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The blog of NNLM Greater Midwest Region
Updated: 4 hours 55 min ago

The Journey is coming to town

Tue, 2019-01-15 17:39

The Journey is visiting the Greater Midwest Region. No, not the rock band, but the NIH All of Us “mobile asset” designed to promote, educate, and enroll participants in the research program.

Do you know about All of Us? The NIH All of Us Research Program is part of the Precision Medicine Initiative. What is precision medicine? Precision medicine is an innovative approach to healthcare. It takes into account individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and biology in order to accelerate research, advance medicine, and ultimately improve care, treatment, and prevention for all of us.

Photo of the blue All of Us Journey trailer.

A sign promoting the Journey‘s visit.

All of Us is asking one million people to join in the study, and the traveling educational experience is one way to engage communities across the country. This summer, the Journey is coming to a city in or near you.

A Journey team leader explaining precision medicine to a group of visitors inside the Journey.

Participants touring the Journey and learning about precision medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center on November 27th. Sponsored by NNLM SCR

Louisville KY
2/25 – 3/3

Youngstown & Warren OH
6/3 – 6/9

Columbus OH
6/10 – 6/16

Cincinnati OH
6/17 – 6/ 23

Dearborn & Detroit MI
6/24 – 6/30

Grand Rapids MI
7/8 – 7/14

South Bend IN
7/15 – 7/21

Chicago IL
7/22 – 7/28

Photo of the All of Us mobile asset trailers parked.

The Gibson D. Lewis Library, Glendale, UT, hosted the Journey on Tuesday, November 27th. Sponsored by NNLM MCR

Elgin IL
7/29 – 8/4

Milwaukee WI
8/5 – 8/11

Madison WI
8/12 – 8/18

St Paul MN
8/19 – 8/25

Minneapolis MN
8/26 – 9/1

As an NIH All of Us partner, the NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network (CEN) helps raise awareness of the program, and we depend upon our members to help support our mission.

Whether you are an academic or a public library, consider hosting the Journey or volunteering or exhibiting at an event. The involvement is minimal. The Journey team does the work from setting up and tearing down to enrolling participants. They even train volunteers the day-of. Because the Journey plans local site visits 60-90 days ahead of its scheduled appearance, contact as soon as possible with any questions and to submit your application.

Want to know more?

All of Us Journey Host Fact Sheet and Schedule

Community Partner Host Checklist

Categories: RML Blogs

Thanksgiving is National Family Health History Day

Wed, 2018-11-21 15:25
A generic direct-to-consumer test box

A generic direct-to-consumer test box

Are you purchasing or 23andMe for all your relatives on Black Friday? If so, you soon may be one of the estimated 100 million consumers who will have direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing by 2021.1 With improved technology and increased profits, consumer-directed companies promote easy and affordable tests for both ancestry and health information.

However, both the general public and the health care provider community need to be aware of the potential utility and limitations of such tests. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which promotes health and quality of life, and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the manufacturers of genetic tests and has approved certain tests such as Parkinson’s disease and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease for the commercial market, genetic tests are not a suitable substitute for a traditional health care evaluation. Medical exams that include conventional laboratory tests like blood chemistry and lipid profiles are a more appropriate starting point for diagnosing diseases and assessing preventive measures.

In fact, a critical assessment tool for evaluating your risk factors for inherited medical conditions and diseases is a family conversation. You know that your family members share genes, but do you know that common behavior, such as exercise habits and what you eat, as well as where you live and work, are contributing factors? Family history includes all of these factors, any of which can affect your health.

If you know a lot about your family health history or maybe only a little, to get the complete story, use family gatherings, such as Thanksgiving, as a time to talk about your family’s health history. If possible, look at death certificates and family medical records. Collect information about your parents, sisters, brothers, half-sisters, half-brothers, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. Include information on major medical conditions, causes of death, age at disease diagnosis, age at death, and ethnic background. Be sure to update the information regularly and share what you have learned with your doctor. In fact, you can use the Surgeon General’s free, web-based tool called “My Family Health Portrait” to keep track of the information. The Surgeon General even offers tips, both in English and Spanish, for getting started.

So this holiday season, as you gather with family, in addition to giving Grandma, Aunt Mary, and Uncle Bruce a consumer-directed genetic testing kit, start a conversation about your family health history.


1 Khan R and Mittelman D. Consumer genomics will change your life, whether you get tested or not. Genome Biology. 2018;19:120

Categories: RML Blogs

GMR to Help Support Health Literacy Summit

Mon, 2018-11-19 10:56

The GMR is excited to announce that Wisconsin Health Literacy has received a Professional Development Award to help support costs related to bringing two plenary speakers for the 2019 Wisconsin Health Literacy Summit! The Summit is held every two years and brings together more than 350 professionals who are focused on how improved health literacy can help individuals become more engaged with their health and healthcare.

Funding from the GMR will support the travel of both Dr. Dean Schillinger, MD, Professor, UC-San Francisco and Founding Director, Center for Vulnerable Populations Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and Dr. Shonna Yin, MD, MSc, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Population Health at the NYU School of Medicine / Bellevue Hospital Center. Both individuals are experienced NIH-funded researchers and will be sharing information on some of this work.

Categories: RML Blogs

Mobility for All, Bring Chair Yoga to Your Library

Mon, 2018-11-12 12:21


Effingham Public Library, a catalyst for positive change, is excited to partner with the Greater Midwest Region of the National Library of Medicine to bring a series of chair yoga classes to our small, rural community.

The “Mobility for All” project responds to the latest Community Health Profile Report for Effingham, Illinois, that found a prevalence of overweight adults in Effingham County – 41.7%- as opposed to 35.8% nationally.

Even more troubling was the continued increase of respondents who shared that over the past week they’d had no leisure time for activity.   Only 20.7% of Effingham County residents had participated in any physical activities or exercises like running, golf, gardening or walking for exercise.

Yoga practice is relatively new to our community and chair yoga with its gentle and balanced approach to building strength and coordination is a non-threatening approach to exercise that is approved by most health care professionals.

Our goals with this project are two-fold.  First, Chair Yoga provides a safe form of low-impact exercise for almost anyone that improves mobility function and reduces symptoms like chronic back pain.  Second, much of our older population that lives in our rural community lacks access to broadband resources so providing free opportunities to learn more about trusted self-care practices and resources is crucial and the National Institute of Health is the perfect partner for this project.

Partnership with the GMR has given us a chance to order and share print resources like the National Institute on Aging’s Healthy Eating After 50, Pain:  You Can Get Help, Exercise & Physical Activity, and the Workout to Go booklet with this group.

With a large clear space, armless chairs (folding chairs will work), and an instructor who is particularly excited to work with anyone, but especially older people, Chair Yoga is an obvious choice for libraries.  Participating libraries will provide their community a great new exercise opportunity, trustworthy health information and increase their programming numbers too!




Categories: RML Blogs

National Family Health History Day

Fri, 2018-11-09 13:46

Written by Erika Johnson. Erika is a health sciences librarian at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences and a GMR Partner Outreach Librarian

Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner – a day when families gather to enjoy time together. Did you know that Thanksgiving Day is also National Family Health History Day? Chances are you will be seeing grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other family members who have important memories to share. What a great opportunity to start a conversation about your family’s health! Documenting medical and health information is an important part of protecting your family’s health in the future.

As librarians and information specialists, we can help spread the word about this often-overlooked element of family history. In September, I gave a presentation at a family history workshop. My session focused on how librarians can help genealogists locate and learn about their relatives. I also included a brief section on gathering medical and health information as an important component of a family’s history.

The 2018 workshop, “Over There,” presented by the Heritage Education Commission, was the organizations 43rd annual workshop. With planning already underway for the 44th annual workshop in 2019, I’m looking forward to focusing my next presentation on family health history and leaving the genealogy stuff the experts! There are many excellent resources available from the NNLM and other organizations. Here are just a few that I plan to use as I create my next presentation:


Categories: RML Blogs

Reading is Healthy Introducing the NNLM Reading Club

Wed, 2018-10-31 17:59

seven adults sitting in chairs lined against a wall reading a book

Book Clubs or reading groups are a staple of library outreach and literacy efforts. People gather to discuss Oprah’s picks or the New York Times’ Best Sellers to socially engage with literature and current events.

To help grow health literacy, the NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network announces the launch of the NNLM Reading Club. The goal is to support libraries’ health literacy efforts and address local communities’ health information needs by celebrating important National Health Observances through the fun and intimacy of a book club.

The NNLM Reading Club offers a selection of three different book titles along with corresponding free, ready-to-use materials designed to help promote and facilitate a book club discussion on a health issue or topic. It’s easy to download the discussion materials and direct patrons to the library’s book holdings. However, the NNLM is offering an added benefit.

Beginning November 1st, participating NNLM libraries are making the quarterly Reading Club picks available in a free, handy, portable Book Club Kit. This program-in-a-box format includes 8 copies of each of the following items: the selected book, discussion guide, flyer, NIH MedlinePlus Magazine, NIH All of Us Research Program brochure and additional material in support of the health topic all of which are tucked inside a handy library book bag and shipped to the requesting library.

Any U.S. library that is an organizational member of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine is eligible to apply and to receive one NNLM Reading Club Book Kit from November 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019. Due to the limited supply of federally-sponsored NNLM Reading Club Book Kits, libraries that support outreach to vulnerable populations receive priority status.

Visit the NNLM Reading Club page to browse the November selections and download the ready-to-use materials or to order an NNLM Book Club Kit from a participating region.

Categories: RML Blogs

Rocking Midwest Chapter MLA!

Tue, 2018-10-30 22:00

Fall is a busy season for staff in the Greater Midwest Region office, this season took our team to exciting locations such as Traverse City, MI (cherry pies!), Springfield, IL (Lincoln!), St. Cloud, MN (Eh…Juno?), and Cleveland, OH (rock and roll!). In particular, our team worked hard to debut two new courses at the Midwest Chapter MLA meeting in Cleveland from October 5-8.

Precision Medicine course

Precision Medicine

One of these courses was Open Science for Health Sciences Librarians, which was developed by content expert, Erin Foster from Indiana University (not the University of Indiana, I get it, I get it) in partnership with Sam Watson from our office. The course provided an overview of the role of open science and its components in health sciences research, its implementation throughout the workflow of the research process, locating and creating open sciences policies for use at your institution, and assessing open source tools currently available.

The second course offered was Precision Medicine, which was developed by Dr. Colleen Campbell, Assistant Director of the Iowa Institute of Human Genetics, in partnership with office staff Sam Watson, Rachel Gatewood, and NNLM coordinator, Catherine Martin. The course provided participants with knowledge of genomics, an overview of the clinical applications of genomic medicine, an appreciation of the ethical and social issues inherent in the field and a review of NLM resources for health professionals and consumers. A highlight of the course was a role playing game which had course participants choose whether or not to pursue genetic testing.

Both courses received positive reviews – I’m proud of the hard work that our staff and content experts put into developing these! Didn’t have a chance to attend? We are hoping to develop both courses into an online format and to make these available to a wider audience. Keep an eye on our blog and training calendar!

Dancing at chapter meeting

Rocking out at Midwest Chapter MLA

Conference planners gave me a chance to present an update from our office, which I did while sporting my new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame t-shirt (for some context, the conference was rock and roll themed and t-shirts and jeans were encouraged). We exhibited at the meeting, always a great chance to connect with some of our health sciences library colleagues, and passed out Libraries Transform posters and stickers. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth! Stay in touch, and we’ll see you at the next meeting.

Categories: RML Blogs

So you want to be an outreach librarian? Spotlight on Erika Johnson

Wed, 2018-10-24 15:05

Once again we return to the farthest northwest corner of the GMR to great state of North Dakota, where not one but four partner outreach librarians make up the outreach team. today we spotlight Erika Johnson, Southeast Clinical Campus Librarian, University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences. Erika_Johnson

1. How long have you been in the role of an outreach librarian?
I joined the University of North Dakota outreach team three years ago (2015).

2. How did you get involved in outreach?
Outreach has been assigned to the position I hold for some time. Within two months of beginning my duties as a clinical campus librarian, I participated in my first outreach exhibit at the 2015 North Dakota Library Association annual conference. I was fortunate to work with seasoned exhibitors Marcia Francis and Jacqueline Leskovec. They showed me the ropes and made the experience very enjoyable.

3. What is your favorite outreach project that you’ve done so far?
I can’t name a specific experience, but all of the conference presentations I have done on behalf of our outreach team have been fun. I enjoy the opportunity to share high-quality resources with teachers, librarians, health professionals, and the general public. At various conferences, these audiences have been so appreciative of the new resources I have presented. It is very rewarding to know that I have helped people in their work and in their knowledge of health topics.
4. What outreach activity do you hope to do in the future?

I hope to continue providing training at a variety of conferences. I’m also looking forward to the prospect of offering an Evidence-Based Medicine Training CE to allied health professionals in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

5. What is the one thing you wished you had known before you got started in outreach?
I can’t think of anything specific. I was very fortunate to join an established outreach team that is doing great work. They were able to pull me along from my first day on the team.

Categories: RML Blogs

Health Sciences Librarians of Illinois Annual Conference – Rivers of Data, Streams of Knowledge

Tue, 2018-10-23 10:18

The Health Sciences Librarians of Illinois received a GMR Professional Development award for 3 CE courses at the annual conference, held September 26-28 at the Cliffbreakers Riverside Hotel and Conference Center in Rockford, Illinois.

Attendees learned how to plan and develop working relationships in Building Partnerships with Faculty, Clinicians, and Other Stakeholders, with Gwen Wilson, the Health Informatics Coordinator/Librarian at Washburn University in Topeka, KS. Erin Foster, Data Services Librarian at the Indiana University School of Medicine provided information on Data Management in the Wild. A trio from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, including Peg Burnette, Assistant Professor and Biomedical Sciences Librarian, Erin Kerby, Veterinary Medicine Librarian and Amanda Avery, a student at the iSchool inspired us to create or improve Your Online Professional Identity – Using Professional Profile Systems to Your Best Advantage.

Erin Foster addresses Data Management learning objectives 

Erin Foster addresses Data Management learning objectives

Gwen Wilson overviewing the course

Gwen Wilson overviewing the courseCourse evaluations were very positive and many learners had immediate plans to make use of what they learned. HSLI is grateful to GMR for the professional development funding, which helped our small organization provide excellent continuing education for members.

Amanda Avery, Erin Kerby, Peg Burnette, being introduced by Ramune Kubilius

Amanda Avery, Erin Kerby, Peg Burnette, being introduced by Ramune Kubilius

Categories: RML Blogs

Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC)– Chelsea Misquith, Ruth Lilly Medical Library

Tue, 2018-10-16 11:54

Thanks to the NNLM/GMR, I was able to attend the 3rd National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) this year in Albuquerque, New Mexico from September 26 – 30. JCLC is a joint initiative organized by the ethnic caucuses of the American Library Association (ALA): American Indian Library Association (AILA), the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), and REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking. Historically, it has taken place every 6 years, and so I was incredibly lucky and grateful to be afforded the opportunity to attend this year.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Jones
Image Description: Session attendees standing on either side of the screen with a slide titled “Transforming Communities through Health Outreach & Programming” projected onto it.


I started JCLC off by attending the pre-conference session titled “Transforming Communities through Health Outreach and Programming”, by Lydia Collins, Christian Minter, Kelli Ham, and Jennifer Jones. During this 4-hour session, we discussed different levels of engagement and ways to conduct health outreach, and we brainstormed some solutions to common challenges to doing this work. Some key resources I learned about are:

  • NLM’s HealthReach has patient education materials in multiple languages
  • National Institute on Aging’s Go4Life has resources about physical activity and aging
  • American Libraries Association’s LibrariesTransform campaign for resources, toolkits, trends on library services backed by research and data that will be useful for library advocacy and promotion
  • MEDLINEPlus also has pet health resources!!

Special shout out to Lydia Collins for bringing the energy to the early morning 8 AM session!

I also had the opportunity to visit the University of New Mexico Library and Archives and learn a bit about their Indigenous Nations Library Program (INLP). Through the INLP, Indigenous/Native students have access to a welcoming space that includes study spaces and customized instruction sessions, in addition to LibGuides specific to Indigenous/Native research and topics.


Photo Credit: Carla Bywaters
Image Description: Me, standing in front of the desk in the West Wing reading room at the University of New Mexico Library.


Ana Ndumu’s session on “Engaging and serving Black immigrant communities” was a wealth of information and knowledge as well. Through the course of her session, I learned that the biggest information-related issue affecting Black immigrant communities in the US is Information Overload. During her research on Black immigrants’ information behaviors, she found some broad themes in the answers given by her focus group participants:

  • Compliance and Advancement: The information landscape is ever-changing, so they felt like they were constantly struggling to catch up with new information.
  • Concerns over Fake News
  • Ideas of “the public”/ministries: In their home countries, people don’t generally turn to public services (universities, etc) unless in need, so “public” libraries are assumed to be working for the government. This can lead to a distrust of libraries/library programs.
  • Importance of Community
  • Decentralized Information: It can be overwhelming and confusing to have multiple options to find information about something. For example, having different procedures for applying for an official document online vs. over the phone vs. in-person.

Here are her tips on what those of us in libraries can do to cater our services towards Black immigrants:

  • Continue doing what we are doing
  • Provide life management tools – how to use apps, information resilience (giving patrons the space to let people know when they feel overwhelmed by information)
  • Remember that personal narratives matter
  • Think about strengths, not deficits – don’t just focus on “Americanizing” people
  • Stay abreast on issues affecting Black immigrants
  • Pursue partnership (not intervention) and resilience (not remediation) – work together with their existing experience/credentials
  • Recruit Black immigrants to the Library and Information Sciences (LIS) profession – may be a great second career

For more information on her research and other resources, Ana Ndumu’s toolkit is available at

One poster that really stuck out for me was the one on the Virtual Blockson project by Jasmine Clark at Temple University. She has been working to convert the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American collections into Virtual Reality (VR), and she spoke about concerns over long-term preservation and accessibility as they relate to VR.

These are just a few snippets of the wonderful initiatives that I’ve learned about through JCLC. I appreciated how Black, Indigenous/Native, and other people of color were centered during this conference, and our experiences considered valid and real and not up for debate. Special shout out to this sign, pasted by Jennifer Brown, Jennifer Ferretti, Sofia Leung, and Marisa Mendez-Brady, outside their JCLC session titled “We Here: Community Building as Self Care”, which reads-


everything being made and said in this room is rooted in believing the narratives of people of color and recognizing systemic oppression.”

Photo Credit: Jennifer A. Ferretti


Being surrounded by immensely talented people of color in LIS who’re working on innovative projects has been incredibly inspiring for me, especially as an early-career librarian of color. I’m also happy to have made some amazing new LIS friends, as well as getting the opportunity to meet up with an old one. I’m glad that I will not have to wait another 6 years for the next JCLC, as they’ve announced that it will be held in 2022 (location TBD)! I’m looking forward to it!

Chelsea Albuquerque Chair

Categories: RML Blogs

Upcoming Webinar: Addressing Latino Health and Wellness Disparities

Mon, 2018-10-15 11:57

Addressing Latino Health and Wellness Disparities Through Virtual Community Health and Wellness Workshops

10/24/2018 – 1:00 – 2:00 PM

This session will provide attendees with background information about the Latino community both in the United States and in Minnesota. An overview of current demographics and health issues will be covered. The presenters will then describe how they designed, implemented, and evaluated the virtual health and wellness workshop series*, covering mental health and wellness topics, targeting the Latino community in rural Minnesota towns. The session will wrap up with considerations that other organizations can use when targeting outreach efforts to the Latino population within their local and hard-to-reach rural communities.

To register, please visit:

This session will be presented by Carla Kohler, Manager of Community Health Services and Dr. Benjamín Feigal, Director of Mental Health Services at CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio).

*This workshop series was developed with funding support from the Greater Midwest Region.

Categories: RML Blogs

Now accepting applications for Quarter Three Professional Development Award

Mon, 2018-10-08 11:18

Background/Purpose: The purpose of this award is to assist individuals working in GMR Network member organizations to enhance their ability to use NLM resources or keep current on topics related to NIH initiatives.

Eligibility:  Individuals working at organizations that are Network members within the Greater Midwest Region (GMR) are eligible to apply. For information on membership and to apply, visit our Members page. Membership is free!

Potential Projects: 

    • Attend a professional meeting and enroll in continuing education sessions on health information
    • Attend a workshop on searching for systematic reviews for health sciences librarians that utilize PubMed.
    • Sponsor an instructor to offer a CE session on National Library of Medicine resources at a state or regional meeting for public librarians.
    • Attend a professional meeting and enroll in continuing education sessions on health information

Amount:  Up to $2,500

Additional Funding Information:  All Professional Development awards are made on a cost reimbursement basis.

Funding Period:  Awards will be offered on a quarterly basis and on a first come first serve basis until funding for that quarter is expended.

This award supports the mission of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health by providing all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and improving the public’s access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health. Learn more and apply here.


Categories: RML Blogs

GMR Welcomes Back UIC as an Outreach Library

Mon, 2018-10-01 11:06

The GMR is pleased to announce that the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Library of the Health Sciences (LHS) is once again active in our Network outreach. UIC becomes the second Partner Outreach Library (POL) in Illinois, joining Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield. Congratulations, UIC LHS!

UIC librarians, as do our other Partner Outreach Librarians, will help the GMR identify potential outreach opportunities in the state; train consumers, public librarians, unaffiliated health care providers, and other Illinoisans in health information access; exhibit and promote NLM and NIH resources, as well as those of NNLM and UIC.

Carmen Howard, UIC LHS-Peoria, is the designated POL for UIC LHS. However, since UIC has libraries in Chicago, Rockford, Urbana, as well as Peoria, other librarians will also assist in outreach.

You can meet up with our latest POL librarians at the 2018 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference, Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, IL, October 9-11, 2018.

Categories: RML Blogs