PSR Latitudes All of Us
As libraries around the world have closed their physical doors to stop community spread of COVID-19, they have responded to the challenges of moving in-person programming to the digital space in novel and creative ways.
The past year’s NNLM PSR Subwardees faced numerous obstacles on top of the regular unexpected twists and turns of special library projects. In a short amount of time, they adapted to their new realities and built lasting, accessible, impactful web-based resources.
Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus spent months preparing for an in-person summit featuring experts on gender diversity and sports from around the country. When that was cancelled, they quickly pivoted and developed GDiS Online, a continuously-available, evidence-based resource guide with background resources, special recorded talks from medical and legal experts, and interviews with intersex athletes.
Outreach, book clubs, and classroom visits were all part of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine Health Sciences Library’s plan to publicize their new graphic medicine collection. Undaunted, they created a web-based resource guide with three videos to advertise the collection virtually, and items have already been requested by students and faculty.
The project team members at Touro University Nevada’s Jay Sexter Library are no strangers to emerging technologies. One of their first project activities was to create an extensive TUN Health Professions Information LibGuide to educate their community members on how VR, 3D printing, and other technologies can be harnessed in the health professions. Team member Faye Mazzia presented a virtual poster on the project; and Joanne Muellenbach, Megan DeArmond, and Kyle Mefferd virtually participated on the NNLM PSR webinar promoting the subaward program. Though in-person use of the technologies is on pause, the team was already well-positioned to lead in the virtual space. These digital resources and skills can continue to be used remotely to build interest in the project and further the work begun this past year.
Many of this past year’s subawardees from other RMLs have reflected on how their projects changed and grew through library closures. If you have creatively adapted to COVID-19 related closures or challenges, please let us know!
NNLM PSR Exhibit Presence at the University of Arizona Annual Connect2STEM Event in Phoenix Makes an Impact!
Note: Nora Franco and Naomi Bishop collaborated on the following post.
Nora Franco, Consumer Health Librarian, and Kelli Ham, Community Engagement Librarian for NNLM PSR, both attended the 5th annual Connect2STEM event at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix. The event is officially the largest STEM-related event held in downtown Phoenix on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The scope and scale of the event allowed Nora and Kelli to provide outreach in several of PSR’s program areas, including consumer health, citizen science, and the All of Us Research Program.
Consumer Health Outreach
Nora staffed an exhibit table for the University of Arizona Health Sciences Library with Librarian Naomi Bishop and intern Kelley Howard. Naomi and Kelley designed a quiz to promote health literacy skills and a very popular zine-making station to engage with the families and exhibit visitors. The event provided the community with opportunities to interact with simulated medical environments such as hospitals and surgical centers, as well as witness live dissections on cow eyeballs and hearts! Many families had elementary age children, but there were activities for all ages, including infants, toddlers, and teens. One grandparent who filled out a comment card at the end of the day stated:
“It was great that the different exhibits appealed to all ages. My grandkids were 5 years, 7 years and 9 years, and it was appropriate for all. The teaching demonstrations were out of this world. Everything was well thought out and the demonstrators did an excellent job explaining things.”
Exhibit visitors learned about MedlinePlus and the use of consumer health information, and the event was a great opportunity for the community to learn about health sciences librarianship. Many of the teens and young adults were very interested in the sciences or research but not necessarily set on becoming a healthcare professional. When presented with the idea of becoming a health sciences librarian working with researchers and health information, their eyes lit up! Overall, the Connect2STEM was a unique opportunity to engage youth of all ages and let them experience the wonders of STEM hands-on, encouraging them to one day pursue a degree or occupation in one of the related fields.
Citizen Science and the NIH All of Us Research Program
Connect2STEM was the perfect opportunity to introduce the concept of citizen science and how lay people without a science background can participate in meaningful research. Arizona State University librarian Dan Stanton joined Kelli at the booth to showcase citizen science kits and to highlight several health-related projects on SciStarter for Citizen Science Month in April. Exhibit visitors were excited about the projects and to learn that many of the kits are available for check out at several public libraries in the greater Phoenix area.
In addition to citizen science materials, Kelli provided information about precision medicine, All of Us, Genetics Home Reference, and MedlinePlus. The exhibit was situated next to the All of Us Arizona table, providing the opportunity to reinforce related concepts and distribute informational handouts and brochures. Visitors were intrigued and interested in contributing to research, healthy communities, and learning more about their own health.
The Connect2STEM event was a highly successful outreach event. Traffic to the two separate booths was non-stop the entire day, reaching at least 250 visitors. Many thanks to our network member librarians Naomi Bishop and Dan Stanton in helping us achieve our outreach goals!