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Major Outreach Award Highlights: Promoting Web Access to Health Information in San Diego

by Naomi C. Broering, MLS, MA, AHIP; Gregory A. Chauncey, MBA; Stacy Gomes, PhD.
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, San Diego, CA

Picture of Naomi Broering, Judy Consales, Julie Kwan and Becky
The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine’s (PCOM) Library received Major Outreach Award funding from the RML in 2009, for an 18-month project that ended in April 2011. The overall project goal was to promote easy-to-use Web informatics access to NLM and NIH online health information resources for consumers and health professionals. This gargantuan, but fun task involved networking and collaborating with an eight-member team of San Diego public libraries, faith-based organizations, a community center, and affiliated clinics, to implement an instructional program with a variety of teaching alternatives targeting an ethnically diverse community. We taught hands-on workshops, developed electronic tutorials, held live web-based sessions that were videotaped, produced DVDs, and conducted a series of Webinars for health care practitioners. In addition, we made web page enhancements, such as adding an A to Z database arrangement, new online tutorials of PubMed and MedlinePlus, and implementation of Web 2.0 features used for instructional training of NLM resources. Examples of links for tutorials and databases are on the PCOM web site. It was an ambitious project, but extremely rewarding!

Outcomes-based objectives, implemented to provide results data for evaluation, included: (1) Developing a new A to Z searching capability for consistency with MedlinePlus; (2) Conducting health information access training for a broad population; including seniors, minorities, and the underserved, covering multiple languages (Arabic, Spanish and Asian); (3) Providing instructional options for consumers and health professionals using workshops, E-Tutorials, DVDs, and Webinars on focused search topics using Web 2.0 technologies; and (4) Publicizing events with media press releases and social media networking; including Facebook, Library Blog, and the College’s web network. The evaluation included questionnaires and surveys to measure outcomes, value added services to improve information access, web-based instructional approaches, and promotion of NLM resources. All attendees rated the sessions highly informative.

The project exceeded its goals by significantly extending the Library’s community outreach services to a broader base of users, effectively combining training with new web-based instructional approaches, and scheduling classes and training in a phased and timely manner. Training included 69 sessions for over 963 attendees of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. There were six exhibits with 1,230 attendees. What’s the impact? Plenty; since now at least 2,200 more people know about NLM’s wonderful resources! A poster was presented at the NCNMLG/MLGSCA Joint Meeting in San Francisco, in February 2011. The project steadily gained popularity, growing from the original eight partners to eleven. Community outreach is a worthy service we definitely want to continue.

Promoting Web Access to Health Information Poster

Eight original project partners:

  • 1st Lutheran Church of San Diego, Third Avenue Charitable Organization
  • La Jolla United Methodist Church
  • El Cajon Branch, San Diego County Library
  • La Mesa Branch, San Diego County Library
  • Poway Branch, San Diego County Library
  • Chula Vista Public Library
  • Riford Adult Community Center
  • PCOM Clinical Education and affiliated Clinics

Three partners added during the project:

  • San Diego Public Library, La Jolla Riford Branch
  • Rancho Santa Fe Branch, San Diego County Library
  • Heroes Day at PCOM Library

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