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National Dental Hygiene Month

When it comes to good health many of us tend to forget that good health includes good oral health. Oral health, or dental health, should not be viewed as a separate entity from general overall health as is so often done. Several studies have linked oral infections and inflammation to lung and heart diseases as well as diabetes. Periodontitis, a form of gum disease, has even been linked with premature births and low-birth-weight babies. Many medications such as anti-depressants, antihistamines, and painkillers can also affect oral health by limiting the amount of saliva which helps to protect teeth from certain bacteria that can lead to diseases. When visiting the dentist make sure to update them on what medications you are taking as well as any changes in your health.

While some of us have the privilege of accessing dental care and have it part of our health insurance coverage, many find what dental insurance they do have is limited in its coverage or it may not even be part of the insurance benefit offered by employers. The number of dental health facilities is no where near enough in many parts of the country but more so in rural areas. NPR recently broadcasted a story last month regarding this lack of dental services. One fact that was reported besides the lack of dental facilities was that many dentist do not accept Medicaid patients. According to the American Community Survey the poverty rate for those in rural areas is three percent higher than that of urban poverty.  The 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey also reports that adults ages 20-64 91% had dental caries and 27% had untreated tooth decay. The percentage of untreated tooth decay was much higher for Hispanics and African Americans. The health disparities for many under-served populations is alarming and more efforts need to be made to address this issue. Read more »

Big Data To Knowledge Webinars and Discussion Group

The following announcement is from Jenny Muilenburg, Acting Data Services Coordinator University of Washington Libraries

The UW Health Sciences Library and Research Data Services are collaborating with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/Pacific Northwest Region, to provide a monthly discussion group focused on issues around Data Science, with a focus on biomedical science. The discussion group will provide a venue for those interested in the National Institutes of Health’s Big Data to Knowledge “Guide to the Fundamentals of Data Science,” a series of online lectures given by experts from across the country covering a range of diverse topics in data science.

The online lecture series is an introductory overview that assumes no prior knowledge or understanding of data science, and will run all year, once per week, from 9-10am Pacific Time. The list of speakers through the beginning of 2017 is available online, Upcoming topics include Ontologies, Metadata, Provenance, Databases, Social Networking Data, Exploratory Data Analysis, and lots more. Read more »

New National Library of Medicine Traveling Exhibit- Physician Assistants: Collaboration and Care

The National Library of Medicine, in partnership with the Physician Assistant History Society, launches Physician Assistants: Collaboration and Care, a traveling banner exhibition with an online adaptation. This exhibition was curated by Loren Miller, PhD, an independent historian and curator.

Collaboration has been the foundation of the Physician Assistant (PA) profession since the first three PAs graduated from Duke University’s training program in 1967. PAs practice medicine as a dynamic part of a team, alongside doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals; and work within diverse communities to treat patients and improve lives by addressing health care shortages. Originally focused on general practice, today’s PAs serve in a variety of medical specialties and settings. The field continues to widen, as PAs aid populations all over the world in times of need and training programs proliferate globally.

Physician Assistants: Collaboration and Care describes how the profession developed as a solution to meet the social and health care needs of the mid-20th century and continues to evolve today. The exhibition features stories of PAs in communities all over the world and on the front lines of health crises, like the recent Ebola epidemic. It also features PAs from the highest echelons of government, including Congresswoman Karen Bass from California and George McCullough, the first White House PA.

The online exhibition offers resources for educators and students, including lesson plans for middle school and high school classrooms, a higher education module, and a robust selection of related links and suggested readings.

Physician Assistants: Collaboration and Care will travel to 50 sites across the country over the next four years. Please visit the Traveling Exhibition Services Web site to see the tour itinerary and find this exhibition near you.

Aim for Excellence!


October is National Medical Librarians Month

Library services and quality health information can reduce hospital costs, length of stay, changes in diagnosis and clinical decision making, and improve patient outcomes. Find out how librarians can improve your organization’s standard of care.

This year’s theme for Medical Librarians Month is “Aim for Excellence.” Medical librarians add skill and value to have a positive impact on their institutions. Members of the Medical Library Association (MLA) may request a free poster which highlights research studies proving patients receive better care and institutions save money with information from medical librarians. Themed posters from previous Medical Librarians Months are available here.

And there’s more … to win an annual meeting registration, an MLA membership, or registration for a webinar, enter this year’s Medical Librarian’s Month contest, sponsored by the Medical Library Association. Submit a high quality original photograph of you (and/or your colleagues) in your workplace doing your job. See contest rules and prize information here. Contact Tomi Gunn at MLA with questions. Submission deadline is end of day December 31, 2016. Good luck!

Announcing New Funding Opportunities

The NN/LM PNR invites applications for a new suite of funding opportunities.  Check these out if you want: support to partner on research and data projects or events; funding for technology improvement; or support for professional development.

Eligible applications for Health Sciences Library Partnership projects and Technology Improvement projects will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis, and you can submit an application anytime until November 10, 2016. However, please let us know you intend to apply at least 3 weeks before you submit, so we can get reviewers lined up to screen your application. Please submit your statement of intent to apply to

For Professional Development awards, applications will be accepted anytime for activities that take place before April 30, 2017.

Also, if you have other ideas and you are not sure there is a ‘fit’ with these currently available awards, please drop us a line ( and briefly describe your idea. We want to hear from you, so don’t hold back!

Dr. Patricia Brennan, the new Director of the National Library of Medicine

On September 12, 2016, Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, was sworn in as the 19th director of the Library and the fourth person to serve as director since the institution became the National Library of Medicine 60 years ago. She is not only the first woman but also the first nurse to hold this position.

In her remarks, Dr. Brennan addressed a number of health and information issues. She relayed that her focus, while working as a nurse and an industrial engineer, was of reaching into the home because the place where most health occurs is in the home. But since most people do not want strangers traipsing through their private domain, addressing the health needs of individuals at the point of when they need it presented a challenge and required innovative solutions. She made further comments about the role of NLM and the need to make health information accessible at the point of need for both professionals and for consumers and innovative solutions will be required to meet those needs. Dr. Brennan remarked that by looking at the past  it can become part of our present. She recognized the work of past NLM leaders which has led to some wonderful contributions over the years and even will continue to influence the present and the future. Dr. Brennan’s speech illustrated her knowledge and awareness of the present needs of researchers, healthcare professionals, and healthcare consumers but also emphasizing that NLM be ready for what lies ahead.

Dr. Brennan mentioned she would be working with the NLM Board of Regents on a one-year strategic planning initiative to create a vision for the future of the National Library of Medicine. She looks forward to working with all those associated with the National Library of Medicine to work together in achieving future goals so that NLM can continue to be a vital component in the world of research, information, and health. Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health,  shared “We’re on your team and want to make this dream turn into something really spectacular and you’re just the right leader to make this happen.”

We all welcome Dr. Brennan as she takes the helm of NLM and leads it into the future. Watch the full swearing in ceremony