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Archive for the ‘Disaster / Emergency Preparedness’ Category

Disaster Information Roles in Humanitarian Response

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Recently two blog posts were published on the various roles humanitarians play during disasters.  Both of these posts provide details of work done by humanitarians that make use of disaster information management skills.  One post includes an infographic that details the types of skills a humanitarian data scientist needs, such as data management, humanitarian business, information management and more.  This post ends with a link to free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that corresponded to the skills listed in the infographic.

The second posts focused on the work digital humanitarians are doing in the response to the Ebola outbreak including verifying, updating and geo-tagging mapping data.  Take a few moments to read these blog posts, and consider how your skills fit with this work.

Are You Ready? Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Health Information Resources for Families and the Community

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Presenter:  Michelle Burda, Network & Advocacy Coordinator, NN/LM MAR

Date / Time:  February 20th / 2 – 3 pm (ET)


Summary:  This class covers NLM disaster health information and other emergency preparedness resources for family, friends and caregivers.  Resources for special populations and those with special needs are highlighted.  Audience: consumers, public and consumer health librarians, pre-hospital responders, health care professionals, first-responders or disaster preparedness administrators.  1 MLA CE.

Measles and Vaccinations

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Fifteen years ago, measles was considered eliminated from the United States. However, in recent weeks the number of people infected with measles has gone up to 78 since an outbreak in California’s Disneyland.  In 2014 alone there were 644 reported cases in the United States. Many of those infected were never vaccinated for various reasons.  One of the primary reasons is parent’s fear or concerns regarding the measles vaccine.  Many people may not realize the devastating effects measles can have and therefore do not fear the disease but tend to fear the vaccine due to hearing about possible side effects and reports of its link to Autism which more recent research has disputed

According to the Center for Disease Control, measles is a very contagious disease.  It remains active in the air and on surfaces up to 2 hours.  Generally, symptoms appear about 7-14 days after exposure and often with cough, runny nose, fever, and watery eyes.  Two to three days after first symptoms begin, white spots appear inside the mouth. Following that, a rash begins, starting at the head and spreading down to the rest of the body, usually appearing about 3-5 days from the first signs of being sick.  Serious complications from measles can include pneumonia and encephalitis, which can lead to long-term deafness or brain damage. There is no known cure for measles.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Family  Physicians highly recommend that children get the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine at age 12 to 15 months and again at 4 to 6 years.  This two dose method is considered the best method in protecting against measles, mumps, and rubella.

The most common side effects of the MMR vaccine are fever and a mild rash. The MMR, like any substance, can have side effects some of which can be serious.  However, the risks of serious side effects is very small.  The effects of measles is much more dangerous.

For more information and questions about measles and the MMR vaccine:

  • Contact your local or state health department
  • Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
  • MedlinePlus page on the MMR vaccine or measles
  • CDC page on the MMR vaccine or measles

It is important to keep records of vaccinations.  This information is often needed for school, sports, travel, and child care.  Keeping track of vaccinations is made easier with the CDC charts for children from birth to 6 years old and a chart for children ages 7-18 as well as general vaccination information for parents.

NLM Teleconference to Report on RFI and New Funding Mechanism for 2016-2021

Monday, January 26th, 2015

In May 2014, the National Library of Medicine posted a Request for Information (RFI) asking for ideas on how the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) ( can more effectively and efficiently provide equal access to biomedical information and improve an individual’s access to health information.  Based on the feedback from nearly 50 respondents and a review of historical data related to the program, NLM will change the award mechanism for the 2016-2021 Regional Medical Libraries’ cycle from contracts to cooperative agreements.  This type of funding mechanism will allow NLM to participate more fully in the work of the RMLs and better coordinate collaborative programs and projects.  A Notice of Intent was published on the NIH Grants & Funding site on January 22, 2015.

Join NLM in a teleconference to hear about the responses to the RFI and learn about Cooperative Agreements:

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015 / 4 pm (ET)
  • Teleconference Number:  1-888-450-5996
  • Participant Passcode: 662939

The world’s largest biomedical library, the National Library of Medicine maintains and makes available a vast print collection and produces electronic information resources on a wide range of topics that are searched billions of times each year by millions of people around the globe. It also supports and conducts research, development and training in biomedical informatics and health information technology.

UN Releases Ebola-Info Sharing App

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

The United Nations International Telecommunication Union has released the “Ebola-Info-Sharing” mobile App. The app offers access to the latest Ebola news from official sources, including an interactive map on Ebola. It also facilitates coordination among organizations responding to the Ebola crisis through a password protected feature that allows users to store and share useful contact information and participate in a discussion forum.


Link to Google Play:

Ring in 2015 with 8 MLA CEs, a Project Plan, and MAR Funding to Make it Happen!

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

MAR invites applications for our next round of funding opportunities which are due March 13, 2015.  Funding is designed to support our network members, as well as to encourage outreach activities aligned with the NN/LM mission to provide all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information, and improve the public’s access to information so they can make informed decisions about their health.

Libraries, information centers, health centers, community- and faith-based organizations, and others providing health information services are encouraged to apply for a variety of awards that:

  • improve health information services
  • increase awareness and access to biomedical information
  • educate and empower consumers to make informed decisions about their health
  • prepare librarians and staff to meet the needs and challenges of the changing healthcare environment

To coincide with this new round of funding, MAR has teamed up with Outreach and Evaluation expert, Cindy Olney, from the NN/LM Outreach and Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) to offer a 4-part webinar series, eligible for up to 8 MLA CEs.

Mapping an Outreach Project:  Start with Information; End with a Plan is designed for anyone who wants to garner support, financial or otherwise, for a new project or service.  You will learn how assessment and evaluation can be effective tools for project planning and proposal writing.  Assessment enables you to gather compelling information about the need and viability of your project.  It also helps you build relationships with potential partners.  Adding evaluation methods to your program plan helps you “begin with the end in mind,” making desired results the centerpiece of your project proposal.  This class will elaborate on information contained in the OERC Planning and Evaluation booklets.

  • Webinar 1:  January 12:  Noon-1:00 pm

Know the factors that influence people to adopt new ideas and technology so you can choose the best strategies for your project

  • Webinar 2:  January 14:  Noon-1:00 pm

Gather information about your target audience that is most effective for planning your project

  • Webinar 3:  January 26:  Noon-1:00 pm

Use a project-planning tool that allows you to logically link resources and activities to desired results

  • Webinar 4:  January 28:  Noon-1:00 pm

Incorporate evaluation into your project and understand how your plan can be expanded into a full project proposal

These classes will be followed by a special 2-hour Grants and Proposal Writing course, offered online February 2nd / 10 am – Noon.

These classes will focus special attention on applications for MAR funding.  However, information presented is relevant to many types of outreach and project proposals.

NLM Resource Update: TOXNET Now Provides Permalinks to Individual Records

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

TOXNET is a group of databases covering chemicals and drugs, diseases and the environment, environmental health, occupational safety and health, poisoning, risk assessment and regulations, and toxicology TOXNET includes the Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB) which provides toxicity data for over 5,700 potentially hazardous chemicals. HSDB also has information on emergency handling procedures, industrial hygiene, environmental fate, human exposure, detection methods, and regulatory requirements. HSDB is one of the features of WISER, the Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders

Permanent links to National Library of Medicine (NLM) TOXNET records are now provided for HSDB as well as TOXLINE, LactMed, Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology Database (DART), Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD), Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), International Toxicity Estimates for Risk (ITER), Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System (CCRIS), and GENE-TOX.

To create a permanent link, click on the “Permalink” button found in the upper right of a TOXNET record. This provides a pop-up window with a URL to share or to save for retrieving the record at a later time.

TFAH Releases Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Disease 2014

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) are pleased to share with you a new report, Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases 2014.  The report finds the Ebola outbreak exposes serious underlying gaps in the nation’s ability to manage severe infectious disease threats.

Over the last decade, we have seen dramatic improvements in state and local capacity to respond to outbreaks and emergencies.  But we also saw during the recent Ebola outbreak that some of the most basic infectious disease controls failed when tested. Some key findings from the report include progress and gaps in the areas of:

Preparing for Emerging Threats:  Significant advances have been made in preparing for public health emergencies since the September 11, 2001 and subsequent anthrax attacks, but gaps remain and have been exacerbated as resources have been cut over time.

Vaccinations:  More than 2 million preschoolers, 35 percent of seniors and a majority of adults do not receive all recommended vaccinations.

Healthcare-Associated Infections:  While healthcare-associated infections have declined in recent years due to stronger prevention policies, around one out of every 25 people who are hospitalized each year still contracts a healthcare-associated infection.

Sexually Transmitted Infections and Related Disease Treatment and Prevention:  The number of new HIV infections grew by 22 percent among young gay men, and 48 percent among young Black men (between 2008 and 2010); more than one-third of gonorrhea cases are now antibiotic-resistant; and nearly three million Baby Boomers are infected with hepatitis C, the majority of whom do not know they have it.

Food Safety:  Around 48 million Americans suffer from a foodborne illness each year.

The Outbreaks report recommends that it is time to rethink and modernize the health system to better match existing and emerging global disease threats.  Priority improvements should include:

Core Abilities:  Every state should be able to meet a set of core capabilities and there must be sufficient, sustained funding to support these capabilities. Some basic capabilities include: investigative expertise, including surveillance systems that can identify and track threats and communicate across the health system and strong laboratory capacity; containment strategies, including vaccines and medicines; continued training and testing for hospitals and health departments for infection control and emergency preparedness; risk communications capabilities that inform the public without creating unnecessary fear; and maintaining a strong research capacity to develop new vaccines and medical treatments.

Healthcare and Public Health Integration:  Systems must be improved so the healthcare system, hospitals and public health agencies work better together toward the common goals of protecting patients, healthcare workers and the public; and

Leadership and Accountability:  Stronger leadership is needed for a government-wide approach to health threats at the federal, state and local levels, and there must be increased support for integration and flexibility of programs in exchange for demonstration of capabilities and accountability.

The full report and state-by-state materials are available on TFAH’s website at and on RWJF’s website at If you have any questions or would like to schedule a briefing on the report, please contact TFAH’s Senior Government Relations Manager, Dara Lieberman, at or 202-864-5942.

Ebola in Context: New Free Online Course

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

January 19, 2015

Two weeks / 6 hours per week

This two-week asynchronous free interdisciplinary course looks at the science behind the Ebola outbreak to understand why it has occurred on this scale and how it can be controlled. This course is designed for healthcare professionals or anyone working in a health organization; undergraduate students taking a healthcare or science-related degree; medical students and postgraduates wishing to complement their studies; and anyone else with a keen interest in the science behind Ebola.


Free Access to Ebola Special Issue

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal continues to provide free access to all articles in the Ebola special issue. The journal is still receiving papers, which will be published as soon as possible after review. Intending authors can submit their manuscripts online. A print version will be made available in Spring 2015.