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2018 NACCHO Preparedness Summit Round-Up

Fri, 2018-05-18 15:07

The 2018 NACCHO Preparedness Summit (April 17-20, 2018-Atlanta, GA) was my first chance to tell people about the emergency preparedness resources available from NLM including DIMRC and MedlinePlus.

  1. Check out the Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) to find resources for preparedness professionals, community organizations and the general public on preparing your community and your family for natural and man-made disasters.
  2. MedlinePlus has health information in plain language, including information on disaster preparedness for families and communities.

I also got to hear about free resources available from organizations across the US.

  1. Do you need to find a way to collaborate across departments? Or between organizations? Let Mesa County, CO teach you how to use FREE Google tools to do everything from mapping and tracking resources to putting up a website.  Learn more on their interactive Google site.
  2. Do you live in a rural area and want to help your community plan for disaster recovery? Check out the toolkit created by the Texas Chapter of Planners4Health (a project of the American Planners Association).  The toolkit lays out best practices for bringing rural communities together after an emergency to help in the recovery.
  3. Do you work with older adults? Do you want to help them prepare for emergencies?  Check out the interactive toolkit from the RAND Cooperation to find out how your organization can help prepare older adults for emergencies and help make them more resilient.

Before joining NNLM-NER in February, I worked for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health on public health preparedness projects including teaching people how to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies. It was great to be able to bridge my past in public health preparedness and present with NNLM-NER by meeting folks at the 2018 NACCHO Preparedness Summit.  And I’m looking forward to continuing to bring NLM and NNLM resources to public health and preparedness professionals.

Categories: RML Blogs

Community Questions: Spring Allergies, Lyme Disease, Natural Remedies

Mon, 2018-05-14 12:45

Last week, I met with staff at the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC) for a MedlinePlus training. CEOC is an anti-poverty agency which seeks to “empower people and mobilize resources to fight poverty’s causes and impacts through education and organizing.” My goal was to share information about freely available health information resources for 1) personal staff use and 2) raise awareness of a possible resource for the greater community.

City sidewalk

Central Square, Cambridge MA

I began the training with an overview of MedlinePlus and the advantages of this website over commercially sponsored websites. I used slides to go through a compare-and-contrast exercise. Next, I pulled up MedlinePlus and asked the staff for health topics.

The first topic was seasonal allergies. Not surprising. Many of us were sniffling as pollen wafted through the lovely spring air. We explored the Allergy Health Topics page. I demonstrated toggling between the English and Spanish language versions. We looked at allergy triggers (did you know that Asian ladybugs are a trigger for allergies?), and allergy treatments. We talked about the increasing acceptance of using neti pots as a treatment protocol for allergies. We reviewed an antihistamine drug comparison chart from Consumer Reports.

We turned to the topic of Lyme disease, and looked at images of the telltale rash. We reviewed the best ways of removing ticks. We skimmed information from the CDC on post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. This led to a discussion on natural remedies.

We talked about scientific evidence for natural remedies. Chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy are relatively safe methods of supporting your body in healing. I cautioned against the use of herbs, vitamins, and supplements without checking on potential interactions with medications. We took a look at resources available in MedlinePlus, including links to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

One staff member stumped me on a question about traditional medicine from her country of origin. I promised the group that I would use the subscription database Natural Medicines for further investigation.

Natural Medicines

The remedy is moringa, a plant grown in Asia, Africa and South America. Neither MedlinePlus nor NCCIH have entries on moringa. My search in Google brought up hits from Wikipedia, WebMD, Medical News Today and a host of marketers for natural remedies. I explained to the group that I’d rather consult an evidence-based subscription database before I shared any information about this remedy.

Natural Medicines is my favorite subscription database. Here’s what I learned about moringa: traditionally, moringa is used for anemia, arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, digestive disorders, headaches, heart problems, and reproductive issues. Moringa is applied to the skin for infections and injuries. As food, the seed pods are prepared like green beans and the leaves like spinach. When eaten as food, moringa is likely safe. Root extracts are possibly unsafe. Moringa interacts with drugs for hypothyroidism, liver disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be cautious. Specifics are listed in the Natural Medicines monograph.

As this level of information is not freely available on the internet, I promote the use of libraries as a way to access this information without a subscription fee. Contact us to learn more.

Categories: RML Blogs

Trends in Adult Learning

Tue, 2018-05-01 12:13


Are you a student or a teacher? My answer is I am both.

Even if you are an educator in a K-12 school, college or a university, I bet you also spend a portion of your time wearing the hat of a student.  Most of us experience being a student because our jobs require us to receive additional training or offer to us opportunities to learn new skills.

Recently I have been researching what’s new in education to give me a foundation as I begin to develop a Communities of Interest program in Instructional Design.  Here’s what I’ve learned are the current trends for adult learning.

  • Learning anytime, anywhere 

Online, mobile learning that is social provides learning opportunities through interaction and collaboration. Document sharing, blogging and video are allowing students to learn from each other and the instructors take on the roles of facilitators, rather than the traditional “teacher” role.  Online, mobile learning gives students flexibility as courses may be available on-demand or be self-paced. Course flexibility also gives students options to learn within a span of time that works with their schedule.

  • Personalized learning

Online learning provides the ability to tailor the content of information to the needs of the student. Learning can be personalized through technology like academic analytics and facial coding built into some online learning environments. Adaptive learning systems and platforms that give real-time assessment provides immediate feedback to the student about their retention of material.  Students have the ability to control the pace of their learning too.

  • AI, VR, AR

Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) interfaces and applications are giving students a more complete learning experience. Learning is moving from being static to being dynamic and immersive. For example, instead of learning about the circulatory system through a diagram in a textbook, students can experience the heart beating through an AR-supported device that enables visualization.

  • Classrooms, playrooms, unbundled education

Freelancing is on the rise. Design thinking, entrepreneurship and innovation are qualities employers are looking for.  Students are using physical places such as “makerspaces” where they have the space and time to learn through playing, building and discovery. Makerspaces are collaborative learning spaces where students come together to share materials and learn new skills. Some students are using problem solving as a method of learning that provides education across a variety of subjects.  As students learn to solve problems, they are thinking critically and creatively, as well as gaining essential communication and collaboration skills.

  • School-business collaboration and employer partnerships

Educators are realizing their business communities offer some great resources students can use for real-world experience. When schools align learning opportunities based on input from the business community they are providing students with needed skills and ensuring that companies will have a workforce that is prepared for these jobs. School business partnerships can also provide the re-training for workers who need updated skills. Schools and businesses working together is a win-win for both.

In closing, the following quotes from Sandy Shugart, President of Valencia College sums up what many of these current trends will accomplish. “There is no reason any human can’t learn anything,” says Shugart as he stressed the need for educators, entrepreneurs and investors to stop classifying people based on their perceived ability. A successful learning experience occurs when the focus is on the learner and their experience. “Rather than trying to figure out who will succeed and who won’t, now we ask, what are the right conditions for each learner to succeed?”

I used the following articles for the information provided in this post:

Categories: RML Blogs

Everett Haitian Community Center hosts Panel Discussion

Sat, 2018-04-28 10:01

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, I pulled my rolly luggage into a church basement on the Everett/Chelsea line in Massachusetts. I had MedlinePlus materials, printouts from HealthReach, laptop, iPhone and my National Library of Medicine table cover. I heard the congregation singing in the chapel upstairs. Our Lady of Grace celebrates Mass in Haitian Creole on Sundays at 12:30pm. On this day, the Everett Haitian Community Center (EHCC) hosted a panel discussion on legal rights and responsibilities for those with Temporary Protected Status, and the impacts of stress on mental and physical health. All members of the panel focused on telling the congregation where they could access free, reliable assistance. An interpreter translated all comments into Haitian Creole.

People seated at a table in a church basement.

Panel Discussion at Our Lady of Grace Church

The discussion was moderated by EHCC’s Reverend Myrlande DesRosiers and was interpreted by Kam Sylveste. Father James Barry welcomed us to Our Lady of Grace, and Everett City Councilor Michael McLaughlin reiterated Fr. Barry’s sentiment that we all are learning from each other at this event.  Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley spoke of her commitment to those living with uncertainty. Temporary Protective Status (TPS) ends for Haitians on July 22, 2019.

Sabrineh Ardalan, Professor at Harvard Law School, warned the congregation about immigration scams. She urged everyone to contact the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program for referrals to reliable immigration lawyers. Alex Prie, Coordinator of Somerville’s Immigrant Providers Group, spoke about available health care services. He acknowledged the impacts of stress on mental and physical health. I spoke about accessing health information in English, French and Haitian Creole from MedlinePlus. I demonstrated how to use MedlinePlus on a laptop and a phone. MedlinePlus draws most of its multilingual materials from HealthReach. In addition, I talked about the role of public libraries in assisting those without computer or internet access.

After the panel discussion, I distributed bilingual stress-related health information. I located these topics in HealthReach: violence in the home, suicide prevention, asthma triggers, diabetes management, and the benefits of exercise and mindfulness meditation.


The website is available in English and Spanish. For other languages, MedlinePlus taps into HealthReach. Developed by the National Library of Medicine, HealthReach collects print and video resources from U.S. Federal and state government agencies, as well as from major national organizations such as the World Health Organization. HealthReach works to identify materials created by hospitals, clinics, community health centers, and voluntary organizations who serve people with limited English proficiency. Many of the materials are bilingual. The English-language versions are easy-to-read.

Community-based organizations and health care centers might be interested in submitting translated health print materials and/or videos. HealthReach will want to know the copyright status, type of resource and contact information. Please email HealthReach with any questions about submission.

HealthReach will be discontinuing the “Provider Information” materials due to low usage.


Categories: RML Blogs

All of Us Research Program – Ready to Launch Nationally on May 6

Tue, 2018-04-24 08:31

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine is excited to announce the All of Us Research Program official launch on Sunday, May 6, 2018.  This national event will be held in seven communities throughout the United States and will be broadcast via this website and on Facebook Live.

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. The programs goals are to develop a more effective way to treat diseases and to provide individualized healthcare.  It considers individual differences in lifestyle, environment and biology.  This research program is a key element of the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative.

Additional information about this Program is available through the All of Us Research Program website. Program information is available to download in English and Spanish. NNLM Network Members can learn how they can get involved at a webinar on April 30th at 2pm Eastern Time.

For more information or if you have questions please reach out to the NER All of Us Research Program Coordinator, Catherine Martin – .

Categories: RML Blogs


Tue, 2018-04-17 12:11




Any guesses on what the 2017 “Word of the Year” was?

It was actually a term, not a word. The term was “Fake news.”

Just 18 months ago this term was not familiar to most of us. However, “fake news” has become a very important topic to all of us. According to a recent article written by The Telegraph (April 7, 2018)  “fake news” is considered “one of the greatest threats to democracy, free debate and Western order.”

This blog post is not about current events or politics, however, it is about the importance of knowing how to evaluate the credibility of online information. Our focus here at the NER is health and medical information.  NLM offers some useful tools that you can use to evaluate online health information.  Although health information is the theme of this article, the information presented can be applied as you evaluate other online information, regardless of the subject.

MedlinePlus offers a valuable tutorial about how to evaluate online health information. . You can click on the link you can use the search box at the MedlinePlus home page , just type  “Evaluating Online Health Information” in the search box.

MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing

MedlinePlus provides a detailed guide to evaluate the credibility of a web site

The key points from the guide are:

  • Consider the source — Use recognized authorities –

Know who is responsible for the content. This information is often on the “about us” page, or it may be under the organization’s mission statement, or part of the annual report.

  • Focus on quality–All web sites are not created equal

Does the site have an editorial board? Is the information reviewed before it is posted?

  • Be a cyberskeptic–Quackery abounds on the Web

Does the site make health claims that seem too good to be true? Does the information use deliberately obscure, “scientific” sounding language? Does it promise quick, dramatic, miraculous               results? Is this the only site making these claims?

  • Look for the evidence–Rely on medical research, not opinion

Does the site identify the author? Does it rely on testimonials?

  • Check for currency–Look for the latest information

Is the information current? Look for dates on documents.

  • Beware of bias–What is the purpose? Who is providing the funding?

Who pays for the site?

  • Protect your privacy–Health information should be confidential

Does the site have a privacy policy and tells you what information they collect?

Trust It or Trash It Tool

I find that The Trust It or Trash tool (  is very helpful because I can print out the .pdf file and have beside me as I read and evaluate the credibility of information.

In addition to providing several useful tools to help you become a critical consumer of online health information, here are some additional reasons why you should consider getting your health information from MedlinePlus:

  • Does not include any advertising.
  • Does not ask for your personal information in order to use the website.
  • Provides easy search access, use either the search box or search by health topic.
  • Presents information in a variety of formats, such as videos and podcasts.
  • Provides information written by experts, updated regularly and is peer reviewed.
Categories: RML Blogs

Recreational Marijuana and Impact on Driving

Tue, 2018-04-10 09:15

On the day that the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission began accepting applications for Registered Marijuana Dispensaries, UMass Amherst hosted a symposium entitled Marijuana Legalized: Research, Practice and Policy Considerations. The School of Public Health and Health Sciences invited Darrin Grondel, Director of Washington (State) Traffic Safety Commission, to speak about the impacts of legalized recreational marijuana on driving. Washington State legalized recreational marijuana in 2014. Grondel’s message is that drugged driving is difficult to manage. Standard field sobriety tests are inadequate, and warrants for blood draws are time-consuming. Marijuana products are incredibly diverse, and the physiological consequences of using those products is not clearly understood. Social acceptance of driving-while-high is troubling. Public health advocates need to dispute the idea that stoned drivers are safe drivers.

Man at podium and four seated panelists.

UMass Amherst SPHHS Symposium, April 2

What does the research say about marijuana and driving? Read the Marijuana Research Reports from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for press releases on the impact of impaired driving.

To learn more about the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement Program (ARIDE), the Drug Recognition Expert Program and other training programs for police officers, check the Massachusetts Highway Safety Division.

For fantastic resources to share with your community (slide decks, downloadable infographs) take a look at the Governors Highway Safety Association’s guide on Drug-Impaired Driving.

Massachusetts will allow sales of recreational marijuana starting on July 1, 2018. New England will be watching as the Bay State makes the first move in this direction.

Map of the United States indicating marijuana possession and use laws state-by-state.

Marijuana Possession and Use Laws



Categories: RML Blogs

NNLM Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon – April 17th

Wed, 2018-03-28 09:18

Are you interested in improving the consumer health information available on Wikipedia? Do you want to utilize your librarian research skills towards making Wikipedia a better, evidence-based resource? Have you always wanted to participate in an edit-a-thon? Join the National Network of Libraries of Medicine on April 17th as we add citations to existing Wikipedia articles on rare diseases! We’ll be working on those diseases listed by the Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center, using trusted National Library of Medicine resources like Genetics Home Reference, MedlinePlus, and PubMed.

If you’re new to adding citations, NNLM will be hosting a webinar with Dr. James Heilman, a physician and active WikiProject Medicine editor. Dr. Heilman will give attendees an overview of the importance of Wikipedia, and will demo how to add a citation. NNLM’s webinar with Dr. Heilman is scheduled for 2-3 pm ET on Thursday, March 29th. Participants are encouraged to register for the training even if they can’t attend, as all registered participants will receive a recording of the webinar. Please note: you must create a Wikipedia user account prior to the event to be able to participate.

NNLM staff from across the region will be available Tuesday, April 17th from 9 am ET to 9 pm ET to support you as you add your citations. Follow along with the fun on Twitter–check for hashtag #citeNLM2018!

Categories: RML Blogs

Stand Up for Health in Philadelphia

Tue, 2018-03-27 15:28
Snowflakes falling in downtown Philadelphia.

Downtown Philadelphia.

Dodging snowflakes, I made my way to the Philadelphia Convention Center on the morning of Tuesday, March 20. That day, Bobbi Newman (NNLM GMR), Monique Mason (Akron-Summit County (OH) Public Library) and Carolyn Martin (NNLM PNR), and I would lead 75 public librarians through the basics of health and wellness reference services, and explore ideas for health-related programming and outreach. Stand Up for Health was one of six preconferences scheduled before the opening of the Public Library Association (PLA) 2018 Conference.

We began crafting our preconference in autumn, taking notes from NNLM’s Health and Wellness @ the Library class. As we live in different regions, we met virtually to bounce around ideas and concerns. After the holidays, we started meeting weekly to allocate topics and discuss logistics. We arrived in Philadelphia ready to greet a room full of enthusiastic participants.

The purpose of NNLM’s strategic focus on public libraries is to develop long-term partnerships and collaborations that bring NLM’s information resources to the community.~

I volunteered to open the session with an introduction to Consumer Health. Confident that I was in among people who support reading aloud, I recited the poem This is Bad Enough by Elspeth Murray and read an excerpt from Suzanne Strempek Shea’s memoir Songs from a Lead-Lined Room. I worked in two pair-and-share activities and one table discussion in my allotted hour. After the coffee break, Monique took the lead. Her segment focused on the health information reference interview. As a currently practicing public librarian, she spoke from experience.

The hottest topic cropped up after lunch. When Monique gave an overview of collection development policies, discussions bubbled up about evidence-based materials vs. popular (but not science-based) titles. Should libraries collect from sources like Dr. Oz, Dr. Mercola, Gwenyth Paltrow and Tom Brady? If libraries are spending public dollars, shouldn’t they respond to public requests for these titles? How do librarians distinguish between these selections and science-based resources?

Ultimately, there was no resolution of this sticky subject.

We shifted gears with Carolyn’s presentation on MedlinePlus and other websites from the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. I give presentations on these websites as part of my job, and I appreciated Carolyn’s style. I hadn’t thought to highlight NIH websites independently of their inclusion within MedlinePlus.

As we took our last break, Bobbi asked participants to jot down successes and struggles with offering health-related public library programs. These notes were put up on flipcharts. Bobbi selected themes from the notes, and created short breakout sessions. Themes included: outreach to teens or seniors; programming topics on healthy eating or sexual health; and developing community partnerships or raising awareness of the public library as a source of health information.

Emily Plagman joined us in the late afternoon for an overview of PLA’s Project Outcome. This is a very cool assessment tool, freely available to public libraries.

Bobbi wrapped up the day by outlining the next steps. Participants would submit a take-home assignment on their library’s health collections. At that point, they will fill out the standard NNLM evaluation of the class. I am curious to hear the results.

Categories: RML Blogs

Learn about Data Science at the 10th Annual E-Science Symposium

Thu, 2018-03-15 13:31




This post was written by the newest member of our NER Team – Karen Coghlan. Karen is NER’s new Education and Outreach Coordinator.

Have you ever wondered how to present data in a fun, engaging way that tells a story? Or been frustrated when you went on a webpage that you were on before only to find it is moved or no longer available? Then the 10th Annual University of Massachusetts and New England Area Librarian e-Science Symposium is for you. On Thursday, April 5th, 2018, from 8:30AM to 3:30PM we are hosting the e-Science Symposium at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655. The purpose of this event is to initiate and maintain a regional dialogue on e-Science, identify ways libraries can better support networked research, and ways that libraries can deliver relevant and effective research data management services at their institutions. The theme of this year’s Symposium is Libraries in Data Science: Past and Future. You can also see work from all previous symposia here:


This year’s keynote speaker is Micaela Parker, PhD, the Executive Director of the eScience Institute. The goal of the University of Washington eScience Institute, is to engage researchers across disciplines in developing and applying advanced computational methods and tools and applying it to real-world problems. This will be followed with a panel presentation and breakout sessions where participants can engage in hands on data visualization workshops, learn about issues setting up data repositories, data outreach strategies, and the amazing data recovery efforts to save at risk webpages and data sets before websites are taken down after leadership changes. This is a great opportunity to network, have a relaxing lunch, gain a few new skills and learn about recent developments in e-science librarianship.

The symposium is free, but advance registration is required for all presenters and attendees. Register for the 2018 E- Science Symposium at this link:



We hope to see you there!

Categories: RML Blogs

Welcome Sarah Levin-Lederer, Education & Outreach Coordinator

Thu, 2018-03-15 09:01

Photo of Sarah Levin-Lederer

The NNLM NER is very excited to welcome Sarah Levin-Lederer. She joins the NER with eight years of professional public health experience including health outreach and education, and public health emergency planning.

Sarah received her Masters in Public Health in 2012 from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA) with a focus on health communication and using social media for public health outreach.

Most recently, Sarah was the Community Preparedness Health Information Specialist with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.  For her three years in this position, Sarah worked with refugee and immigrant serving organizations, homeless serving organizations and the Free Library of Philadelphia to connect communities that are often hard to reach with health information and resources.

You can reach Sarah at 508-856-5910 or

Categories: RML Blogs

Sexual Health Online!

Tue, 2018-03-13 08:47

On Wed, March 28, NNLM NER is collaborating with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) and Team Maureen for a community-based training on finding quality sexual health information on the internet.

The Maureen E. Russo Nonprofit Organization (Team Maureen) was founded in memory of Maureen E. Russo, who passed away from cervical cancer at the age of 37. Maureen’s family and friends founded Team Maureen for a fundraising event in 2007. That effort lead to the creation of a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and its connection to cancer. In 2017, NNLM NER funded Team Maureen to conduct HPV educational events for dental professionals and for high school students on Cape Cod.

ABCD is an anti-poverty and community development organization founded in 1961, just prior to the federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. The ABCD Health Services Department manages public health promotion and disease prevention programs, including Title X family planning and related preventive health services. ABCD conducts their work at neighborhood sites throughout Boston, and in Cambridge, Somerville and Everett. In conversation with NNLM NER, ABCD identified the high incidence of chlamydia and other STIs as a local concern.

Sexual Health Online!

Through our Focused Outreach Initiative, NNLM NER seeks to provide training and funding support to communities that are medically underserved, facing health care access issues, or economically disadvantaged. We are working with Team Maureen and ABCD to deliver a program to those who work with Boston area youth. Our intended audience includes youth program leaders, school health educators, teen librarians, health care providers, community health workers, parents and grandparents. The goal of the upcoming event is to improve the knowledge and comfort levels of attendees in guiding others toward quality sexual health information. We are offering two sessions: a morning session (10:00am-1:00pm) for those who are able to attend during the workday; and an evening session (5:30-8:00pm) for those who are available in the evenings.

We are still accepting registrations:

Date: Wed, March 28

Time: 10:00am-1:00pm (morning session); 5:30-8:00pm (evening session)

Location: Thelma Burns Building, 575 Warren St., Dorcester, MA 02121  Map

This event is FREE. Lunch/dinner will be provided. Please contact us with any questions.

Categories: RML Blogs

Smiling Through Art

Mon, 2018-03-05 13:59

The following blog post is written by one of our newest network members, Saba Shahid, the Chief Smiling Officer of The Art Cart, a creativity and movement program for people living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

As defined by MedlinePlus, PD is a type of movement disorder and occurs when nerve cells in the brain do not produce enough of a brain chemical called dopamine. Dopamine causes rigidity in several parts of the body and causes abnormal movement. Did you know the “inability to smile” also known as facial masking or decreased range of facial expression is a symptom of PD?

The Art Cart has developed a series of Smile Through Art Workshops which focus on combating several symptoms of PD including depression, loss of fine motor control, tremors, Micrographia. Figure 1 depicts how depression is being combated and mood is being enhanced by attending our workshops. Through voluntary surveys, participants living with PD are asked how they were feeling before coming to our workshop and how they are feeling after completing the Smile Through Art Workshop. Mood is shown to enhance positively in all cases.


Figure 1: Parkinson’s Mood Analysis Survey Results

The Art Cart is an organization located in Worcester, Massachusetts and provides programming throughout the state of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Through grants offered by The American Parkinson Disease Association Massachusetts and Rhode Island Chapter, programming is free of cost to participants living with PD and their care partners.

 Let’s Combat Micrographia, is an interactive workbook written by Saba Shahid that focuses on improving small, cramped handwriting that is found in many people living with PD. The Art Cart also offers Let’s Combat Micrographia workshops to help improve handwriting.  Join us March 22, 2018 for a workshop information session at UMASS Memorial Hospital located in Worcester, MA.

More information on workshop dates, times, and how to sign up can be found online at

Categories: RML Blogs

Business of Healthcare

Fri, 2018-02-23 08:05

On Jan 25, 2018, NNLM NER hosted a webinar on the Business of Healthcare. This webinar is part of an intermittent series aimed at addressing the professional development needs of hospital librarians in the New England Region. Topics are determined by NNLM NER’s Hospital Libraries Advisory Group (HLAG). Example topics include: DOCLINE Update; Advanced PubMed; Business of Healthcare; and How-To Create a Virtual Library. Each webinar is one-hour long.

Although our webinars are designed to meet the needs of New England, we attract participants nationwide. To open the Business of Healthcare webinar, we explored the biggest financial stressors for hospitals. The most talked about stressor is inadequate compensation from Medicaid. As Andy Hickner points out in his recent Op-Ed piece in Medical Library Association (MLA) News, uncompensated care is devastating for hospital budgets. To reduce costs, hospital administrators consolidate and/or eliminate services. In New England, we know that hospital libraries are closing at a rapid rate.

Note: you may need to log into your MLA account to read the Op-Ed.

New England hospital librarians participated in a breakout session at the most recent meeting of the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries. Experienced librarians shared how they stay relevant to their organizations. Maureen Dunn and Gayle Tudisco facilitated the discussion, and reported out on the results during the Business of Healthcare webinar.

In these data-driven times, we were eager to hear from Alicia Lillich, Technology Coordinator for the MidContinental Region (MCR). NNLM MCR is designing a project to measure the cost impact of the librarian on patient care. Alicia closed out the webinar by sharing her news about this a three-year project.

Please check out the YouTube recording of the webinar for details (see below).

Going Virtual

Our next learning opportunity for NER hospital librarians is an in-person event at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. We still have some empty slots. For more information, go to the class listing:



Categories: RML Blogs

Eureka! A Program for Girls that Encourages Healthy Living

Tue, 2018-02-20 10:51

The following is the second in a series of blog posts written by NER funded grant recipients. Through these posts you can read about how NLM resources are promoting health in our New England communities.

This week’s blog post was written by Meaghan McCarthy, the Eureka! Program Manager from the Girls Inc. organization located in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Meaghan writes about the healthy living after-school program implemented through a NNLM Community Engagement grant.

Girls Inc. of Worcester offers Healthy Living programming (July 2017 – March 2018) for 90 high school girls enrolled in Girls Inc. Eureka! (Girls Inc.’s capstone STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math – program) and 150 girls registered in Girls Inc.’s after school program.  Girls Inc.’s multi-tiered Healthy Living Project aligns with NNLM’s mission to broaden access to and awareness of health information resources, with an emphasis of using those resources provided by NLM.  The project will complement and enhance Girls Inc. Eureka! and Girls Inc. after school programs.

Girls Inc. Eureka! participants completing summer Externships at Girls Inc. (July 2017) utilized their training in PubMed, Medline Plus, and other NLM resources to create age-appropriate Healthy Living Curricula for girls in grades K-9.  The curricula developed last summer is now being implemented during Girls Inc. after school programming from September 2017 through March of 2018. The curricula enhances the Girls Inc. National guidelines for physical fitness and nutrition.

Healthy Living activities include:

  • Measuring Sugar
  • Obesity in America
  • Healthy Eating Throughout the Holidays
  • Staying Motivated Means Staying Active
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Self-Defense

In March 2018, three Cohorts of Girls Inc. Eureka! participants (90 girls grades 8-10) will visit the UMass Medical School, Lamar Soutter Library, for tours, research and Internet Safety training.

Girls Inc. Eureka! program flyer. Eureka! 5-year STEM and Leadership program which includes programming partnered with NNLM.


Categories: RML Blogs

Summary of Community Health Engagement COI

Fri, 2018-02-09 15:05

Guest post by Alan Lampson, Lead, Frymoyer Community Health Resource Center, University of Vermont Medical Center

Group conversationOn June 21, NNLM NER kicked off a 4-part Community of Interest (COI) class on Community Health Engagement with an introductory session. We discussed what a COI is – a community of people who share a common interest or passion. We then defined what the purpose of this COI is – to provide a group learning experience in community assessment, outcomes-based planning, and data collection. The program was led by Margot Malachowski, Education and Outreach Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region.

Session One: Community Health Engagement

  • Review COI definition
  • Share your project ideas
  • Describe community health engagement process, including “do you need IRB approval?”
  • Q & A.

At this initial meeting there were presentations on three different types of projects. The first presentation was from Gayle Finkelstein of the University of Vermont Medical Center and the Northern New England Poison Control Center. Gayle talked about a population-based project, her poison prevention work with immigrants and new Americans. The second presentation was by Susan Halpin from NNLM and highlighted a problem-based project, the opioid abused epidemic. This project was called the Learning Curve and was an NNLM funded project. The third presentation was an idea for a technology-based project on Patient Generated Data by Margot. This was followed by a presentation on the guidelines for IRB approval of projects.

Session Two: Community Assessment

  • Taking Inventory
  • Example: Outreach to Boston-area Youth
  • Evidence-Based Outreach
  • What are your concerns?
  • Homework

In this webinar, Margot presented information on the whys and whats of community assessments. Margot discussed the process of taking inventory in outreach planning.

Margot then demonstrated each of the steps using a project for Outreach to Boston-area Youth. We reviewed sources for community assessment data, including government data sets, organizations such as the Pew Research Center as well as hospital community needs assessments (CHNAs).

Session Three: Outcomes-based Planning

  • Checking in
  • Innovation-Decision Process
  • Logic Models
  • Reality Check
  • Process Evaluation
  • Q & A

Session 3 began with a discussion on the Innovation-Decision Process.

Innovation-Decision Process
Stage One: Knowledge – Community becomes aware of it
Stage Two: Persuasion – Community actively seeks information about it
Stage Three: Decision – Community decides to experiment with it
Stage Four: Implementation – Community uses it
Stage Five: Confirmation – Community becomes committed users
(Outreach Evaluation Resource Center, Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects, Booklets One-Two-Three. Available for download at:

We also explored logic models, a method to plan projects by identifying desired outcomes (short, medium and long term) what activities would lead to these outcomes and then what inputs or resources would be needed to carry out those activities. Logic models have the benefit of making it more likely that desired outcomes are measurable.

Session Four: Preparing Your Pitch with Data

  • What’s in a Proposal?
  • Examples of Eye-Catching Data
  • Infographics Tools (Eugenia)
  • Q & A

This session reviewed the components of a proposal and the presentation of data in both the proposal phase and the results phase. During this session Sharon Hawkes, Director of the Nahant (MA) Public Library, shared her needs assessment of her community. Eugenia Liu from the University of New Hampshire gave a demonstration on using Piktochart to present information. Piktochart is a free web based application that allows users to create infographics.

Session 4 is available to watch by going to this link.

If you would like to view earlier sessions or have any other questions please contact Margot Malachowski at

This webinar series was a great opportunity to learn about the process of developing a community health project and hear ideas from other participants. Thank you to Margot Malachowski for presenting this series. For those of us who work in consumer health it is always important to look outside our organizations, assess the needs of the community, and plan projects to meet those needs.

For those who are ready to take their idea to the next phase Margot will be teaching “Grants and Proposal Writing”, February 15th at 2:00 PM. Registration link.

Categories: RML Blogs

Welcome Karen Coghlan, Education & Outreach Coordinator

Tue, 2018-02-06 10:58


NER is happy to welcome our newest staff member, Karen Coghlan. Karen is a recent graduate from the University of Alabama Library Science School. Karen also holds a MS In Biology from Tufts University and JD from Villanova. Karen has worked as a STEM/Technology high school and middle school teacher and as a long-term substitute teacher for biology. Karen will be overseeing NER’s research data management program and representing NER on the RDM Working Group.  Her email address is and her direct line is 508-856-2223.

We look forward to soon sharing more about Karen and the great work she will contribute to the region.

Categories: RML Blogs

Couples Teamwork Program: Shaping a Strong Future with Chronic Illness

Mon, 2018-02-05 12:12

The following is the first in a series of blog posts written by NER funded grant recipients. Through these posts we hope to share with you how NLM resources are helping those in need in New England.

This week’s blog post was written by Elyce Waksman, the Couples Teamwork Program Manager from the YWCA of Central Massachusetts . Elyce writes about The Couples Teamwork program developed in Worcester, Massachusetts that brings couples together to share information and resources as they navigate the physical, emotional, and financial aspects of a family coping with a chronic illness.

Facing a lifelong diagnosis with a partner or loved one can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to control you. With teamwork and a set of strategies for tackling life’s complex issues, you and your loved one can manage the illness and live strong, happy, and healthy lives together. That’s what YWCA Central Massachusetts Couples Teamwork Program participants learned in October and November of 2017. A group of couples facing various chronic illnesses came together every weekend to learn from experts, share their experiences with each other, build friendships, and set goals for a strong future. This program is open to all adults with a chronic illness and their caregiver (such as a partner, parent, sibling, or child.

On October 1, 2017, the group came together for the first time at Summit ElderCare® on Grafton Street in Worcester and set goals for themselves with the guidance of clinical psychologist Elizabeth T. Austin, Psy.D., who specializes in chronic disease management. Throughout the seven weeks, participants learned how to access accurate and reliable medical information online through resources from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM). Austin led participants through a workshop on emotional balance, resilience, and healthy communication. Dietitian Jennifer Fournier helped participants experience mindful eating, taught them about the nutrition contents of common foods, and even provided some delicious (and nutritious!) recipes. With professionals Elizabeth Myska, P.C., and Patricia Altomare, Esq., participants had the opportunity to ask questions about their legal and financial concerns like healthcare, retirement, and estate planning. Personal trainer Stephanie Puentes worked with each couple to make individualized fitness plans that would suit each person’s needs. The program ended with a Wellness Resource Fair, connecting participants directly with local resources. Our participants raved about the wide range of information presented each week, as well as the benefits of sharing and learning from each other in this FREE program.

So how did this unique and comprehensive program come to be?

In 2015, a group of women in the YWCA community found that they had similar experiences and struggles in their caregiving relationships. This group of women and their spouses discovered the mutual benefits from sharing knowledge, asking questions, and just venting. But they had a lot of questions and concerns that they could not figure out on their own. Together they envisioned what has now become the Couples Teamwork Program, a seven-week series for individuals with chronic illnesses and their loved ones to learn from experts on the subjects that matter most to them, gain access to local and online resources, and support each other. In partnership with Fallon Health Summit ElderCare® and with funding from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine New England Region (NNLM NER), we have had the wonderful opportunity not only to make these women’s vision a reality, but to provide this program free of charge for members of the Greater Worcester community.

Another session of the Couples Teamwork Program is beginning March 3,  and will continue through April 14, 2018, on Saturday mornings 10AM-12PM at either the YWCA, or at Summit Eldercare, both are located in Worcester.   To register or for more information, please contact Elyse Waksman at

The following is a link to the promotional flyer for the next session of the Couples Teamwork program, please share this flyer with anyone who may be interested in learning more.

Categories: RML Blogs