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Archive for August, 2012

Funded Projects Outcomes Year One!

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

NER began its 2011-2016 contract period with five exciting projects proposed and approved to extend outreach and provide a mode knowledge management project. Projects were submitted as proposals, reviewed by the corresponding Community of Interest and approved. Project performance periods extended through April 2012.

Here briefly are some of the outstanding accomplishments and outcomes for these projects:

Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Worcester
Health Literacy: Your Knowledge, Your Health
Funding this project allowed CM AHEC/OWTI to create a health literacy tutorial for community health workers to improve patient communication skills and find and evaluate good health information. A 12 hour course has been developed for community health workers. CHWs are a critical health workforce and are key to supporting consumers in acquiring health literacy skills that will improve their health and access to health care in the long term.

Littleton Regional Hospital, Littleton NH
Dental Health and Education Project
The project addressed health literacy issues for patients who resort to using the emergency department to treat a toothache or an abscessed tooth. Patients often cannot pay for routine dental health care. The major accomplishment of this project was developing a curriculum for using “The Teach-Back Method” of ensuring that patients understand instructions (e.g., taking medications, home-care instructions, follow-up, dental prevention across the lifespan). The project librarian was able to “obtain true buy-in from senior leadership” for the health literacy initiative.

Maine Medical Center, Portland
Clinical and Academic Resource Center
Knowledge Management Pilot Site: Creating a repository of local content to support knowledge management services
Funding allowed the library to develop the foundation for a repository of locally generated research, including clinical and academic content. The project involved conducting a needs assessment, product development, and design of necessary staffing and workflow. Our target group within the hospital was the Sports Medicine department, a small but prolific group. Project staff worked with the hospital’s Information Systems department on technical issues, and the Research and Medical & Academic Affairs staff. An independent consultant was contracted to perform an environmental scan of the institution’s research content and volume. Major accomplishments were the analysis of the knowledge asset needs of our users, the exploration of repository software, and the environmental scan report.

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester
Campus Helping Older Adults Search for Reliable Sources of Information
This project introduced older adults to MedlinePlus while teaching skills to evaluate health information. A mobile computer classroom was built, a series of three hands-on lessons were offered at 28 sessions across five senior centers. Sessions were based on specific modules from the NIHSenior Health’s “Helping Older Adults Search for Health Information Online: A Toolkit for Trainers.” Pharmacy students in their final year of study in the PharmD program assisted in presenting the lessons by providing one-on-one instructional assistance.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Chelsea MA
Upgrading and Enhancing ARCH Training
Based on the successful operation of ARCH in providing hands-on training and outreach to older adult communities, two ARCH outreach projects focused on strengthening access to health information and resources online among senior citizens in Chelsea, Massachusetts. While purchasing computers, developing and curricula, and conducting five hands-on sessions for seniors, the project also reached out to the Healthy Chelsea Coalition to present ARCH and MedlinePlus resources to 60 health care and human service professionals.

We congratulate our past funded projects for extending the National Library of Medicine’s outreach mission, and enhancing the Network by developing practices.

See our new projects that have been funded for the current fiscal year.

Good Bye and Many Thanks

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

These are my last few days as Associate Director of the NER. Leaving for my life’s next adventures, I feel that sense of sorrow in leaving your roots and rich relationships. I’ve thought about how the region and the Network have changed over the last ten years.

Our work has moved from taking place within our libraries to working throughout our environments.

  • Focusing on what’s on our shelves and what our libraries are borrowing, to being part of safety, patient education, and clinical teams.
  • Taking part in our institutions’ community engagement and community benefit initiatives: More members are doing health information outreach and being recognized for it
  • We’ve broadened our ideas of what our information tools and resources are and how these are produced, not just incorporating new technologies but being part of creating locally produced and locally meaningful information.

Sadly, we have seen libraries seep into phases of either doing the same with less or doing less with less. We’ve seen libraries move into less than ideal staffing, restrict their services, or close altogether.

But also with creative thinking we’ve seen libraries examine their roles and restructure. These are libraries that take the best of what they do and target their resources towards new areas of information services. There are great models for these in our region of all shapes and sizes.

I’ve spent a good part of my library career within the Regional Medical Library family. NLM and the National Networks’ programs and emphases have changed in response to not just how health sciences libraries have changed but how patients and providers get and use information. Working throughout our communities, building communities, responding to needs.

I look forward to hearing about the great things the Network continues doing for users and for all areas of health. I know I will stay in touch with many of you. I am grateful and lucky to have worked with such great people, both NER staff and the fine community of health information professionals throughout our network. Thank you all.


Healthcare Workforce and Community Colleges

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

This past Wednesday (August 8th) the Healthcare Workforce COI held a session to discuss the community colleges. Community colleges compose a sizable part of the region’s full membership.

Community college students come from very diverse often non-traditional backgrounds, their educational and career paths may be stop and go. Enrollment is growing as graduating students and unemployed workers seek affordable educational alternatives. The promise of increased job availability, demand for enrollment in community college programs will continue to grow.

Community Colleges offer programs in a wide variety of academic health sciences programs: nursing programs are the majority but other programs abound like dental hygiene, occupational therapy, sonography and radiography, and respiratory therapy.

Community colleges also have a large certificate programs for areas like dental assisting, healthcare interpreter, phlebotomy, dialysis, imaging. Community colleges are also at the center of HealthIT related programs that train students in practice workflow and redesign, implementation management and support, and software support and training.

Librarians at community colleges can specialize in the health sciences but also serve a broader set of academic programs and departments throughout their institutions.

By concentrating on community colleges, the health care workforce COI will examine how librarians provide particular services to health sciences students and faculty while attending to other academic programs and responsibilities. As a learning community it will be a forum for librarians to learn from each other. What are the best resources? How to keep up to date? what are useful standards or competencies?

The healthcare workforce COI can gather formally or informally to exchange ideas, plan and put on distance based and in-person programs, recruit speakers. Pat Gorman of the Community College of Rhode Island is the COI Leader and has heard from several community college and other interested librarians; she is looking forward to hearing from others and move the COI’s ideas forward.

Contact Pat at

Link to Web Session Presentation

Focused Outreach Vignette

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Holyoke Public Schools Inservice for Health and Information Technology Teachers

In January of 2012, NN/LM NER taught an inservice for health and information technology teachers in the Holyoke Public School District. The class evolved out of the NN/LM NER’s Focused Health Information Outreach. Focused Health Information Outreach guides the work of NN/LM NER to reach two specific geographic areas each year: one rural and one urban. From May 2011 – May 2012, Holyoke, Massachusetts was the urban area for NER’s community engagement. To connect with the public schools, NER called the Superintendent’s Office. The Superintendent’s Office connected NER with the Director of Health, Science, Physical Education and Technology. Michelle Eberle met with the Director to teach her MedlinePlus and other National Library of Medicine resources for teachers. NER provided copies of the Resources for Teachers and the Lesson Plans from NLM handouts for the Director to give to all of her teachers.

On Jan 6, 2012, Michelle Eberle and Mark Goldstein taught an inservice at Holyoke High School for the Health and Information Technology Services (ITS) teachers working for Holyoke Public Schools. Most of the twelve teachers in attendance taught health for the elementary and middle schools. Mark prepared taught: ToxTown, ToxMystery and NIH LifeWorks. Michelle presented MedlinePlus. The teachers explored the sites hands-on in the High School Library. The teachers were particularly interested in the games and health check tools on MedlinePlus. At the end of the class, presenters asked what resources were most helpful. Teachers expressed much interest in both ToxTown and ToxMystery. Also, NIH Life Works was a big hit. NIH LifeWorks is a health and science career mentoring site. NN/LM NER will continue to present NIH LifeWorks for teachers to help support the healthcare workforce pipeline.

Michelle and Mark presented National Libray of Medicine resources with lesson plans and provided time for the teachers to explore each. The most popular site from this handout was the Visible Proofs exhibit which provided forensic views of the body. One of the health teachers was interested in a NN/LM NER presentation for the High School’s Health Professions Club. The evaluations were positive. NN/LM NER will continue to offer in-services for teachers in districts of our Focused Health Information Outreach. In the post-surveys, teachers shared what they liked most about the training: the variety of information that is available and learning how to use and find information on MedlinePlus, LifeWorks and Career Finder. Several teachers said they planned to add the resources to their class portals, and use them for student project. Public school teachers are a new audience for NN/LM NER training. NER plans to reach out to the public schools in Hartford, CT and Northern Worcester County (CHNA District 9).

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