudies

North Branch Nature Center



Categories: RML Blogs

Boston Public Library at PLA

Wed, 2020-03-18 08:43

This is a guest blog post from Elissa C. Cadillic, the Training Coordinator at Boston Public Library. Elissa received a professional development award to attend the Public Library Association (PLA) Meeting in Nashville, TN February 25-29, 2020.

Thanks to a professional development grant from NNLM, I was able to attend PLA 2020. While I’ve been to ALA, this was my first PLA conference and I enjoyed the experience.  My first workshop focused on Cultural Humility, learning what it is and how it varies from Cultural Competence.  I’ve been looking for different ways to provide quality and effective training opportunities on diversity and this workshop gave me a good starting point.  Understanding that normal for one person may not be for another opens up lines of communication and hopefully leads to acceptance.   One of my favorite parts was listening to a conversation with Stacy Abrams.  So inspiring! The rest of the week I attended various workshops on Opioids in Libraries, Onboarding, Customer Service, the Changing Role of the MLS, and in a look ahead to Dudley’s kitchen space, a program on Culinary Workforce Development.  In my opinion I think the best exhibitor was from Edible Education who demonstrated a fully working interactive kitchen cart and has a nutrition-based education guide including recipes and a hydroponics unit, “Little Farm”.  I did get to spend some time wandering around Nashville listening to some great bands and visiting the full-size replica of the Parthenon and the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument in Centennial Park.   I’m looking forward to using the knowledge and experiences and applying them in my work.

Elissa C. Cadillic

Categories: RML Blogs

NLM Resources for Kids and Families

Tue, 2020-03-17 10:49
A page from the kids' graphic medicine book El Deafo by Cece Bell.

El Deafo by Cece Bell from the NLM History of Medicine Exhibit, Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well-Drawn. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.

Whether it’s a snow day, summer vacation or kids are home sick, having educational materials ready can help keep the whole family busy.  Below are science and health resources to engage kids and help them continue to learn even when they’re not in the classroom.

  • NNLM Middle Atlantic Region has curated resources for K-12 students with topics ranging from genetics to environmental health to careers.
  • Visit the MedlinePlus Children’s Page to find links to kid friendly resources from the CDC, NIH and other trusted resources. Links also include online games.
  • Did you know that the NLM History of Medicine Exhibition Program has lesson plans for K-12 and college students for their traveling exhibits? Traveling Exhibit topics range from literature (including one on Harry Potter), to History and Social Studies, to Science and Technology.
  • Are you interested in learning about the scientific method and participating in real studies? NLM has partnered with SciStarter to curate citizen science projects that are have a health focus.

Other ideas for fun and educational activities include #ColorOurCollection free coloring pages from libraries and museums around the world, including this coloringbook from NLM, and musuem virtual tours.

While using resources online, it’s a good time to work on critical thinking skills to evaluate health information and resources online.  Teach kids to practice these skills with the checklist from Trust it or Trash.

Categories: RML Blogs