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Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category

Express Outreach Award Highlights: Building an Environmental Health Information Program, A Collaboration Between Charles R. Drew University (CDU) Pipeline and the CDU Health Sciences Library

by Joshua Shulman, MSIS, Emerging Technology Librarian; Zebib Yemane, B.S., Library Aide; and Darlene Parker-Kelly, MSLS, Director
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
Health Sciences Library
Los Angeles, CA

The Charles R. Drew University Health Sciences Library received NN/LM PSR Express Outreach Award funding in 2015-16 to conduct a project promoting the value and awareness of National Library of Medicine health information resources focusing on environmental health. The University has a robust Pipeline program and the project was implemented in collaboration with community partners. The foremost objective was to introduce selected National Library of Medicine resources to students (K-12 and college), teachers (K-12 and college), parents and community members. A planning committee was established, composed of staff persons from the CDU Pipeline program, faculty from the Masters of Public Health program, a CDU researcher, librarians/library staff and the Library Director. Several events were planned which included contacting external members of the community, including the Principal at Compton Early College Program, the coordinator of the King/Drew Magnet High School College Bound Program, and Congresswomen Janice Hahn’s office. While the initial program was designed primarily for K-12 students and Pipeline students, the external partners recommended additional outreach activities to introduce and promote the use of National Library of Medicine resources at external events. (more…)

Express Outreach Award Highlights: Finding Reliable Health Information Online: Trusted Sources & MedlinePlus

by Mira Geffner, Librarian
Bay Area Cancer Connections
Medical Information Services
Palo Alto, CA

Mira Geffner and AttendeeBay Area Cancer Connections offers information and support to people touched by breast and ovarian cancer. Our comprehensive lending library, educational brochures, and medical information specialist service are integral to the organization’s work – helping patients and loved ones to find accurate medical information that can guide their care.

Through the project Finding Reliable Health Information Online, funded by the NN/LM PSR Express Outreach Awards program, we sought to increase health information literacy and awareness of MedlinePlus among members of the breast and ovarian cancer communities, minority healthcare trainees, and members of minority communities. We did this through a series of health information literacy training sessions and outreach exhibits. Working collaboratively with partner organizations, we delivered an educational presentation at a public library and at a community non-profit agency that provides vocational training for healthcare workers. We also offered this session as an in-service training for Bay Area Cancer Connections Helpline volunteers, and for our clients and members of the public. Through lecture, exercises, and discussion, participants learned how to critically evaluate health information and to use MedlinePlus as their go-to site for discovering quality health information. Health information literacy and MedlinePlus awareness also became a component of our regular outreach calendar.

Linda McIntyre and attendeesIn numeric terms, we planned six outreach exhibits and completed more than 20, reaching more individuals than we had hoped. We also completed the four educational events we had proposed. The most rewarding outcomes we saw were in the organizational relationships we developed and deepened over the course of the project. Internally, this project helped to strengthen bonds between the Bay Area Cancer Connections library and our Marketing and Volunteer Resources departments, as we collaborated on outreach work. We also formed a new external partnership with the Mountain View Public Library, our organization’s first public library partnership and one on which we hope to build.

Getting to know the staff and resources at our RML was invaluable as well, and we are confident that the relationships we have developed in the course of this project will be helpful as we plan our health information literacy and outreach work for the future. Funding from this project allowed two staff members to attend a PubMed for Trainers class, which has boosted our research skills.

Although we designed this project with an understanding that MedlinePlus and health information literacy instruction are important, it was striking to see the extent of the need. Most training session participants were unfamiliar with MedlinePlus prior to the session; those who had used the site had used only a small subset of its features and were grateful to learn more. The project staff noted that it would have been beneficial to vary the pace of our educational sessions more to suit the information literacy level of our audiences. And organizationally, we believe we could have done more to promote off-site events in-house, and better clarified mutual expectations with our project partners. Our award period has ended, but our outreach and MedlinePlus promotion continue, and we are looking forward to building on this project in the future!

New NLM Learning Resources Database

Learning Resources DatabaseThe National Library of Medicine (NLM) announced the new NLM Learning Resources Database, making it easy to find educational resources for NLM products and services. These materials include videos, tutorials, and handouts on products such as PubMed, ClinicalTrials.gov, Unified Medical Language System, and many more. Now you can find resources using one interface rather than searching different areas of the NLM Web site. An API is also available to auto-populate NLM learning resources on your Web site.

The database currently holds all of the resources previously listed on the former Distance Education Resources Web page. There is a permanent redirect from this page to the NLM Learning Resources Database. Additional resources are being added on an ongoing basis. (more…)

MLA’s Educational Webcast – The Consumer Health Library: A Site for Service, Education, and Hope

The Medical Library Association’s educational webcast, The Consumer Health Library: A Site for Service, Education, and Hope, held on April 26, 2016, was a success! (more…)

EnviRN-Evidence: New Free Online Learning Resource for Nurses Interested in Environmental Health Evidence

by Claire Sharifi, Reference Librarian
Gleeson Library | Geschke Learning Center
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

With support from the NN/LM PSR Express Outreach Awards program, an interdisciplinary team from the University of San Francisco has created EnviRN-Evidence, a new freely accessible online learning program which introduces nurses, nursing students, nursing faculty, and any other interested parties to important environmental health topics. This resource also includes instruction on how to use the National Library of Medicine’s TOXNET databases to find authoritative environmental health evidence and patient education resources. (more…)

NIH Request for Information Yields Important Public Input on the Value of NLM Products and Services

In January of 2015 NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, formed a working group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) for the purpose of reviewing the programs of the NLM and making recommendations for a vision for the library that would ensure its continued role as an international leader in biomedical and health information. In carrying out its charge, the working group issued a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public input regarding NLM. The RFI was active from February 13 to March 13, 2015, with 650 respondents providing feedback. At NLM’s September 17, 2015, Board of Regents meeting, Dr. Barbara Rapp, Chief, Office of Planning and Analysis, summarized the responses to the NIH RFI. She found that comments were submitted from across the broad range of NLM users, including medical librarians; researchers in biomedicine, biomedical informatics and computational biology; clinical, public health, and emergency response practitioners; historians; health information technology developers; journal publishers; and educators. (more…)

New Monograph Available: “The Medical Library Association Guide to Answering Questions about the Affordable Care Act”

Cover of the MLA guide to answering questions about the ACA book

In March of 2010, federal legislation known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law, but it wasn’t until June of 2013 that public libraries fell into the spotlight and became the go-to community place for information related to health care reform. During the 2013 American Library Association annual conference, President Obama issued a call to librarians to assist the community and the nation at large with ACA-related health insurance questions. The only problem was that there was no playbook, no reference text with ready answers. What ensued was a time of mass confusion, misinformation in the media, and bumpy roll-outs of the federal and state health care exchanges. Librarians and staff stepped up to the challenge, learning and doing as they went along. Libraries opened their doors to the public, partnered with community organizations, hosted enrollment events, and assisted as best they could with the information they had at the time.

Luckily, librarians now have a resource with much-needed information at their fingertips in the new book, The Medical Library Association Guide to Answering Questions about the Affordable Care Act, published by Rowman & Littlefield in October, 2015. The Affordable Care Act has stood up to legal challenges and attempts to overturn it, and information is still needed as new provisions to the law take effect. Thus, ACA-related library services remain in high demand. The book is a practical guide for reference librarians and front-line staff who continue to receive questions about the ACA.

The book was edited by Emily Vardell, teaching fellow at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapter authors were chosen for their experience and expertise with the topics, and all together the authors have woven together a guidebook that will be very useful for anyone tasked with responding to health insurance and ACA reference questions. I co-authored two chapters of the book, “The Health Insurance Reference Question: A Step-by-Step Approach,” and “Recommended ACA Resources for Patients and the General Public.”

The ACA is a complicated law with many facets. Librarians may be faced with questions about the law itself, tax implications, or health insurance options. Questions may come from individuals and small business owners, health practitioners, or those who are interested for other reasons. With all this in mind, the book sets the stage with an overview of the ACA, and then segues into topics related to the role of the librarian, health insurance literacy, and the reference interview. Current and best practices are covered in detail, and the book concludes with chapters covering recommended resources for consumers and practitioners.

In summary, this Guide simplifies the complex topic of the ACA into manageable pieces. It provides the necessary information for readers to provide relevant services, improve their own health insurance literacy, and acquire skills for helping library users find and utilize quality health insurance information.

NLM Traveling Exhibit: Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions

by Miranda Lam, MLIS, Medical Librarian and
Darlene Parker-Kelly, MSLS, Director
Health Sciences Library
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
Los Angeles, CA

In celebration of the 2015 National Medical Librarians Month, Charles R. Drew University (CDU) Health Sciences Library proudly displayed the National Library of Medicine’s Pick Your Poison traveling exhibit. This particular exhibit is CDU Health Sciences Library’s fifth such exhibition and it is an opportunity to cultivate conversations with students, faculty, staff and the community. From the exhibit, one learns about the evolution of perceptions of select mind altering drugs in American society: tobacco, alcohol, opium, cocaine, and marijuana. (more…)

ClinicalTrials.gov: Questions and Answers

We recently received several inquiries regarding the ClinicalTrials.gov database which arose during a training session conducted by a Network member, and wanted to take the opportunity to share the answers widely in case others have similar concerns. For more information about ClinicalTrials.gov, feel free to contact me. Also, consider taking the online course ClinicalTrials.gov: Results Reporting, Unique Evidence, and the Role of Medical Librarians if you have not done so already; our next offering will be in early 2016. (more…)

Celebrating National Medical Librarians Month 2015!

NMLM Poster: Are You A Risk Taker?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 Are You A Risk Taker? When you need to be right, ask your medical librarian. In honor of this event, we are recognizing the contributions of medical librarians by promoting Network member outreach projects. (more…)