National Network of Libraries of Medicine
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Consumer Health Specialization Classes

Consumer Health Specialization Classes Online

  • ABCs of DNA: Unraveling the Mystery of Genetics Information for Consumers
  • Beyond an Apple a Day: Providing Consumer Health Information at Your Library
  • Combating Information Fatigue: Health Information Resources for Veterans
  • Grants and Proposal Writing
  • Health and Wellness @ the Library: The Essentials of Providing Consumer Health Services
  • Will Duct Tape Cure My Warts?: Examining Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Class Descriptions:

ABCs of DNA: Unraveling the Mystery of Genetics Information for Consumers (8 MLA CE)

Consumers need access to information and resources about genetic information in a manner that is understandable. Librarians working with the public need to be aware of the issues surrounding genetics and resources to assist patrons in locating and evaluating sometimes complex and confusing information. This class explores basic concepts such as genes and chromosomes and offers an overview of genetic disorders, genetic testing, genetic counseling, and the Human Genome Project. Ethical and legal issues associated with genetic disorders will be covered with regard to privacy, discrimination, and potential legislative impact on medicine and society. A variety of reliable health information resources will be demonstrated, including, but not limited to: Genetics Home Reference,, CHID (Combined Health Information Database), NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders), and MedlinePlus.

Beyond an Apple a Day: Providing Consumer Health Information at Your Library (8 MLA CE)

This hands-on class will cover the information seeking behaviors of consumers. It will also address the recommended core reference collection, as well as databases and newsletters/ periodicals. It will cover the reference interview, disclaimers, and privacy as well as networking with medical librarians. The class will introduce the students to the Medical Library Association and its local chapters. It will describe possible ways to market this service in a community.


We will cover steps involved in providing a consumer health reference service in your public library including:

  • Health information needs of patrons
  • Challenges of providing consumer health information
  • Planning a consumer health service
  • Budgeting
  • Collection development
  • Consumer health on the Internet
  • The reference interview
  • Ethics
  • Outreach
  • Project development
  • Marketing

Combatting Information Fatigue: Health Information Resources for Veterans (3 MLA CE)

Veterans and their families need reliable health information resources and training to locate health information that is sensitive and pertinent to their needs. This course will cover resources for finding information on general health conditions, mental health resources including those for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), family issues, substance abuse, amputations, support groups and more. Additionally, this class will prepare participants to find and assess other veterans’ health resources.


  • Understand the unique information needs of veterans and their families
  • Utilize resources presented to locate reliable, authoritative health information specific to veterans
  • Acquire skills and knowledge to effectively identify and assess resources not covered in the class

Grants and Proposal Writing (2-4 MLA CE)

Designed for beginning grant proposal writers, this class presents a general overview of the grant and funding processes as well as the level of detail required in a successful proposal. Each component of the grant writing process will be addressed, including: documenting the need; identifying the target population; writing measurable objectives; developing a work plan, an evaluation plan and dissemination plan.


Participants will be able to:

  • Identify online resources to search for funding
  • Describe the basic sections of a proposal
  • Identify types of documents necessary to include with a proposal
  • Recognize common mistakes of proposal writers

Health & Wellness @ the Library: The Essentials of Providing Consumer Health Services (12 MLA CE)

This online course defines the core competencies of providing consumer health information services and then dives directly into the essential skills and knowledge that library staff need to build those competencies. The course starts by preparing you with tools to learn the demographics and health status of people in your community.


Learners will be able to:

  • Explain the concept of consumer health and how the library helps to build healthy communities.
  • Explain the difference between literacy and health literacy.
  • Feel comfortable and confident providing health reference to diverse users.
  • Understand the ethical and legal issues about providing health information.
  • Evaluate the quality of health information in a variety of formats, and teach users how to recognize the elements of trustworthy materials and the warning signs of dubious health information.
  • Identify and choose authoritative health information resources that are appropriate for particular users.
  • Apply criteria for collection development of consumer health materials.
  • Plan health-related programming and events.

Will Duct Tape Cure My Warts?: Examining Complementary and Alternative Medicine (8 MLA CE)

The goal of this class is to increase understanding of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Students will learn the history of CAM and its impact on medical practices. They will learn how CAM is used, how to avoid “bad science” and how to look up evidence of the effectiveness of CAM therapies.


  •   Have knowledge of the definition and types of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
  •   Have greater knowledge of the history of CAM and it's impact on medical practice.
  •   Have greater understanding of usage of CAM.
  •   Increase confidence in evaluating health websites
  •   Increase skills in avoiding “bad science” found on the Internet or in the news.
  •   Become more proficient in searching for evidence of the effectiveness of CAM

These classes will be offered on a rotating basis during the year and are subject to the coordinator’s travel schedule. Classes are provided using Moodle, an online course management system. The classes are available 24/7 to work at your own pace throughout the open class period. Some classes also have an interactive session using Adobe Connect. For more information about Moodle, please see:

For more information or to be added to the online class notification list, please contact Terri Ottosen @