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Health Information Outreach at PCOM

By Carol Stukey
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
Chicago, IL

The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) Library recently finished its Health Information Outreach to Community Partners project. Generously funded as an Outreach Express award by the NN/LM Greater Midwest Region, the project involved presentations to established PCOM community partners on health information resources from NLM and NIH.

The award funded the purchase of a laptop, projector, and portable projector screen, as well as digitizing hardware and software.  The presentations ranged from informal to formal, and the audience size varied from one to nearly seventy.  Presentations were well received; I really banged the drum for MedlinePlus and other pertinent NLM sites.

The following partners participated: Alternative Medicine for Veterans Project, Chicago Women’s Health Center, American Indian Center, and Project Vida. I had hoped also to present at a local women’s shelter but PCOM no longer has a relationship with the shelter, and my phone and email inquiries went unanswered.  I was able to get wireless internet except in one case, which was OK, because I prudently had a PowerPoint back-up ready. I also learned that when traveling to a new venue to be prepared! In addition to a back-up PowerPoint, pack an extension cord and dress in layers. When working with community based organizations, if strapped for time, concentrate on MedlinePlus and lead to other resources from it.

For each presentation, I had an annotated handout of websites with URLs, and supplemented the give-aways with brochures from NN/LM.  Most of the formal presentations lasted about 30 minutes, but I had an hour at Project Vida, which serves the Hispanic community and is very involved with persons with AIDS/HIV.  I was able to show staff  PubMed and PubMedCentral resources.  Invariably, staff members were impressed with the quality of NLM and NIH freely available resources.  An added bonus of  “getting out there” to these partners was to solidify PCOM’s relationship with them, and, in at least one case, there was a request for me to come back to give the presentation to new staff incoming in the spring.

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