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News from the Northwest and Beyond
Updated: 3 hours 25 min ago

Holiday Meals and Food Allergies/Special Diets

Thu, 2018-12-06 06:16

Are you planning your holiday menus for when your friends and families are gathering during the holiday season?  It can be fun to plan what foods and beverages to serve until Cousin Bill states he is no longer eating gluten, your best friend is lactose intolerant, your boss is vegan, Grandma is diabetic, and your nephew announces he is bringing his roommate who has specific religious dietary restrictions. Suddenly menu planning becomes a challenge that seem insurmountable.

holiday food buffet

Providing a fun festive gathering includes being a hospitable one as well. Letting your guests know they are welcome and that you are considerate of their dietary needs not only creates a place of hospitality but one of safety. While some of these diets are voluntary and may be a lifestyle choice, others may be for cultural or religious reasons and even a matter of life or death. Here are some suggestions to help you accommodate your guests:

  • Educate yourself and about dietary restrictions and ask your guests for information and suggestions
  • List the ingredients of each dish and save the labels of purchased items so your guests can refer to them to know if an item is safe to eat
  • Stick to simple basic recipes such as roasting a vegetable with only minimal salt and pepper, the more ingredients a recipe includes the fewer can enjoy it
  • Keep extra flavorings and ingredients on the side such as candied pecans for sweet potatoes in a separate condiment bowl
  • Wash your hands, cooking utensils and surfaces frequently while preparing food so as to not cross contaminate
  • Consider a meal where guests ‘build their own’ meal such as a taco bar where options are available

Learn more about food allergies at the FDA and MedlinePlus

Tips for in the kitchen are from FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education)

Information about food and culture are available from EthnoMed and  Culture Care Connection

For information about a variety of diets and dietary restrictions, visit the MedlinePlus food and nutrition page

Categories: RML Blogs

Tis the Season to…Spit?!

Mon, 2018-12-03 04:15

woman with test tubeGuess what one of the most popular gifts purchased was during the 2017 holiday season?  Direct-to-consumer genetic tests. Yes, apparently a lot of spitting happened around that time or at least required it for discovering something about one’s health and ancestry.  These kits have been featured on celebrity shows, the news, and one particular brand was even on Oprah’s list of Favorite Things. Most likely it will continue to be a popular item this holiday season particularly with discounted prices and appealing (and rather aggressive) advertising directed at those wanting to know more about themselves. Many of these kits are even bought for numerous family members without even being requested.

But, should the public purchase these kits without a second thought? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) think not. In fact, they and other agencies, associations, and organizations have attempted to caution those who are wanting to spit their genetic information into a tube. The “Think Before You Spit” campaign began in 2011 and has been regularly reprised by the CDC over the years.  Limitations of these sorts of tests were a concern when they first appeared on the market and continue to be even now. The validity and quality of these tests, whether for ancestry or health, need to be understood by users. No standard exists for these types of tests. Genetic testing is very complex and new discoveries and advances are continually occurring.

And what about privacy? Unfortunately, these types of genetic tests are not required to comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act) as are genetic tests done through your healthcare provider. Many of these companies do offer a Terms of Use or similar statement which often includes some sort of privacy statement written in very complex terms. A company’s version of privacy may be very different from the consumer’s interpretation.

So, think before you spit. It can be easy to be caught up in the excitement to learn about your background but the reality is you are giving up very unique information about yourself once you send in that tube of spit as well as others such as your children if you have them do a test as well, which by the way, raises issues of pediatric consent and other ethical issues. Educate yourself and those who you know are considering using this type of test because you are giving away very unique information about yourself.

Where can you find information about direct to consumer genetic testing?

Then ask yourself:

  • What do you hope to learn from the results of the test?
  • Are you prepared to learn something totally unexpected?
  • How will this affect your family?
  • Are you okay with having your genetic information available to others?

Also, ask your doctor or healthcare provider whether this type of test would provide useful information for your health

If you decide that you still want to take the test consider these questions, provided by Genetics Home Reference, when choosing a company.

This is all information you can provide not just for yourself but for you library patrons and others in the communities you serve whether in social media postings, in a newsletter or on your website. Provide your community with access to authoritative resources so they can make the decision about whether or not to use a direct-to-consumer genetic test as informed health consumers.

Categories: RML Blogs

Marketing Your Interlibrary Loan Service -webinar

Wed, 2018-11-28 04:14

Our next PNR Rendezvous webinar is:

The Essentials of Marketing Your Interlibrary Loan Service

Marketing a new library service is expected. Marketing a service that no one is using is expected. But what about interlibrary loan, which is an existing service that, statistically, patrons are already using? Should a library waste money, resources, and staff time to market interlibrary loan? Yes! Marketing interlibrary loan can teach patrons how to use the service more effectively and can introduce new users to the service. But currently, there is very little literature on the subject. Marketing other library services is written about frequently but ILL, not so much. It becomes hard to know how to approach marketing ILL when there is not a lot of precedent for it. So how do you begin your own interlibrary loan marketing campaign? In this presentation you will learn what marketing really is, about libraries that have successfully marketed interlibrary loan, and lessons learned from those marketing endeavors.

It’s best to attend the live session but it will be recorded. Bring your questions and ideas.

Presenter: Adebola Fabiku, Head of Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Services at the University of Washington

When: Wednesday, December 5 at 1:00pm PT, Noon Alaska, 2:00pm MT

How to join the webinar: Registration is encouraged but not required.

Go to current PNR Rendezvous session
Enter your name and email address.
Enter the session password: pacific
Click “Join Now”.
Follow the instructions that appear on your screen.

Categories: RML Blogs

Data Flash: Wikidata, RDM and Librarians

Mon, 2018-11-26 03:22

You’ve heard of Wikipedia, but are you familiar with Wikidata? What about WikiCite?

If you are interested to hear more, join us as we host Wikidata expert and librarian Katie Mika, from the University of Colorado Boulder!  In this hour-long webinar, she will “introduce the WikiCite initiative (to build a database of open citations to support free and computational access to bibliographic metadata) and will identify simple, high impact ways for librarians to get involved. As experts in the intersection of bibliographic metadata, information discovery, and interdisciplinary research, librarians are a tremendous resource for this community.”

To register for the session (which will be recorded, and a link sent out to registrants), visit .  You might also want to check out the link on that page to the NNLM’s Research Data Management Webinar Series, with several recorded sessions already available.

Please send any questions to Ann Glusker, email: glusker (AT)  We look forward to learning along with you on Dec. 7!

P.S.  If you want some fascinating extra reading before the webinar, check out this article by Katie Mika, “Wikidata and BHL” [Biodiversity Heritage Library]

Categories: RML Blogs

Next PNR Rendezvous – focuses on the National Library of Medicine Traveling Exhibits

Wed, 2018-11-07 11:11

Has your library, institution, or organization considered hosting a National Library of Medicine (NLM) exhibit but were unsure as to what was involved? Perhaps you noticed the lengthy wait list for several of the exhibits? The next PNR Rendezvous webinar session is hosting staff from the NLM Exhibition Program who will be providing some information about an opportunity to host an exhibit.

In addition, until December 15, 2018, NNLM PNR network members are invited to sign up to host an NLM exhibit, for a 6-week booking period of your first or second choice from January 2019 through April 2021. Learn more about this opportunity on a previous Dragonfly post and attend this upcoming PNR Rendezvous webinar session..

PNR Rendezvous session: New Horizons for NLM Traveling Exhibitions

About the webinar: The National Library of Medicine (NLM) traveling exhibitions are designed to engage diverse audiences about a variety of topics in the history of medicine, enhancing awareness of and appreciation for the collection and health information resources of the National Library of Medicine. The NLM Exhibition Program will soon introduce a new engagement initiative for customers hosting one of its traveling exhibitions. The new engagement initiative will help strengthen the connections host venues make to NLM collections and health information resources as part of their hosting of an NLM traveling exhibition. This PNR Rendezvous webinar will serve as an introduction to this new initiative. You are encouraged to attend the live session but it will be recorded.

When: November 14, 1:00pm PT, Noon Alaska, 2:00pm MT

How to join the webinar: Registration is encouraged but not required.

Go to current PNR Rendezvous session
Enter your name and email address.
Enter the session password: pacific
Click “Join Now”.
Follow the instructions that appear on your screen

Categories: RML Blogs

TOMORROW/NOVEMBER 7! Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on Women’s Health– Join Us!

Tue, 2018-11-06 13:11

In case you haven’t heard, the NNLM’s second Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, focusing on Women’s Health, is happening tomorrow!  We really hope you will join us, as an editor, learner, observer, cheerleader, or whatever role fits for you.  (If you want to edit, be sure to sign up for a Wikipedia account if you don’t have one, and if you want to tweet, the hashtag is #citenlm2018 )

As an extra inducement, during the shift hosted by the NNLM-PNR, 3-5 PM Pacific Time, we will feature Wikipedian Monika Sengul-Jones.  We’re all lucky to have her as a knowledgeable,  energetic, generous, and exciting presence during this time!

So, this is our Wikipedia project page, which has most of the information you’ll need, including the WebEx information (since this is an all-online event):

And, you’ll see a GoogleDoc link there, which will connect you to a wide range of Women’s Health resources you can check in with, as well as a great grid that has options for which Wikipedia pages might need more work than others.

Finally, if you want more training in advance, check out the recordings here (due to technical glitches the third one isn’t up yet!):

There was also a great training last spring:

Hopefully all this will get you started– we’re so excited some of you will be participating!  And, keep the questions coming!  (Email me, Ann Glusker, at glusker (AT)

Categories: RML Blogs

“Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived & Well-Drawn” traveling exhibit coming from the NLM to the UW Health Sciences Library!

Mon, 2018-11-05 04:08

As you may know, the University of Washington Health Sciences Library (HSL) is the location of the Pacific Northwest region of the NNLM.  Starting today (through December 22), it will also be hosting the National Library of Medicine traveling exhibit titled, “Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived & Well-Drawn”.  We are so excited to present this vibrant and trend-setting event! Graphic medicine uses the graphic novel or comic format as a way to provide information and tell stories of illness and health; this exhibit (curated by graphic artist Ellen Forney) consists of 6 banners which will be displayed in the library.  In addition, we will host artist David Lasky for a talk on his work (which includes the art work for the comic series “Pandemic in Seattle”) and a drop-in comics workshop, in the HSL Pacific Room on November 14 from 1:00 – 4:00. 

Can’t make it to Seattle to see the exhibit in person?  There are some great online instruction materials using the exhibit: one on mental health for grades 7-10, and one for college-level and adult audiences. There’s even an online exhibit collection to peruse!  Last but not least, the exhibition is booked through 2022– check here to see if it may be coming to a city near you! 

Categories: RML Blogs

NLM Traveling Exhibits – An Opportunity for PNR Network Members

Thu, 2018-11-01 18:24

The National Library of Medicine Exhibition Program creates lively and informative exhibitions and resources that enhance awareness of and appreciation for the collection and health information resources of the National Library of Medicine. In a new initiative, several NLM exhibitions are being made available exclusively to NNLM member organizations. These exhibitions are designed to engage diverse audiences about a variety of topics in the history of medicine. Lesson plans and other resources are included in the online content of each exhibit.

Until December 15, 2018, NNLM PNR members are invited to sign up to host an exhibition, for a 6-week booking period of your first or second choice from January 2019 through April 2021. (Note: you must be an NNLM PNR member to sign up.  However, if your organization is not a member yet, it is easy to join).

Some important details:

  • Exhibition availability varies – dates are available from January 2019 until April 2021.
  • Selecting from a set itinerary of 6-week booking periods, you can designated your preferred booking period, and NLM will try to accommodate your request.
  • Each host will be responsible for the cost and arrangements for outgoing shipping from their location to the next host of the exhibit. FEDEX 3-day super saver service is the required shipping method. For those without a FEDEX account, another reliable service such as UPS or DHL may be used as long as it meets the 3-day service with tracking.
  • NLM will provide support to those hosting by providing exhibitor resources as well as outgoing shipping information to let host venues know where and when to ship the exhibition to the next host venue. Host institutions will be required to complete a brief survey about their experience hosting the exhibit.

Want to know a little more about hosting a traveling exhibit? Watch the NNLM Resource Picks webinar session, “Making the Most of Your National Library of Medicine Traveling Banner Exhibition”.

This is a great opportunity to have first dibs on booking one of the NLM traveling exhibits.  Please feel free to contact Carolyn Martin, NNLM PNR Consumer Health Coordinator, if you have any questions!

Categories: RML Blogs

Reading is Healthy! Introducing the NNLM Reading Club

Wed, 2018-10-31 21:00

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, downloadable materials designed to help promote and facilitate a book club discussion on a health issue or topic. It’s easy to download the ready-to-use book club 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, MedlinePlus 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 mailed to the requesting library.

Any U.S. library, which 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. Priority is given to those libraries who intend to use the Book Club Kit in their outreach to vulnerable communities.

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

Data Flash: RIP PubMed Health

Sun, 2018-10-28 17:20

This is not exactly a data post, but, the loss of a trusted source for clinical effectiveness research will have its effects on the dataverse.  PubMed Health is being discontinued as of this coming Wednesday.  As any of my colleagues can tell you, I’m taking the loss of PubMed Health hard– I loved showing it to people at various conferences, and using it myself– I found it a wonderful mid-point between and, and it also had some great methodology resources and a glossary.  All of its content will be findable in other ways though!

In thinking about how to proceed in future with finding clinical effectiveness research searching, I did some exploring and gathered my findings into a poster I presented recently at the Washington State Public Health Association conference.  Below, in list form, is the poster content–feel free to contact me at glusker (AT) if you have any questions! And please send any suggestions for additions to these lists!

Check Out These Ways to Find Research on Clinical Effectiveness:

  • has filters for systematic reviews and guidelines
  • Who cares? Seek out the organizations that care about the topic (Kids? American Academy of Pediatrics!)
  • If you or your local health sciences library have databases, check them out—for example, nursing database CINAHL has great content
  • NLM’s “Bookshelf” is becoming a good resource for guidelines
  • The National Guidelines Clearinghouse will soon be re-released by ECRI and they have said it will be open access!
  • records often link to related publications
  • For public health—try and NICHSR OneSearch (a federated search of four public health databases)

Ramp Up Your Google Search Skills! 

  • Try this string, created by P.F. Anderson for a recent Twitter chat: guidelines|white-paper|standards|report|protocol| procedure|policy filetype:pdf (site:org OR site:gov) [fill in the condition])
  • Try GoogleScholar (

Search for Content from Reliable Guideline/Content Contributors (the Ones PubMed Health used):

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US) (AHRQ)
  • Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH)
  • Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD)
  • Cochrane
  • Department of Veterans Affairs’ Evidence-based Synthesis Program from the Veterans Health Administration R&D (VA ESP)
  • German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG)
  • Knowledge Centre for the Health Services at The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH)
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines program (NICE)
  • National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme (NIHR HTA)
  • Oregon Health and Science University’s Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP)
  • Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment (SBU)
  • The TRIP database (TRIP)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)


Categories: RML Blogs

The Winding Career Path of One Medical Librarian

Thu, 2018-10-25 13:28

As many of us know, it’s medical librarian month, and a colleague said to me, “You’ve had a pretty winding career path— you should write a post about it!”  So, here goes…

My first medical librarian connection wasn’t officially as a librarian at all, but as the data request epidemiologist for Public Health – Seattle & King County.  People from all walks of life and for all sorts of purposes would contact me to get help with finding data… and those consultations included teaching, consulting, exploring, and sometimes a lot of laughter.  From the gentleman who wanted to know his own life expectancy (luckily he had 10 more years) to other health departments who wanted analytic software trainings, the work was never dull! But it also didn’t generate revenue for the health department, so as that job contracted, I looked for ways to keep connecting with people around their information needs.

Reader, I went to library school! And loved it!  What took me so long?  But also, how could it take so long to find a job?  Because I needed to stay in Seattle, I was ready to take any librarian job, but was really glad when a medically-focused one opened up at Group Health (now Kaiser Permanente- Washington).   The three years I spent there were invaluable and exciting— I got good at clinical searching, I came to understand the information clinicians needed and the constraints they operate under, and I also managed a small library as a solo librarian, with two amazing staff members who were its lifeblood.  I didn’t think a first job as a solo was a great idea, but if you work with the right people and if they are open to teaching you (and you are open to learning) it actually can be a great way to start.

Unfortunately, they started laying off workers, and a library reorganization did occur, which led me to my next job, at The Seattle Public Library.  All consumers, all the time!  I dove into consumer health with glee, and really enjoyed it.   I was able to create a staff intranet page with information to help staff who got questions from patrons about what the ACA was, how to enroll, etc. (the first year had been chaotic for everyone, so it was a time to integrate lessons learned).  I also preached the gospel of to anyone who would listen, hosted programs, and absorbed the public library world’s quirky and intense vibe.  I imagined myself there for the long term, but then I saw the announcement for my current job, and said a long OHHHHHH out loud—it looked as though it was written for me, connecting my data geek past and my librarian present.

Now I am an outreach librarian for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (I also call myself a meta-librarian, since I am a librarian for librarians!).  I work to promote the resources of the NLM across a five-state region, which means I travel, teach, craft blog posts and Facebook posts and tweets, edit Wikipedia, and more.  The best part is that learning is built into this job, and as a life-long learner I revel in being able to take classes in everything from graphic medicine to genetics.  So, in the end, although my path seems winding and a little bit unfocused, it was the natural result of following my (librarianship) nose.  I have also found that Allen Smith was right when he said: “In order to be really good as a librarian, everything counts towards your work, every play you go see, every concert you hear, every trip you take, everything you read, everything you know. I don’t know of another occupation like that. The more you know, the better you’re going to be.”

P.S.  This picture is not of me!  But I like her intensity.

Categories: RML Blogs

National Library of Medicine Associate Fellowship Program- webinar

Wed, 2018-10-10 04:13

The next PNR Rendezvous session will feature a current National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow, Shannon Sheridan. Shannon is currently in the optional second year of the program and is working at the Hahnemann Library at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Shannon will be giving an overview of the NLM Associate Fellowship Program as well as telling us about her own experience.

The NLM Associate Fellowship Program originally began as the NLM Internship Program in 1957 and have a brief hiatus, it was renamed the NLM Associate Fellowship Program in 1966. Fellows work at the National Library of Medicine which is located on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The first year program includes 2 phases, one with a curriculum focus through experts at NLM and then an opportunity to work on projects focused study, research, and evaluation of NLM resources and services. Many National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) staff have been fellows including Lisa Boyd, Jessi Van Der Volgen, and Kate Flewelling along with many of our colleagues across the country.

We encourage attendees to come with questions whether for their own knowledge or to pass on to future health science librarians. This is a fantastic experience and the application process is now open until January 25, 2019 for the 2019 – 2020 program year.

PNR Rendezvous webinar session: In the Shoes of a Fellow: The National Library of Medicine’s Associate Fellowship Program

Session summary: The National Library of Medicine Associate Fellowship Program is a one-year postgraduate training fellowship at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in Bethesda, Maryland, with an optional second year component. The program is designed to provide a broad foundation in health sciences information services, and to prepare librarians for future leadership roles in health sciences libraries and in health services research. In this PNR Rendezvous webinar, a current Associate Fellow will discuss the organization of the program, her experiences as an Associate Fellow, and some of the projects she and other fellows worked on.

When: Wednesday, October 17 starting at 1:00 PM Pacific Time, Noon Alaska Time, 2:00 PM MT

How to join: Registration is encouraged though not required. More information is available on our webpage

The session will be recorded.

Categories: RML Blogs

Announcing NNLM PNR funding support to attend ALA Midwinter preconference on Health Equity and Health Literacy

Thu, 2018-10-04 16:43

The ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services, the Public Library Association, and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Northwest Region are pleased to host the preconference Implicit Bias, Health Disparities and Health Literacy: Intersections in Health Equity at ALA Midwinter in Seattle, WA on January 25, 2019 from 9am to noon at the Washington State Convention Center. 

This highly informative and interactive preconference will explore interventions and practices that contribute to reducing health disparities and promote health equity. Through insightful presentations, self-reflection and group discussions, participants will learn how libraries can deepen their work in health literacy to ensure a lasting impact for improving the health of their community. 

Thanks to support from the All of Us Research Program, librarians from NNLM PNR member organizations in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington are eligible for a Professional Development Award to attend the preconference. If your organization is not currently a member, it’s easy to join!

Eligible costs for a Professional Development Award up to $2,000 include the preconference ticketed event for Implicit Bias, Health Disparities and Health Literacy: Intersections in Health Equity, plus registration for the ALA Midwinter meeting, plus transportation, meals and lodging costs. 

Awards will be made on a first-come, first-serve basis until Friday, January 4, 2019.  Submit your Professional Development Award application today!

Categories: RML Blogs

October is Health Literacy Month!

Tue, 2018-10-02 21:00

It’s October – Health Literacy month. We’ve still much work ahead to improve how we deliver actionable health information for the nine out of ten U.S. adults who struggle to understand it. We know health literacy is complex and multi-faceted. It involves demands by the healthcare system which often surpass people’s ability to comprehend and appropriately respond to those demands in order to support personal well-being. This month is a good reminder that low health literacy has real-world consequences, since it’s well documented that individuals with low health literacy suffer poorer health outcomes. And it is precisely this aspect – that low health literacy worsens health disparities among the most vulnerable populations – which makes addressing this persistent challenge so compelling.

Health Literacy Month highlights the importance of doing our part to make health information understandable and actionable. We can do much to promote health literacy within our communities, from offering choices of health information resources that are easy-to-read, available in other languages, or are offered in an audio or visual format, to hosting health programming that responds to community health needs. Such programs create a non-threatening way to learn about a health concern or perhaps learn new skills to help improve personal health and well-being. Inserting a health module into adult basic education or ESOL classes is another viable approach that is typically well-received by participants. NNLM’s current funding opportunities which are open through October 24, 2018, offer public libraries, or those health libraries or organizations with a public library partnership, the support needed to test a health literacy approach within the community.

To show your support for health literacy, NNLM and ALA continue to partner through the Libraries Transform Health Literacy public awareness campaign by offering a free Health Literacy Toolkit. The Toolkit, which requires signing up for a free account, features a selection of health literacy posters, bookmarks and program ideas. To help amplify this message, NNLM PNR is now making the Libraries Transform Health Literacy posters available free to its members. The posters offer thought-provoking “Because” statements; for example, “Because Libraries are Partners in a Healthy Community.” And indeed, we are.  Order your poster(s) today!

Categories: RML Blogs

Data Flash: Who doesn’t love going to the fair?

Fri, 2018-09-28 05:45

In this case, a free, online DATA FAIR!  Next week, October 1 through 5, ICPSR (the international data consortium/data archive/data education and research organization) will be holding the 2018 ICPSR Data Fair .  The number of offerings is impressive, and there’s enough variety that there’s something for everyone—diversity and inclusion, training, sharing, tools, and more.  You register for each session individually (but don’t forget the Tweetchats!).   Best of all, no costs for registration or travel!

And, if online learning and participation is appealing, you might also consider involving your library or organization in International Open Access Week, October 22-28.  You can share a blog post about your open access “successes, challenges and ideas”, and see what others are doing around the world.

Last but not least, let us know if you come across other opportunities like this that our Pacific Northwest colleagues might be interested in–we’re always happy to spread the word!

Categories: RML Blogs

“Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles” Guest Essay

Tue, 2018-09-25 21:01

One of the more popular courses we at the NNLM offer is called “Big Data in Healthcare: Exploring Emerging Roles“.  This nation-wide course “explains the role big data plays in clinical patient outcomes, explains current/potential roles in which librarians are supporting big data initiatives, and illustrates the fundamentals of big data from a systems perspective”.  The assignments in the course build over the nine weeks until the participants can use them as the basis for a final essay.  The essays are really wonderful thought-pieces both about how librarians can enter the big data world, and about how the participants themselves see that world differently after having taken the course.

And then we in the NNLM regions post the essays from those in our regions who wrote them!  In our most recent offering there were no participants from the Pacific Northwest Region, but Luz Crespo from the Southeastern Atlantic region has graciously allowed us to post her final essay here.   Enjoy!

“Big Data and the Role for Health Science Librarians” by Luz Crespo

As health science librarians get involved with big data, they develop the skills that can assist end-users. Librarians who learn about the processes of big data can evaluate how data originate, how the amount of data is constantly being produced for larger capacities, and generally how it works. It is interesting to learn that data can be accessed from various resources. Librarians learning about big data can comprehend how the information is accessed, obtained, accumulated and the formats that initiate this process. For example, clinicians may insert a wide variety of data that may include patient demographics, which then can be accessed in the patient’s electronic health record (the digital format versus paper documentation). Health professionals are able to access the patient information quickly and find health diagnoses and health documentation; such as the patient’s medical history, current conditions, and lab results to determine the patient’s quality of care.

Where I work, the Electronic Health Record (EHR) is the system that is used within the facility. Though I do not have access to this software, I am confident that as technology continues to improve,  medical librarians who are knowledgeable with these types of software can achieve the skills to communicate, connect and educate healthcare professionals that need assistance within the healthcare system. The EHR is used strictly for healthcare professionals.. Earlier in this course, it was interesting to learn that the Metro Health System was one of the first to utilize the EHR. I’m not sure how medical librarians would have access to the EHR since the HIPAA policy is established to protect the patient information.

Dr. Brennan’s presentation on the BD2K engages individuals to comprehend that data sciences, providing the tools and training, can allow individuals the awareness to communicate and learn the techniques that permits them to better serve others in locating information, which can make a difference, for example, for, researchers who are needing assistance in this area. I agree with Tara Douglas-Williams on the importance of nurses actively contributing in big data initiatives across various health care systems. She expressed how Dr. Brennan is an advocate in assisting librarians in building data science relationships. There is an old saying, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” (Aristotle, from The Nicomachean Ethics). This illustrates that as information professionals or librarians it is important to adapt and learn the skills that provide the tools that can assist others with their life-long learning.

In my opinion, health sciences librarians that fulfill the goal to gain knowledge and gather the information that is needed to support researchers and healthcare professionals can succeed in meeting the needs of the end-users and surrounding community. Overall, learning about big data  allowed me to see the big picture and how it can benefit me as a new librarian, and how I can share what I have learned with others.

Categories: RML Blogs

Building Trust in Biomedical Research- upcoming PNR Rendezvous

Mon, 2018-09-17 11:11

Understanding research isn’t always easy and often there is a disconnect between the research being done and how that applies to healthcare and to us as individuals. For some, trust in biomedical research can be tenuous but it is critically important that we, the public, know the science and become informed.

Join us for our next PNR Rendezvous webinar to learn what one regional organization is doing as they work towards building public trust in biomedical research.

When: Wednesday September 19, 1:00pm PT, noon Alaska, 2:00pm MT

PNR Rendezvous session title: Community Conversations that Build Trust in Biomedical Research

Session Summary: Public trust in biomedical research is critical to ensure public support and translation into medical advances. The mission of Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR) is to promote the public’s trust in biomedical research and its ethical conduct. NWABR’s informal science education and professional development programs address falling public trust in biomedical research. During this webinar, you will learn about NWABR’s cornerstone public outreach program, the Community Conversation Series. Community Conversations, located in Seattle & Spokane, WA and Portland, OR, tackle issues in biomedical research and their relationship with ethics and society. They are a model for public learning and discussion that encourage directional rather than binary thinking and seek to build trust. Community Conversations can be replicated or modified to suit your organization’s programming and goals.
The presenters will also provide an overview of their student and professional programs that support the “S” and “T” in STEM.
At the conclusion of this webinar  you will have some new ideas about how you might more deeply engage your stakeholders in STEM.

How to join: Registration is encouraged though not required.  Complete information on how to join the webinar is on the session web page 

The session will be recorded and posted on the website.

Categories: RML Blogs

STDs on the Rise

Mon, 2018-09-10 15:29

Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported the dramatic increase of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S.  In fact, for the fourth year in a row the numbers have continued to rise. Among the rise, specific sexually transmitted diseases include:

  • gonorrhea has been diagnosed in 555,608 cases in preliminary 2017 data (an increase of 67%  from 2013)
  • syphilis has been diagnosed in 30,644 cases (an increase of 76% from 2013)
  • chlamydia was reported with more than 1.7 million cases in 2017

These three diseases can be treated with antibiotics but gonorrhea has become antibiotic resistant over the years with only one antibiotic remaining effective, ceftriaxone. Many cases go undiagnosed or untreated which can lead to even more cases, infertility, stillbirths, and an increase in HIV.

Though a number of factors contribute to this increase of STDs , stigma can be a big factor. Sexual issues, especially sexual diseases, often carry the added issues of embarrassment, stigma, and privacy concerns. This is especially true in smaller towns and rural areas where social networks and fewer healthcare options can make confidentiality difficult. An NPR story highlights the difficulty public health officials face in Clackamas County Oregon.

Libraries, especially public libraries, can start the conversation by providing information on social media, brochures, and web links. If available, collaborating with local health professionals and public health, and community agencies can provide additional support.

Here are some freely available and authoritative resources you or your patrons may find helpful as they seek treatment and additional information regarding STDs.

Categories: RML Blogs

Announcing New Funding Opportunities for Public Libraries

Mon, 2018-09-10 12:40

image of a coin

Under cooperative agreement with the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), and in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program, the NNLM PNR is pleased to request proposals for a new round of funding opportunities for projects involving public libraries.  NNLM PNR public library member organizations in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington are eligible to apply. If your organization is not currently a member, it’s easy to join!

Proposals submitted by Wednesday, October 24, 2018 will receive fullest consideration.

If you plan to submit a proposal, we need a brief statement of intent no later than Wednesday, October 3. Please submit your statement of intent to apply to

Keep reading to find brief descriptions and links to detailed information about current funding opportunities.

All of Us Research Program Community Health Outreach Award, 2 or more awards up to $12,000 each.

The purpose of this award is to improve access and use of quality health information for informed decisions about health in underserved communities; to support libraries in developing health literacy projects; and to increase awareness of the NIH All of Us Research Program.

Possible ideas for projects include:

  • Using community health needs assessments and the expertise and community reach of library partnerships to co-create an actionable and sustainable plan with library specific offerings that address health priorities and support health literacy.
  • Creating programs and services to increase health literacy focused on the importance of heredity, biology and environment for health.
  • Developing and offering resources and programming related to the National Health Observances identified as a priority by the All of Us Research Program.
  • Creating programs and services to develop knowledge of citizen science.
  • Symposia, or educational events for librarians about health literacy and the skills to identify, access, retrieve, evaluate, and use relevant electronic health information resources in addition to other approaches for consumer health education.
  • Train-the-Trainer projects that enhance the skills of library/organization staff and other consumer health information intermediaries to train a target population on locating and evaluating health information.
  • Promotional activities, including health fairs, exhibits and events to increase awareness and use of electronic resources, including NLM resources and the All of Us Research Program.

All of Us Research Program Technology Improvement Award, 5 or more awards up to $5,000 each.

This award seeks to enhance the capacity of a library to offer electronic health information services to underserved audiences by supporting the purchase, installation, and/or upgrading of hardware and software.

Potential projects may include the following (other creative ideas are encouraged):

  • Upgrading equipment in a computer lab or learning center to facilitate hands-on computer-based instruction.
  • Establishing a mobile workstation (i.e. with laptop, printer, and projector on a rolling cart) to be used when providing information services outside of the library.
  • Creating unique Web-based health information literacy tutorials, learning modules, mobile applications or data mashups.
  • Developing digital literacy tutorials, programs or services especially designed to meet the needs of underserved populations.
  • Installing adaptive hardware and software to better enable individuals with disabilities to access computer-based health information.
  • Installing or improving wireless internet in the library.

Also, if you are interested in support for continuing education, consider applying for a Professional Development Award, to expand professional knowledge and encourage state of the art services for consumers seeking health information.

For information on writing a proposal, watch the recording of a special webinar held on Thursday, July 12 at 1pm Pacific Time. The webinar featured Cathy Burroughs, NNLM PNR Associate Director, who gave an overview of the NNLM PNR funding program,  plus 3 special guests who share their tips and inspiring project ideas, having successfully applied for NNLM PNR funding in the past.

We want to fund good ideas and hope to see proposals from all states of the NNLM PNR!

If you have a question, please drop us a line ( We welcome all questions and input.

Categories: RML Blogs

September is National Preparedness Month

Tue, 2018-08-28 03:00

September is National Preparedness Month and provides an opportunity to remind us that we all must prepare ourselves and our families now and throughout the year. This NPM will focus on planning, with an overarching theme: Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.

National Preparedness Month logo

Take time to learn lifesaving skills − such as CPR and first aid, check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face, such as flood, earthquakes, and tornadeos. Make sure to consider the costs associated with disasters and save for an emergency. Also, know how to take practical safety steps like shutting off water and gas. has provided weekly themes throughout the month of September including the National Day of Action on September 15. Videos, social media, graphics are all provided to help you and your communities to be better prepared in advance.

Here are this year’s weekly themes:

  • Week 1: Sept 1-8           Make and Practice Your Plan
  • Week 2: Sept 9-15         Learn Life Saving Skills
  • Week 3: Sept 16-22       Check Your Insurance Coverage
  • Week 4: Sept 23-29       Save For an Emergency

In addition, provides information for youth to know that they too can play an important role before and during a disaster and MedlinePlus has you covered for both preparation and recovery.

Categories: RML Blogs