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Award Report: Providing Access to Electronic Resources and Library Services for the Institute for Family Health–Columbia University Medical Center

This project, funded via an NN/LM MAR Outreach to Unaffiliated Health Professionals Award, focused on building a collaborative relationship between the Columbia University Medical Center Health Sciences Library (CUMC) and the Institute for Family Health (IFH), a federally qualified health clinic in New York City.  The physicians, nurses, and other health professionals at IFH lack direct access to high-quality electronic health sciences information, especially in the current periodical literature, as well as training on utilizing these resources and finding quality health information online.  An NN/LM MAR resource library, CUMC licenses a rich collection of electronic resources and has a full complement of health sciences librarians on staff.  Given this, the two primary goals of the project were as follows:

  1. Publisher negotiation: CUMC would approach publishers to negotiate a license agreement that would allow IFH to have access to CUMC licensed electronic resources at IFH sites.
  2. Reference and education services:   Reference and instruction librarians from CUMC would provide remote training (at an hourly rate) on resources that IFH staff can access through the publisher agreements.

The initial plan was to obtain many journals from one or two vendors and to gauge usage of those materials.  Instead, CUMC developed a survey for IFH staff that would enable CUMC to pursue access for highly desirable resources based on user needs.  After completion of the user survey, it was clear that IFH personnel uniformly requested access to four major journals: New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), American Family Physician, and American Journal of Public Health (AJPH). Ultimately, only the American Academy of Physicians was willing to discount American Family Physician significantly in recognition of the needs of IFH staff.  CUMC also purchased JAMA, NEJM, AJPH, The American Journal of Nursing, Social Work in Health Care, and Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved for access by IFH, but prices were near retail. Evaluation of the resources will be based on usage statistics gathers after six months and one year of use.  In a further effort to provide access to the periodical literature, CUMC also entered into an agreement to provide Loansome Doc services for IFH staff.

A total of ten training sessions were completed during the award period, with a total of 100 people attending.  All sessions were conducted virtually by CUMC librarians and dealt with the use of free and fee-based online resources.  The sessions were conducted using the GoToWebinar software and were recorded for future posting on the New York State Area Health Education Center website:

Michael Koehn
Columbia University Medical Center
Health Sciences Library

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