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The blog of NNLM Greater Midwest Region
Updated: 51 min ago

Funding Awarded to Continue Workshop Series for MN’s Latino Community

Wed, 2018-06-13 11:00


The GMR office is excited to announce that Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES) has been granted a Heath Information Outreach Award for the continued development and implementation of a Health and Wellbeing Workshop Series for Minnesota’s Latino community.


Last year, the GMR funded CLUES to design and pilot a health and wellbeing workshop series for Minnesota’s Latino community. The workshop series covers topics across well-being, including healthy behaviors (healthy eating, active living, tobacco cessation), communication, and dealing with difficult emotions (regulation of feelings and its expression, trauma). Based on positive outcomes and feedback from the pilot, the GMR is funding CLUES to continue their outreach and education series to low-income, first or second generation Latino individuals and families who face multiple barriers when accessing traditional health care system living in southern Minnesota.

Project Description

This project has two objectives. First, is to enhance the recently piloted curriculum to include topics that were requested by participants, such as teen and sexual health. Second, is to implement the workshop series. Each workshop will consist of six classes. Workshops will be led by CLUES Community Health Workers, who live and work in the target communities, and will include live streaming or pre-taped sessions by CLUES mental health professionals. Each workshop course will connect participants to National Library of Medicine Resources, including MedlinePlus, to provide families with access to resources for increasing their knowledge of health topics long after the workshops. All classes are developed and delivered in Spanish.


CLUES will utilize the newly developed curricula and results from the pilot sessions to conduct additional groups in the future throughout the Twin Cities and rural Minnesota. Funding from the NNLM will be leveraged to seek additional funding to continue this effort into the future. As well, CLUES hopes to continue the project long-term and offer sustainable peer-to-peer training opportunities in Year 3.

Categories: RML Blogs

GMR Funds the Iowa Public Health Research Center at Allen College

Mon, 2018-06-11 09:28


The GMR office is excited to announce that Allen College in Waterloo, IA has been granted a Health Information Outreach Award for its project, Iowa Public Health Research Center (IPHRC) at Allen College.


Due to the prevalence of underserved health communities, medically underserved areas, and remote rural conditions, Northeast Iowa has an especially intense need for programming that provides area health departments with research assistance and access. When we examine Northeastern Iowa as a whole, 40% or 10 of 25 corresponding counties are ranked 60+ out of 99 counties in terms of underserved health communities; 76% contain portions and/or populations that are considered medically underserved; and a substantial 72% of counties are rural. A shortage of health care providers within these areas and lack of access to services, whether because of distance or socioeconomic status, only intensifies these issues. In addition, 90% of health departments and health-focused nonprofits in these regions are not affiliated with a health organization. Subsequently, these entities overwhelmingly lack direct access to the literature, tools, and training needed to implement truly effective evidenced-based health initiatives.

Project Description

Allen College’s Barrett Library will provide 25 counties in Northeast Iowa with no-cost equal access to library materials. Allen College’s IPHRC project librarian will be available throughout the funding period to respond to item requests; locate, assess, and share resources; answer questions; produce literature reviews; and collaborate with healthcare providers to find the best solutions for their needs. In order to ensure that everyone involved knows how to best navigate federal health information resources, programming will include training sessions for interested participants and train-the-trainer initiatives for library staff.


The overall goal of this project is to enhance area institutions’ ability to educate residents about health issues and provide innovative solutions to community health problems. Data will be collected and tracked noting the number of research requests fulfilled and a robust marketing campaign will support ongoing contact with participants.

Categories: RML Blogs

NNLM Professional Development Awardee, Rachael Lebo attends Adapting | Transforming | Leading, the 2018 MLA Conference

Fri, 2018-06-08 05:00

The theme to this year’s MLA conference was Adapting. Transforming. Leading.  These three words make up many of the definitions of librarianship.  I saw this theme time and again throughout the conference and I took away knowledge and ideas which will guide me in adapting, transforming, and leading at my own institution.

Thanks to the support from the NNLM/GMR’s Professional Development Award, I attended the Medical Library Association (MLA) Conference for the first time this past May 18th – 23rd.  Due to this funding, I was able to attend one of the many CE courses offered at this year’s conference.

I attended CE300 Not Just Numbers: Teaching Students to Think Using Practical Curriculum Exercises.  This CE course focused on educating medical school students with engaging evidence-based medicine (EBM) exercises.  I originally signed up for this CE course, because I believed it would build on my knowledge and generate ideas that I could use for my school’s EBM case in their objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE).  However, I took away a great deal more.  The exercises and ideas taught during this CE course were geared toward all levels of learning, from first-year medical students through residents.  In fact, one of the exercises would probably be entertaining to use in faculty training as well.  The instructors of this course had us doing the exercises as if we were the medical students.  By doing this, we were able to see things as the students would – see the challenges, fun, understanding, and complications involved.  While all of the exercises were implemented and used with the medical school at the Louisiana State University Health – Shreveport, I saw how easily I can adapt these exercises to my own medical school or other health sciences departments.  I have divided many of the exercises into different groups such as, exercises I want to use for our lunch-n-learn sessions, possible small group exercises, and ideas I want to propose for the future.  Thanks to the generosity and creativity of the LSU Health – Shreveport librarians, I was able to take away a lot of ideas and possible opportunities from this CE course.

The lightening talks and poster sessions gave me a greater respect for our profession, because while we may all fall under the health sciences librarian umbrella – all of our jobs are so very different!  I took home a lot of information and a long “to-do” list of things into which I want to delve deeper or new tools I want to explore and utilize.

The Silver and Gold theme of the networking dinner was one that really hit me throughout the entire conference.  The idea of silver and gold friends comes from an old song that I learned at Girl Scout camp, Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.  I started in my current position in October 2017 after completing an internship for the past year at another institution.  I took the time to meet up with my past colleagues who have become such blessed friends and other friends whom I’ve met in various ways.  There were many times throughout the conference that I found myself surrounded by old and new friends, whether it was during educational sessions or impromptu lunches and dinners.

Everybody I met, whether I knew them previously or just met them, introduced me to somebody else.  Our job duties are growing exponentially and having this amazing network allows us to grow stronger and bolder in our careers.  We challenge each other and learn from each other.  Getting the chance to attend MLA ’18 and taking the CE300 course taught me new ideas and challenged me to become a stronger librarian.  Thanks to the GMR’s Professional Development Award, I’m ready to adapt, transform, and lead so that I can give rise to my ideas, both successes and failures, and watch our profession continue to get stronger.

Categories: RML Blogs

Funding Awarded to the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Library

Thu, 2018-06-07 09:18

We at the GMR office are happy to announce that the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Library (SIUSML) has been granted a Health Information Outreach award in support of their 3D printing program.


Description – The 3D printing program will create anatomical models for physicians and surgeons in Southern Illinois University’s 9 clinical science departments in Springfield, IL.  The models can be used prior to a procedure to train residents working in the clinics, to educate current medical school students about basic anatomy or particular health conditions, and to educate patients about their condition or promote wellness.  Print files from the National Institute of Health’s 3D Print Exchange ( as well as those from SIU Physicians will be used.

Objectives – The 3D printing program aims to 1) raise awareness of the resources and expertise of the SIUSML and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, 2) improve collaboration between the SIUSML staff and the School of Medicine faculty, staff, students, and clinicians 3) and educate faculty, staff, students, clinicians, and patients about about basic anatomy using 3D printed models.  As they say, a picture, or in this case, an anatomical model, is worth a thousand words, especially when helping health care professionals and patients visualize anatomy and potential surgeries.  These models can be used to explain a health problem or procedure more effectively than mere words.

Categories: RML Blogs

Funding Awarded for Interactive Health Information Kiosks

Wed, 2018-06-06 16:39

The GMR office is excited to announce that Richland Public Health in Mansfield, Ohio has been granted a Health Information Outreach Award for its project, Interactive Health Information Kiosks in Richland County Libraries.


Richland County (RC) is comprised of an urban center surrounded by a number of rural villages and townships. Both of these areas are comprised of RC’s impoverished and underserved populations. Access to relevant and appropriate health information has been a long standing issue within RC. Many residents do not have personal access to Internet services and have low education levels. In addition, RC’s 2016 Community Health Assessment indicated that residents have higher incidences of angina, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity than the state average.

Project Description

The Interactive Health Information Kiosks in Richland County Libraries project will consist of four phases in order to establish and sustain the installment of interactive health information kiosks at Richland County’s local libraries, as well as educating the public on identifying relevant, accurate, and appropriate health research. The first phase of this project will be to obtain and install health information education kiosks at all 9 Richland County libraries. The second phase will consist of outreach to local health care settings, including primary care physicians and pharmacies, to educate and inform practices about the kiosks and programming at the libraries. Phase three will be completed by educating the target audience of residents who live in rural areas. A series of workshops on health information and the kiosks will emphasize the importance of health information, personalized medicine, improve health literacy, and how to do health research on their own by utilizing NLM resources. Finally, Phase 4 will consist of ongoing promotion and marketing for sustainability.


Funding for this project will assist in achieving four overarching goals:

  1. Create and provide access to health information tools and resources.
  2. Complete outreach to health professionals and members of the rural community about the resources.
  3. Empower community members to have an active role in their health.
  4. Ensure sustainability after completion of the funding award.
Categories: RML Blogs

NNLM Participates in All of Us Research Program National Launch

Mon, 2018-06-04 12:00

The All of Us Research Program, a nationwide research initiative from the National Institutes of Health, launched nationally on May 6, 2018! The program’s goal is to speed up health research breakthroughs by asking one million people to share health information. In the future, researchers can use this to conduct thousands of health studies.

Several All of Us partners, including the National Library of Medicine, hosted launch parties at seven different cities across the United States and the staff from the NNLM All of Us National Program exhibited at each location! The National Library of Medicine cosponsored a family friendly community health literacy event in Kansas City, Missouri at Union Station in collaboration with the Delta Research and Educational Foundation. Learn more about the National Launch in Kansas City here. 

Each location held community education fairs, hosted local speakers and activities and local artists created one of a kind community art pieces. National speakers, including Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Eric Dishman, Director of All of Us, and Dara Richardson-Heron, Chief Engagement Officer of All of Us, were broadcast live at each location and online. The goal of the launch was to educate, raise awareness, evoke trust, and encourage participation in the research program. Check out some of the highlights from each location at

Last fall, the All of Us Research program and the National Library of Medicine teamed up to raise awareness about the program through the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM)! The goals of the NNLM All of Us National Program are to help public libraries in supporting the health information needs of their users, support community engagement through public libraries for All of Us and to operate the All of Us Training & Education Center, the home for training and resources about and related to the program for consumers, health professionals, librarians, and researchers.

Here’s how you can be a part of the program!

For more information about how the NNLM is partnering with All of Us to support community engagement or to contact your region’s All of Us point of contact, go to our Community Engagement Website and follow us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

Check out the All of Us Research Program website or more information on the All of Us Research Program.

Categories: RML Blogs

UMN Now Accepting Applications for Data Management Training Session

Wed, 2018-05-30 16:50


Data Management for Librarians CE Course

Monday, August 6, 2018

Health science librarians from states represented by the Greater Midwest Region (GMR) are invited to participate in a data management for health sciences librarians CE course, hosted by the University of Minnesota Health Sciences Libraries in Minneapolis, MN.

The overall objective of this session is to introduce librarians to research data management and allow them to develop practical strategies for incorporating data into their existing roles.

Course Components

This 4-hour workshop will introduce participants to key elements of research data management in the health sciences, including best practices for documentation, metadata, backup, storage, and preservation. We will also explore advanced areas of research data management such as de-identification and intellectual property. The session will incorporate several activities to enable participants to apply best practices of data management when creating their own data management plans and critiquing existing data management plans (DMP). Beyond understanding the basics of research data management and applying those in the creation and assessment of DMPs, this session will also give participants an opportunity to consider the ways in which research data services can be incorporated into existing roles and responsibilities, including highlighting searching for research data for secondary analysis and integrating research data services into instruction and reference activities.

Data Management Skills Community of Practice (CoP)

Participants in the CE course may also participate in an online data management skills community of practice (CoP). The CoP will meet quarterly to take a deeper dive into a data management topic that could include federal funding compliance, data preservation & sharing, and open science. Topics are TBD and will be developed based on cohort needs.

CE Credits

Participants who complete the course will receive 4 MLA CE credits.

Instructor & CoP Facilitator:

Caitlin Bakker, MLIS: Caitlin Bakker is a health sciences librarian specializing in research support services, including data management, scholarly publishing, and citation tracking and analysis. She received her Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University in 2011 and is a Senior Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals. Caitlin is interested in meta-research, and her projects have focused on publication models, systematic reviews, research ethics, and research impact.

Who can apply?

  • Applications are open to health science librarians in the Greater Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin)
  • Twelve librarians from the GMR will be awarded a stipend to have their travel costs to/from Minneapolis reimbursed up to $1000. Applications for the stipend must include a personal statement, cv and letter of support from their supervisor (see Application Instructions below).
  • Enrollment is limited to 35 participants

What does it cost?

  • There is no charge for the CE course
  • Twelve participants from the GMR will receive a reimbursement up to $1000 for travel costs.
  • Individuals who are not selected to receive the reimbursement but still wish to take the course are responsible for their own travel costs

How can I get there?

  • All stipend award attendees who elect to fly to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport must book their air travel on a U.S. air carrier per our grant award. MSP is served by all the major US carriers including American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United.

Where can I stay?

  • There is a block of 12 rooms being held at the Graduate Hotel, which is conveniently located on the Minneapolis East Bank campus. These 12 rooms are reservable at the discounted event rate ($160/night) on a first-come, first-served basis. Other hotels in walking-distance to campus include the Courtyard by Marriott, DoubleTree by Hilton, and the Hampton Inn and Suites. Each of these hotels is connected to campus via the Green Line light rail system. The closest light rail station to Bruininks Hall is the East Bank station.

Session Agenda:

  • Lunch and networking 12-1:00pm
  • CE course 1-5:00pm
  • Complete session evaluations 5:00-5:15pm

Important Dates


  • Stipend application deadline: Friday, June 22, 2018
  • Non-stipend application deadline: open until filled
  • Notifications: Friday, June 29, 2018
  • Course Date: Monday, August 6, 2018


Application Details

  • Name and Contact Information
  • Current Role/Title
  • Place of Employment

If Applying for Travel Stipend, please include:

  • Personal statement (1-2 paragraphs) describing your individual goals, why the training is needed and how you will apply the training in practice
  • CV
  • Letter of Support from your supervisor describing why you should attend and how your participation in the workshop and the quarterly online data management skills CoP will impact the organization moving forward

Application Instructions

Please fill out the online Application Form. If applying for the travel stipend, please upload a PDF of your current CV, your personal statement and your letter of support from your supervisor.


Contact Lisa McGuire at:

This activity is supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number 1UG4LM012346. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Categories: RML Blogs

Back from the Medical Library Association ’18 in Atlanta with stories to share!

Fri, 2018-05-25 09:43

Photo of conference presentersStaff from the office participated in the Medical Library Association (MLA) 2018 meeting in Atlanta this past week, where we met many of our Network members attending, presenting – and dining on Southern specialties such as chicken and waffles and cheesy grits in downtown restaurants. GMR Outreach Specialist, Derek Johnson, presented a poster titled “Transforming Library Education Opportunities to Reach New Audiences on Third-Party Platforms,” which outlined developing training for public health professional learning platforms, such as TRAIN. In the poster hall, we saw a familiar face from one of our designated Partner Outreach Libraries, Katherine Chew, presenting “A Year in the Life of a National Network of Libraries of Medicine-Sponsored Outreach Librarian,” among posters that represented many of our regional Network members. I attended as many sessions from our regional Network members as possible this year, whenever I could elbow my way into the packed conference rooms where you were presenting!

At this annual meeting, our office sponsored the Health Information for Public Librarians Symposium, held throughout the final day and a half of the conference. The Symposium was a joint effort between the Medical Library Association, Public Library Association, and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (led by the GMR) and attracted nearly 150 public librarians from across the country. The Symposium kicked off after breakfast – an early 7:00 am start – during which Dr. Patricia Brennan (NLM), Scott Allen (PLA), Amanda Wilson (NNLM), and Barbara Epstein (MLA) presented a welcome. Post-breakfast, attendees participated in a speed networking (later dubbed speed dating) session during which public librarians and health sciences librarians were asked to connect for three-minute discussions. Thanks to all of those Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS) members who participated in the speed dating session, I hope you made some lasting love connections!

Program speakers included Scott Allen, Dr. Colleen Campbell, Dr. Rema Afifi, LaVentra Danquah, myself and NNLM staff from locations such as the South Central Region, Pacific Southwest Region, Southeastern Atlantic Region, and Middle Atlantic Region. Keynote speakers featured during the second day of programming included Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron, the chief engagement officer of the All of Us Research Program and Dr. David Satcher, a former surgeon general of the United States. You can view the entire program details online, and for another perspective on the Symposium, you may want to read Dr. Brennan’s blog post!

Thanks to everyone who participated and who served on the program committee for the event. I facilitated one of the debrief sessions with public library staff from the Southeastern Atlantic Region, one attendee there described the symposium to me as not only a positive experience, but a “powerful” one. Let’s trust that was true for others also, I’m confident we made some lasting partnerships!

Categories: RML Blogs

Funding Awarded to the Ni Mi Way

Mon, 2018-05-21 05:00

The GMR office is thrilled to announce the funding of the Ni Mi Way project at the University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth via our Health Information Outreach award.


Description:  Ni Mi Way means “I am well” in the Ojibwe language.  It serves as both an inspiration and potential outcome of the project proposed by the partnership of UMMS-Duluth’s Anna Wirta-Kosobuski and Bois Forte Band of Chippewa.  The projects strives to empower Bois Forte band members to become well-informed health consumers in control of their own well being, and who in turn, will work to build a community strong in physical, emotional, mental, environmental and spiritual health.  The means of achieving this goal derive from the incorporation of health information kiosks at sites where band members reside: the Bois Forte Health Services at Nett Lake, the Bois Forte Health Clinic in Vermilion, and the urban offices found in Duluth and Minneapolis.  Here patients will have access to free, quality health information while supported by trained staff.

Objectives:  The primary goals of this project are to 1) afford patients the opportunity to sign up for and access their electronic patient record system thereby making their records transparent information sources that help them gain fuller understanding of their own health.  And 2) provide examples of quality consumer health information resources such as MedlinePlus to promote patients’ informed health care decisions.

Categories: RML Blogs

Funding Awarded to Ixodes Outreach Project

Fri, 2018-05-18 17:00


We at the GMR office are pleased to announce that the University of Minnesota-Duluth has been granted a Health Information Outreach award to support their research into Lyme disease.


Description – The Ixodes Outreach Project is a concerted effort to tackle the emerging epidemic of Lyme disease in the upper Midwest.  Dr. Ben Clarke and his team at the University of Minnesota-Duluth will be promoting awareness of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases through educational outreach activities, a citizen-science program, and an undergraduate research experience.   The primary component of this research project comes in the form of distributed tick-kits.  These kits contain: information cards on tick/Lyme disease identification, a tick removal ‘key’, collection tubes, and mailing envelopes.  Volunteer residents and visitors of Minnesota’s northeast Arrowhead region will utilize these kits to capture ticks, record attendant information, and mail them back to the research team for analysis.

Objectives – The Ixodes Outreach Projects aims to empower the community to help with research to 1) create a web-based ‘Tick Story Map’, which will combine images, videos, maps, and a database on Lyme and other tick-borne disease research.  2) This research will also afford college students the opportunities of hands-on field experience and lab based analysis.  3) Finally, by incorporating National Library of Medicine resources, such as MedlinePlus, this project will educate and inform participants about quality consumer health information resources that can help to answer questions about Lyme disease and its symptoms.

If you’d like to discover more about the Ixodes Outreach Project, check out the local reporting from the Duluth News Tribune.


Categories: RML Blogs

Funding Awarded for Digital Health Literacy Workshops

Wed, 2018-05-16 10:45

The GMR office is excited to announce that Wisconsin Health Literacy (WHL) has been granted a Health Information Outreach Award for its project, Health Online: Finding Information You Can Trust.


A recent WHL survey of literacy tutors found that a significant number of their adult students wish they could do better in finding online information on health symptoms, resources to help them stay healthy, and resources in other languages. Nearly half also wanted help scanning health websites to find what’s relevant to them. These needs may result in part from the fact that those with low literacy use websites different. They find scanning difficult, have problems searching, are less likely to scroll, and are easily overwhelmed by dense text, small font size, and too many links.

Project Description

Wisconsin Health Literacy (WHL) will offer 32 “digital health literacy” workshops for consumers most at risk for low health literacy, including seniors and individuals with low literacy. Workshops will be offered in collaboration with community partners that are scattered across the state and will include non-profit literacy councils, public libraries, Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), senior centers, Indian tribes, refugee organizations, and community health centers. A second project component involves providing 4 regional workshops for librarians, especially in rural areas, on how to effectively help persons with low health literacy find trustworthy health information.


Funding for this project will assist in achieving four overarching goals:

  1. Help consumers, especially from underrepresented populations and those at risk for low health literacy, identify and effectively use trustworthy sources of on-line health information.
  2. Increase use of the internet for health information as a result of increased consumer confidence.
  3. Assist community librarians in their ability to help consumers identify trustworthy sources of health information and to offer an ongoing program for their communities.
  4. Help consumers find, use and understand tools and resources available through the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and National Library of Medicine.
Categories: RML Blogs

Funding Awarded to Charlevoix Public Library for “Improving Health Awareness Through Access to Quality Health Information”

Wed, 2018-05-09 13:58

I am excited to announce funding for this project led by Susan Kroll!

Project Description:

This project will load 20 iPads with NLM consumer health information for adults and children. This project is a partnership between the Charlevoix Public Library and the Munson Charlevoix Hospital Education Department. The iPads will be placed in the Library, the Hospital Wellness Workshop facility, in selected physicians’ and school nurse offices and used in health clinics for American Indians and community senior events. The Health Librarian will train the health professionals to use the iPads and review specific NLM databases. The information will be reviewed semi-annually to ensure that the resources are up to date. The rural counties of Antrim and Charlevoix counties which constitutes the Library and Hospital’s patron base have many health challenges associated with obesity, diabetes, and alcoholism. Access to mental health professionals and specialists is scarce. These chronic health issues combined with a general population that has limited computer skills make this an ideal environment to provide NLM health information for adults and children on user-friendly iPads. The mission of the Charlevoix Public Library is to connect the community to resources that educate, enrich and empower. The Library has been a partner with the Munson Charlevoix Hospital Wellness Workshop since inception, providing community health information based on NLM resources. The Wellness Workshop supports the Hospitals’ mission to improve the health and wellness of the community through health education, nutrition classes, and health screenings.

Categories: RML Blogs

Congratulations to Rachael Lebo, Professional Development Awardee!

Tue, 2018-05-08 12:13

Congratulations are in order!  Rachael Lebo has been funded through the GMR office to attend the 2018 Medical Library Association meeting later this month in Atlanta.  As a first time attendee she is looking forward to taking advantage of some evidence based medicine instruction.  This knowledge will support the library’s participation in the objective structured clinical examination at her home institution, the University of South Dakota.  We are looking forward to seeing Rachael and hopefully you at MLA 2018 this year.

So, how about you?  Are you thinking of attending a conference in the next year?  While interest has surpassed our supply for the professional development funds in our first quarter, be sure to check out the GMR’s funding opportunities.  As the year progresses, more funds will become available for professional development awards.  We eagerly await your application.

Categories: RML Blogs

Congratulations to Margaret Hoogland, Professional Development Awardee!

Thu, 2018-05-03 16:43

Let’s hear it for Margaret Hoogland!  As another recipient of the GMR’s professional development award, she plans on attending the Medical Library Association Research Training Institute in Chicago this summer.  She hopes to utilize the mentoring and instruction offered there to complete her research project on the use and access of point of care tools by health professional students.  This research will assist her tenure-track work at the University of Toledo.  We wish her luck!

Do you have ambitions for getting the most out of your career?  The NNLM-GMR would love to help get you there.   While interest has surpassed our supply for the professional development funds in our first quarter, be sure to check out the GMR’s funding opportunities.  The next quarter is right around the corner and with it more professional development awards.  We encourage you to apply.


Categories: RML Blogs

Reflections on Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles

Mon, 2018-04-30 09:22

In the NNLM Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles course, we asked participants, as they progressed through the course to consider the following questions: Do you think health sciences librarians should get involved with big data in healthcare? Where should librarians get involved, if you think they should? If you think they should not, explain why. You may also combine a “should/should not” approach if you would like to argue both sides. NNLM will feature responses from different participants over the coming weeks.

Written by: Patricia L. Smith, Impact and Dissemination Librarian at Galter Health Sciences Library, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

Big data in healthcare is a booming area with many facets and ample opportunities for library involvement. The question is not should librarians get involved, but how can librarians get involved? Librarians are natural stewards for big data—we have unique skills that we can leverage to assist researchers, particularly in citing data, data management, information ethics, and data visualization.

The most natural, and perhaps easiest, segue into big data for librarians is in the area of data citation. Researchers are expected to cite their sources—but what about data sets? Data sets are informing practice and are integral parts of the research process, but it is not yet standard practice to cite data. Due to this gap, it is very difficult to trace the use of this data, which hinders the overall research process. Librarians are already embedded in citation support. We teach classes on EndNote, RefWorks, and other bibliographic management software, and answer questions about citation styles and bibliographies. We are already poised to start conversations about the importance of citing data. Librarians can take the initiative create guides, classes, and other promotional material about how to cite data and why it is important. Furthermore, promoting the citation of data would help us track metrics and provide invaluable information about the impact, resonance, and reach of our researchers’ work. This is also an opportunity to promote depositing data sets in institutional repositories when appropriate. Finally, we also have relationships with vendors/publishers—this could open up additional conversations about indexing data sets in various databases.

Another area in which librarians are increasingly getting involved is in the area of research data management. Metadata librarians, electronic resources librarians, and data librarians are uniquely positioned to collect and appraise data, manage data collections and add appropriate metadata, and preserve data. We can help researchers with best practices for data structure, vocabularies, formats, and more.

Big data is not without controversy when it comes to privacy and ethics. Librarians have a history of exhibiting passion in the area of information ethics, so this seems like a natural partnership! Librarians can take the initiative to start conversations with the public about big data—what it is, what it is not, and why it could raise the proverbial ethical eyebrows. On the flip side, librarians can also have conversations with researchers about the public’s concerns surrounding big data. Researchers probably have the best intentions when it comes to using big data, but they need to be aware of why people might have concerns with privacy. Some hold the belief that “patients have a moral obligation to contribute to the common purpose of improving the quality and value of clinical care in the system.”[1] While I concur that participation in healthcare is crucial to moving the science forward, the phrase “moral obligation” might not be the best choice of words, especially from the perspective of skeptical patients, patients concerned with privacy, or patients from racial or ethnic groups that have historically been mistreated by the medical community. Librarians might be able to liaise between the public and researchers to help strengthen these partnerships, and help researchers communicate in the most effective ways.

Another way librarians can get involved in big data is by learning more about data visualization. Not all librarians have to learn R, or Python, or JavaScript, but having a basic knowledge of programming and speaking the language of data scientists will only help our position. There are many free resources to learn about data visualization, e.g. Sci2, Tableau Public, VOSviewer, and more. Presenting data in a visual format is a valued skill, and librarians can learn some basic skills to get a seat at the table.

Overall, there are many ways librarians can and should get involved in big data in healthcare. We must be confident about the skills we already possess and how they can translate to big data, and we must be proactive in marketing our knowledge.


  1. Longhurst CA, Harrington RA, Shah NH. A ‘green button’ for using aggregate patient data at the point of care. Health Aff [Internet]. 2014;33(7):1229-35.
Categories: RML Blogs

Funding Awarded to UMN for Research Data Management Education

Thu, 2018-04-26 09:33

The GMR is excited to announce that the Health Sciences Libraries at the University of Minnesota have been awarded a Research Data Management (RDM) Award to support research data management services! The project will expand RDM education not only within their institution but across the GMR as well!

Project Description

This project has two goals:

  1. Enable health science librarians at institutions throughout the GMR to build research data management knowledge and skills and develop actionable next steps to provide data services at their libraries
  2. Enable health science faculty and graduate/professional students at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) to better understand data management best practices, be better positioned to prepare more competitive grant proposals, and learn how to prepare datasets for preservation, sharing, and re-use

To address Goal 1, the University of Minnesota will fund up to twelve travel stipends for librarians across the GMR to travel to Minneapolis and attend a special MLA CE approved Data Management Course. Librarians will be selected through a competitive application process.

To accomplish Goal 2, a data management workshop will be hosted on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus for up to 40 faculty and students. In person consultations will also be offered following the workshop to offer more personalized training.

Congrats to UMN and be on the lookout in the coming months for information about applying to attend the Data Management Course in Minnesota!

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