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Spring RAC Meeting: Please Join Us!

You are invited to the Regional Advisory Council Meeting on April 15th to hear about new directions for our next 5 year contract.

Spring Theme Image

Our next contract will establish defined focus areas from which our programs will develop. These five focus areas Health care workforce, Healthy communities, Health literacy, HealthIT, and eScience will form the basis of our training programs and funding for all of our populations: member libraries, health professionals, consumers. Here are brief descriptions:

Health Care Workforce: This focus area is concerned with issues and trends related to the composition, distribution, preparation, and ongoing development of students and professionals in the health care setting. The Health Care Workforce area examines the information needs of diverse health care professionals, the education levels for health care certification, the expansion of health care access in rural and metropolitan areas, cultural competency in health care, among many other issues.

Healthy Communities: This focus area relates to approaches in community-based problem solving that address local health care issues. These problems or issues are usually related to preventive medicine, healthy lifestyle and behavior choices. Healthy Communities are based on a broader definition of health than previously considered, understanding common values and developing a shared vision and ownership of problem solving approaches.

Health Literacy: This theme deals with the communication of information and the critical literacy skills needed for personal and community empowerment. Promoting health literacy involves fostering new skills for health sciences librarians moving beyond acquiring a basic understanding of health literacy issues.

HealthIT: The HealthIT theme is concerned with the dramatic changes affecting health care by the mandated adoption of an Electronic Health Record (EHR). These changes are widespread and affect hospitals, large and small practices, and those state system offices charged with establishing its infrastructure.
eScience: This focus area will continue to explore the expansion of library services to include the management, curation, and dissemination of locally produced data sets resulting from large and small scale research. eScience describes the collaboration among computationally intensive science disciplines that create data sets that are captured, transported, stored, organized, accessed, mined, visualized, and interpreted in order to extract knowledge.

Our Communities of Interest will be groups engaged in the ongoing discussion of how a focus area affects the library and health information setting and how libraries prepare and respond to these themes. There will be five Communities of Interest that will correspond to the above focus areas. These Communities of Interest will consist of librarians and local experts who will explore a particular area and develop learning opportunities and other projects around that area.

Communities of Interest (COIs) can submit program proposals for all day programs to be organized for the region. COIs will organize online learning sessions either with a sponsored speaker or a panel of participants. COIs will also be involved in reviewing and scoring funding opportunities related to their focus area.

In addition to Communities of Interest, other plans are already unfolding:

As libraries explore their changing roles throughout the health care setting, Knowledge Management is seen as a forward-thinking response to emerging needs within the hospital setting. Hospital libraries will be encouraged to explore newer concepts in information practice through the development of new knowledge management practices. A KM Template was developed by the RAC Hospital Library Subcommittee. Member libraries will be encouraged to adapt new skills and services that link the library to local uses of both external and internal information. The Hospital Library Advisory Group will advise NER on our implementation of funding for pilot projects in KM.

Our new approach to outreach in the region involves a more systematic approach to connecting with libraries, community-based organizations, public health, and other agencies that serve a population within a geographical area. We call this approach Focused Outreach. It involves the engagement of Network members, identifying key health care organizations serving a selected community. The focused outreach approach will allow us to develop more sustained partnerships, establish work goals within a community, and examine our impact.

Our third five-year contract will begin May 1 of this year!

We are inviting previous RAC participants, funded projects, member libraries, and other constituents to our final Regional Advisory Council Meeting of the current contract. Anyone interested in participating in a Community of Interest or wanting to hear more is invited. While we’ll provide an overview of accomplishments for the past five years, we’ll also want to describe our new plans for the coming five years!

Please contact me or any of us at the NER ( if you are interested in attending the April 15 Meeting in Shrewsbury, MA.

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