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Celebrating 2012 National Medical Librarians Month!

October is National Medical Librarians Month (NMLM)! Highlighting the fact that medical librarians are the best and most cost effective way to obtain quality health information, this year’s NMLM theme is “Medical Librarians: Your Best Return on Investment!” In honor of this event, we are recognizing the contributions of medical librarians by promoting Network member outreach projects.

E-Science Day: An Opportunity for Education & Networking
University of California, Davis, Blaisdell Medical Library, Sacramento, CA
Project Director: Raquel Abad
Designed as both an educational and collaborative event, participants were introduced to e-science through a varied suite of activities. The morning session featured keynote and panel presentations, delivered by experts in topics relevant to e-science: the VIVO project, community engagement, regional initiatives, and how e-science could be applied within hospital libraries. Poster and paper presentations, and lightning rounds that followed, provided an informal setting to showcase various e-science-related activities taking place within the region. To conclude the day, break-out sessions were facilitated by the morning speakers and event participants were challenged to address a seed question that will encourage networking and discussion, with the aim of inspiring future institutional and regional collaborations.

Digital Empowerment for Diabetic Patients
San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), UCSF/Barnett Briggs Medical Library, San Francisco, CA
Project Director: Joy Graham
The ultimate goal of the project was to improve the health status of disadvantaged diabetic patients, by providing them with the computer and internet skills necessary to find and evaluate health information on the web. Because research shows that diabetic patients with higher health literacy levels have better health outcomes than those with lower literacy levels, the project developed culturally and linguistically appropriate teaching materials to teach both Spanish- and English-speaking diabetic patients from San Francisco General Hospital’s outpatient clinics how to use computers and the internet to find reliable health information. The teaching materials were adapted from the National Institute on Aging’s Senior Health Toolkit for Trainers for use with diabetic patients. SFGH’s Family Health Clinic’s Patient Advisory Boards assisted in writing, revising, and translating the Toolkit, to ensure that the content was linguistically and culturally appropriate for its target audience. SFGH collaborated with Caminos, a community organization whose mission is to empower Latinos, by providing training in digital technology.

Healthy Teens Word CloudHealthy Teens
Huntington Memorial Hospital, Health Sciences Library, Pasadena, CA
Project Director: Sherrill Olsen
Huntington Hospital proposed a pilot program to increase teen awareness of the necessity of “whole health.” Health education outreach to the teen population and to their parents, to provide them with enough information to make better decisions, is currently one of the unmet needs of the Pasadena community. The goal of the program was to address common teen health and lifestyle issues, and foster awareness of community support resources for teens and their parents. The project aimed to pilot this by creating teen-targeted health programs at a local area high school, and branches of the Pasadena Public Library, in conjunction with a teen health-focused website for ongoing health information needs. The main objectives were to increase the knowledge and awareness of teen health issues in both teens and adults, and increase the consumer’s ease and ability to find information in this area in local, print and electronic formats.

Diabetes Information Outreach to the Latino/Hispanic Population of Pomona
Western University of Health Sciences, Harriet K. and Philip Pumerantz Library, Pomona, CA
Project Director: Pat Vader
Western University of Health Sciences, in conjunction with the Pomona Public Library, developed and operationalized a diabetes information outreach program aimed at the Hispanic/Latino population of the City of Pomona, in Los Angeles County. In the computer lab of the Pomona Public Library, the project conducted bilingual training/diabetes education sessions. Many members of Pomona’s Hispanic population do not have access to computers, and by holding the sessions at the Pomona Public Library lab, they can be made aware of this free resource. Because older Hispanic community members are often not trained in computer use, each session began with basic instructions as to how to access the internet, how to search, and specifically, how to access and utilize free health information resources. Following this training segment, a faculty member from Western University presented information relating to various aspects of diabetes care. Topics included: proper diet and nutrition; pharmacology (drug interactions, prescriptions, herbal medicine, etc.); the importance of optometric and dental screenings; disaster preparedness; and the care and prevention of wounds.

Arizona Outreach
University of Arizona, Arizona Health Sciences Library (AHSL), Tucson, AZ
Project Director: Jeanette L. Ryan
The purpose of this project is to extend the reach of the NN/LM by engaging the staff of the Arizona Health Sciences Library, the NN/LM PSR Resource Library in Arizona; and to share experience about working with Native American groups, and provide recommendations on how to work with urban Native Americans. In order to accomplish this, AHSL jointly funded an Outreach Librarian, who is responsible for carrying out an outreach program in Arizona attempting to meet the needs of Arizona health professionals and Arizona communities; determine collaboratively the goals and objectives of the new effort; provide reports that characterize the entire outreach effort in Arizona; build on the successful programs that are a tradition in Arizona; and improve AHSL’s in-depth planning skills and research-oriented outreach.

Health Information for Pacific Islanders: An Outreach Program
Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) Resource Center, Honolulu, HI
Project Director: Jane Barnwell
This outreach effort targeted the health practitioners, educators, and government officials in the U.S. Territories in the Pacific, and some activities involved members of the public. Due to a long history of isolation in the Pacific, there may be little expectation for access to health information, particularly very recent health information. Frequently health workers who do not have extensive education and training provide health care. Only recently has adequate Internet access been available, and even now, access may be restricted to only a few locations, such as community colleges. Perhaps the greatest barrier to health information is not online access, but instead the expectation that it is appropriate to seek health information, due to little exposure to quality sources. This project increased awareness of health information to Pacific Islanders; encouraged the use of health information in making health care decisions; and identified and removed barriers to health information in the U.S. Territories in the Pacific.

Kudos to everyone for a job well done!

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