On January 15, 2015, the NN/LM SCR bids farewell to Cheryl Rowan, the Consumer Health Coordinator and Texas Liaison. Cheryl held two different positions during her tenure at the NN/LM SCR. She was hired as the Public Health Coordinator in June 2009, and became passionate about providing information outreach services to the public health workforce. In addition to teaching the NN/LM SCR’s existing classes, including the Public Health on the Web class, she developed several classes and conducted webinars on topics designed to broaden the public health community’s knowledge of information sources.
Recognizing the importance of statistics in the public health realm, she created the class Health Statistics on the Web: It’s as…Easy as 1,2,3. Originally created for the public health workforce, this class became very popular with various groups throughout the Region. She also created the class From Beyond Our Borders: Providing Health Information to Refugee Populations which was designed to assist librarians and others who work with refugee populations. This class was the first of its type for NLM and has been taught throughout the country. As one NLM staff member noted in an email sent to the NN/LM SCR office: “You are blazing a trail with this new course content.”
Cheryl was keenly interested in helping provide information to culturally diverse communities. At the 8th Annual Diversity Rx Conference, she conducted a presentation on providing relevant and culturally appropriate health information to refugee and immigrant communities. In addition, she coordinated the development of the NN/LM SCR’s Health Disparities Taskforce which brought together librarians and information professionals serving a variety of populations to determine how to best meet the needs of culturally diverse groups. Information gleaned from this taskforce led to a poster presented at the 2012 Health Disparities Science of Eliminating Health Disparities Summit, a paper presented at the SCC/MLA 2011 conference and the Health Disparities Information Outreach Award.
Perhaps Cheryl’s biggest contribution to the program was in the area of health information literacy. She assumed ownership of the existing NN/LM health literacy class, revising it to including information on cultural competency. In addition to teaching this class at libraries throughout the Region, she conducted presentations on health literacy at numerous state events, including the Arkansas Health Literacy Partnership Winter Conference, Community Health Centers of Arkansas Annual Conference and the Oklahoma Health Literacy Summit.
In December of 2012, Cheryl assumed the Consumer Health Coordinator position. She created the class Food for Thought: Exploring Nutrition Information Resources which provided information on locating nutrition information and the link between nutrition and health. Cheryl also spearheaded the NN/LM SCR’s efforts to inform librarians about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She conducted numerous webinars on the ACA for state libraries and the Region as a whole. These webinars were well attended and were beneficial in allaying the concerns of public libraries on the role they would play in ACA.
Throughout the years, Cheryl has received many awards and accolades. Even before she became an NN/LM SCR employee, she was the recipient of the NN/LM SCR’s first library student outreach award. In recognition of her dedication to helping provide health information to underserved communities, she was named a 2012 Mover and Shaker by Library Journal. Finally, in October 2014, she received the SCC/ MLA Librarian of the Year Award in acknowledgment of all her work in the field of health sciences librarianship.
We wish Cheryl the best of luck as she embarks on another chapter in her life. She will be missed.