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Focused Outreach Two Years In

NER’s Focused Outreach initiative has had two cycles of focused outreach periods in which NER staff work in selected areas to promote NLM resources and provide training to health services agencies and other community based organizations. We are currently wrapping up our outreach period in our second cycle of outreach areas: 1) the Downeast Maine Health District, and 2) Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The Focused Outreach Model involves

  1. Connecting with community agencies that serve NLM target populations
  2. Conducting training and promotional activities and developing and developing partnerships with other agencies to carry out further training
  3. Assess the project’s work through a comprehensive evaluation plan using data collection, process assessments, and outcomes measurement

In the Downeast Maine Health District NER worked with both Healthy Maine Partnerships, Healthy Acadia and Washington County One Community. Healthy Maine Partnership coalitions are community health education agencies. NER also worked with the Maine State Library’s BTOP (Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program) teaching MedlinePlus at BTOP training sites. Outreach work was conducted to reach Passamaquoddy tribal communities and smaller community hospitals that have no library services.

In Holyoke, a train the trainer model was established with local chapters of the Health Occupations Students Association: college students taught high school students about finding good health information and using MedlinePlus. Training was also conducted with residents at Holyoke Housing Authority communities, Holyoke Public Schools science teachers, and adult education centers.

NER’s previous focused outreach cycle was conducted in the Western Maine Health District and Providence, Rhode Island. A comprehensive report is available: Focused Outreach Evaluation Report: Providence, RI and Western Maine Health District.

NER is putting together its report on the Downeast and Holyoke focused outreach sites. We have also begun the initial phases for a third focused outreach cycle in Northern Worcester County and Hartford, Connecticut.

As with other NER initiatives the success of Focused Outreach relies on developing meaningful collaborations and linkages. Throughout all project cycles, NER Network Members have been instrumental in collaborating and helping to create those meaningful connections.

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