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Archive for June, 2009

The Social Life of Health Information

Monday, June 29th, 2009

According to the latest study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, “Americans’ pursuit of health takes place within a widening network of both online and offline sources.” This June 2009 report highlights health information seeking behavior of American adults. The summary of findings show that:

  • 61 % of American adults look online for health information
  • American adults continue to turn to traditional sources of health information, even as many of them deepen their engagement with the online world
  • the social life of health information is robust
  • a majority of e-patients access user-generated health information
  • social networking sites are used only sparingly for health queries and updates
  • online health inquiries have an impact on decisions or actions and there are clearly more positive experiences than negative ones
  • Internet users report a surge of interest in information about exercise and fitness
  • Change is coming, whether through the spread of wireless devices or generational shifts.

The facts that I found most interesting in this report are the following:

  • People polled about all the sources they turn to for health information responded they turn to a health professional (86%), a friend or family member (68%), the internet (57%), books or other printed material (54%), insurance provider (33%) or another source (5%).  I think this has important implications for libraries and the provision of health information to consumers.  We need to be aware that more times than not consumers are asking a question for a loved one.  Also, note that the Internet is a more popular source than print by only 3 %.  The provision of patient education resources to care providers by medical libraries is essential as the number one source people are seeking health information is a health professional!  The Information Rx is one way libraries can help to bring information directly to the patient via the care provider while raising  further awareness of other resources available from the library.
  • I also found it important that health consumers are seeking tailored information to find a “just in time some one like me” story.  This speaks to the importance of social support for chronic conditions and new diagnosis.  Medical librarians can help consumers find this information by providing sources like this on their library site or sharing this kind of patient information in a tailored format for health providers.
  • The most powerful finding of this report is that online inquiries have a positive impact on decisions and actions.  Six out of every ten e-patients said they had an impact on their health or the health of someone they care for.  Of these e-patients, 60% say the information found online affected a decision about how to treat an illness or condition.  56% said it changed their overall approach to maintaining their health or the health or someone they take care of.  53% said it helped them to ask a doctor new questions.
  • The surge in interest about exercise and fitness is an opportunity for focused outreach.  It showed more growth than any other health topic.  Something to think about!

Check out the complete report for the Pew Internet and American Life and California HealthCare Foundation study, “The Social Life of Health Information.”

New Look for

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

The Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce website,, has been revised to make public health information easier to find and to highlight public health news and resources.

PHPartners is a collaboration of U.S. government agencies, public health organizations, and health science libraries which provides timely, convenient access to selected resources on the Internet.

Revisions to include:

Access to public health topic pages from the left frame of every page:
Environmental Health
Workforce Development

Access to main topics from the left frame of every page:
Health Promotion and Health Education
Literature and Guidelines
Health Data Tools and Statistics
Grants and Funding
Education and Training
Legislation and Policy
Conferences and Meetings
Finding People
Discussion and E-mail Lists
Jobs and Careers

Public Health News in center of the home page.
In the Spotlight section to highlight links of particular interest to the public health workforce. Selected spotlight links will rotate on a weekly basis.
Featured Resources on the right frame of the home page.
What’s New on on the home page allows users to keep up-to-date with news and new resources posted on by subscribing to the PHPartners email list or RSS news feed.

The PHPartners team wants to hear feedback on the look and usability of Please submit your feedback and comments to Lisa Sedlar,, and Hathy Simpson, Users can also submit feedback using the Contact Us link on the About Partners page.

Sewell Stipend to Attend APHA 2009 Meeting- Call for Applicants

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Do you work with public health professionals? Are you interested in public health? Are you interested in attending the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting?

This year’s APHA meeting will take place in Philadelphia, PA from November 7-11, 2009. Its theme will be Water and Public Health.

The Grace and Harold Sewell Memorial Fund, Inc. is offering stipends to librarians and other information professionals to help cover the costs of their attending and/or participating in this meeting. Successful applicants from the greater Philadelphia area will receive a stipend of at least $650. Successful applicants from outside greater Philadelphia will receive at least $1,000. This amount covers most of the APHA Membership at $195 and Early Bird (pre-August 28, 2009) Member Registration at $395. Though significant, these amounts will NOT cover all costs, so stipend recipients will need to find additional monies to cover remaining costs.

Completed applications are due July 24, 2009–just over a month from today. To apply, read and complete the application form attached or download the Word application form at Add all required application materials to the completed form and send as a SINGLE email attachment to Joey Nicholson at

For more information, contact Joey Nicholson at

Please forward this message to others who may be interested.

Hope you’ll join us at this colorful and fascinating meeting!

Joey Nicholson
Chair, Client Relations Committee
PH/HA Section, MLA

Free Classes offered by the NTCC

Friday, June 19th, 2009

National Library of Medicine’s Training for You Locally!

NLM Gateway/, and PubMed® Training in Boston, MA!

The National Training Center and Clearinghouse (NTCC), in conjunction with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine New England Region (NN/LM NER) and Tufts University is offering two FREE hands-on classes at the Hirsh Health Sciences Library in Boston, MA!

The following two classes will be taught by the staff of the NTCC:

PubMed® (7.5 MLA CE Hours)

Monday, August 10, 2009

8:30am to 5:00pm

Anyone who has used PubMed regularly has noticed some of the many changes. This PubMed® class is of particular interest to those who want a review of recent changes to the system, including medical librarians, researchers, medical editors, and anyone who searches for biomedical journal article citations.

This full-day class is designed to teach students how to use PubMed® which includes MEDLINE citations. The class also includes an overview of the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) and its importance as a tool to both searchers and indexers.

The NLM Gateway and (3.5 MLA CE Hours)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

8:30am to 12:00pm

The NLM Gateway and class is of particular interest to public, consumer health, and medical librarians and all health information consumers.

The NLM Gateway allows users of NLM services to initiate searches from one Web interface, providing “one-stop searching” for many of NLM’s information resources or databases, including: PubMed®, MedlinePLUS, TOXNET®, Meeting Abstracts, and many more.

All the training sessions are FREE and intended for health sciences library staff, public librarians, health professionals, and anyone interested in using these free National Library of Medicine (NLM) databases.

To REGISTER for any or all of these classes, or to look for other class locations, simply click on this registration form link (

We hope to see you there.


For further information about our classes, please go to:

For further information about the site location, please contact:

Cora Ho

(617) 636-2481

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