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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

Archive for April, 2011

NLM Adds Rare Persian Manuscript, al-Qazwini’s "The Wonders of Creation," to Turning the Pages Interactive Interface

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

The National Library of Medicine announces the release of a new Turning the Pages virtual book on its Web site ( The new book is the Kitab Aja’ib al-makhluqat wa Gharaib al-Mawjudat, literally “The Wonders of Creation,” compiled in the middle 1200s in what is now Iran or Iraq. The vibrantly illustrated work is considered one of the most important natural history texts of the medieval Islamic world.

The author, Abu Yahya Zakariya ibn Muhammad ibn Mahmud-al-Qazwini (ca. 1203-1283 CE), is known simply as al-Qazwini. One of the most noted natural historians, geographers and encyclopedists of the period, he was born in the city of Qazwin in Persia and received much of his education in Baghdad, the cultural center of the region. Al-Qazwini wrote most of his works in Arabic. This beautifully illustrated Persian translation was created in 1537 in the Mughal Empire, corresponding to what is now Pakistan and northern India.

“The Wonders of Creation” is divided into two sections, focusing respectively on celestial phenomena, including the planets, stars, and angels, and the terrestrial world, including geography, ethnography, zoology, and botany. Al-Qazwini was primarily a compiler of information from different authors, both ancient and medieval, and made few original observations of his own. However, his flowing and understandable writing style and thoroughness on different topics made his texts popular and often quoted.

The manuscript copy itself consists of 335 leaves of paper with more than 150 illustrations, in opaque watercolors and ink, of constellations, mythical figures, and various plants and animals placed throughout the text. The Web exhibition contains a selection of these pages, accompanied by explanatory text.  The text is viewable by clicking the “T” in the upper left corner of the virtual book page. For more information see:

Image caption: The Simurg, or Phoenix, and peacock in Zakarīyā’ ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini’s “Wonders of Creation,” from Manuscript P 1 of the US National Library of Medicine’s Turning the Pages project.

Healthy People 2020 Update

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

by Terri Ottosen, Consumer Health Outreach Coordinator

As many of you are aware, Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. For three decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to:

•    Encourage collaborations across sectors.
•    Guide individuals toward making informed health decisions.
•    Measure the impact of prevention activities.

Launched on December 2, 2010, Healthy People 2020 continues this tradition. The mission of Healthy People 2020 is to:

•    Identify nationwide health improvement priorities.
•    Increase public awareness and understanding of the determinants of health, disease, and disability and the opportunities for progress.
•    Provide measurable objectives and goals that are applicable at the national, State, and local levels.
•    Engage multiple sectors to take actions to strengthen policies and improve practices that are driven by the best available evidence and knowledge.
•    Identify critical research, evaluation, and data collection needs.

The development of Healthy People 2020 goals and objectives has been a multi-year endeavor. Having been involved in both in-person and online meetings the last few years, it’s been an eye-opening experience. One of the most critical goals, in light of the fact that in 2014, the U.S. health care system will need to accommodate the 32 million Americans who will have health insurance for the first time as a result of the Affordable Care Act, is the Access to Health Services goal. This goal is written as “to improve access to comprehensive, quality health care services.”1  In order to achieve health equity and to increase the quality of health care for everyone, access to services is imperative. This topic area focuses on four components of access to care: coverage, services, timeliness and workforce. Lack of health services coverage is critical because a lack of coverage makes it hard for people to get the services they need and if they do, it’s important that people are not burdened by large medical bills. Improving access to services involves a reliable and regular source of care. Studies have shown that people with a usual source of care have better health outcomes and fewer disparities and costs.2  Timeliness is the health care system’s ability to provide these services in a timely manner. This includes the time spent either waiting in a doctor’s office or an emergency department. Also, it includes the time between identifying the need for tests or treatments and getting those results. Longer waiting times have occurred in emergency departments around the country due to more people going to the emergency room for care and less emergency rooms available. Finally, the workforce component plays a large part in access to health care services. Primary care physicians play an important role in the health of their communities. Many medical students are no longer choosing to work in primary care. One of the goals is to increase and track the number of students interested in becoming primary care physicians.

Healthy People 2020 asks the people of the United States to find innovative and effective ways to improve access to health services by addressing each of the three steps. This will require changes at all levels of the health care system—from policy to the patient. Improving access to health services means increasing the timely, appropriate use of personal health services to achieve the best possible health outcomes. Access requires patients to complete three steps: (1) gain entry into the health care system; (2) access a health care location where needed services are provided; and (3) find a health care provider the patient can trust.

For more information and to stay updated with the activities and meetings of Healthy People 2020, please visit their website: You can subscribe to email updates, participate in the consortium of agencies and organizations committed to achieving the goals and objectives of the program, follow them on Twitter, connect via LinkedIn, or even view the latest Healthy People 2020 videos on YouTube.

[1] Healthy Access to Health Services. 2010. 13 April 2011 <>.

[2] (Healthy

April NIH News in Health

Monday, April 18th, 2011

The April issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research, is now available! In this edition:

Waking Up to Anesthesia
Learn More Before You Go Under

When you face surgery, you might have concerns about going under anesthesia. Will you lose consciousness? How will you feel afterward? Is it safe? Researchers have some answers.
Read more about anesthesia.


Reflux or GERD?
When Heartburn Spells Trouble
Most of us get heartburn now and then. Heartburn is one word people use to describe reflux. Occasional reflux episodes are normal. But if they occur twice a week or more, it may be a sign of a more serious condition called GERD.
Read more about reflux and GERD
Health Capsules:

Click here to download a PDF version for printing.

Visit our Facebook wall to suggest topics you’d like us to cover, or start a discussion about how you use the newsletter. We want to hear what you think!

Please pass the word on to your colleagues about NIH News in Health. We are happy to send a limited number of print copies free of charge for display in offices, libraries or clinics. Just email us or call 301-435-7489 for more information.

Inspiring People in our Region

Monday, April 18th, 2011

by Nancy Patterson, Community Outreach Coordinator, NN/LM, SE/A Region


Ali MuhammadVolunteerism is the greatest humanitarian act a person can share …”


Ali Muhammad
Executive Director
P.I. Advocates International, Inc.
Washington, DC

Ali Muhammad is the Executive Director of P.I.A., Inc., a non-profit organization that serves the low-income communities in and around Washington, DC, where he lives and works. He is responsible for the vision of P.I. Advocates, Inc., which is to be a delivery system of easy-to-understand health information that serves as the premier obtainable health information resource, and technical assistance to providers who serve minorities diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and those at risk for infection of HIV disease. P.I.A., Inc. accomplishes its goals through strong, collaborative partnerships with an array of service providers and communities to ensure the development, delivery, and implementation of their unique training models for the general public.

When asked how he came to do this work, Ali simply states that he finds a great sense of gratification in helping others. He was kind enough to be interviewed for our Inspiring People feature in April 2011.

NN/LM SE/A: Is there something in your own personal story that you feel lead you to do the work you do?

Ali Muhammad: I entered HIV/AIDS prevention education work soon after I started treatment for the condition in the fall of 1996. I realized how manageable HIV/AIDS is if adaptation to the right-personal HIV medical regimen is done correctly. I have been living with and successfully managing this and associated ailments for approximately 23 years.

NN/LM SE/A: What do you love most about what you do?

Ali Muhammad:  I love seeing the look of accomplishment on the faces of those we teach how to use computers and how to find health information on the Internet. I especially enjoy seeing the smiles of seniors when they realize they can learn to use computers. It is also motivating to see how fulfilled women and men in local substance abuse programs are when they complete our workshop and receive a government certificate of completion from the U. S. National Library of Medicine.

NN/LM SE/A:  What is the biggest challenge in what you do?

Ali Muhammad: The biggest challenge is getting people to come out and partake in the workshop. I say that because they are always faced with life-changing elements that seems to prevent people from taking time to invest in learning and embracing this “new” world of technology.

NN/LM SE/A:  What has been the most fulfilling part of your work in terms of health outreach to your community’s underserved populations?

Ali Muhammad: The most fulfilling aspect of our work is looking back acknowledging the vast number of people we’ve trained over the 12 years we have been providing these free computer workshops.

NN/LM SE/A:  What do you see as the biggest health concerns in the communities you serve?

Ali Muhammad: Over the many years I have been involved in providing what I think is a much needed concept—computer and health literacy workshops, the biggest health concern in the communities we serve is a gross lack of personal health literacy. I know this may not seem to be a health issue, but it is the beginning of managing any and all health concerns.

NN/LM SE/A:  How did you first come to know NN/LM SE/A?

Ali Muhammad: I first came to know about NN/LM SE/A through my association with the National Library of Medicine and my association with Karen Pomerantz from George Washington University.

NN/LM SE/A:  In what ways has NN/LM SE/A been of help to you?

Ali Muhammad: NN/LM SE/A has been a supporting factor in PIA reaching many more participants through funding to provide our workshops to more people. I feel we have met all requirements to consider them partners in addressing health literacy needs in underserved communities.

NN/LM SE/A:  Can you share a success story about the impact of health outreach in your community?

Ali Muhammad: I have received testimonies from a number of people stating how PIA saved their lives. One such person has worked with PIA for 8 years, rebounding from the brinks of death (as she puts it). She is now our Outreach Manager and is teaching others how to use computers and how to access health information housed in electronic medical libraries.

NN/LM SE/A:  What advice would you give others who are interested in doing health outreach work in their communities?

Ali Muhammad: Dedicate yourself to making sure others benefit from your work. Let the gratification from seeing people learn from what you are trying to gain on their behalf and always remember that volunteerism is the greatest humanitarian act a person can share—volunteer your services even when funding is not available.

If you would like to share your story or suggest another person for our “Inspiring People” feature, please email Nancy Patterson:


Call for Papers and Posters: 2011 Mid-Atlantic Chapter (MAC) of the MLA Annual Meeting

Friday, April 15th, 2011

The Contributed Papers and Posters committees of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association (MLA) invite you to help us “Capitalize on our Strengths” by sending your   proposals for contributed papers and posters for the 2011 MAC MLA Annual Meeting in Richmond, Virginia from October 10 through 12, 2011 at the Omni Richmond Hotel in downtown Richmond. Papers and posters may range from innovative program descriptions to reports on collaborative outreach activities to behind the scenes technical innovation, from hospital library to academic library to special library. The new MAC Research & Assessment Committee is especially interested in learning about research in librarianship that might benefit from a grant, so we are encouraging presentations on research activities.  Contributed paper and poster topics are as unlimited as your imagination, talents, and creativity can devise.

There will be two contributed paper and two poster sessions:

  • Contributed papers will be presented on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 from 10:45 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. and Wednesday, October 12, 2011 from 9:45 a.m. until 10:45 a.m.
  • Poster sessions will be on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. and Wednesday, October 12, 2011 from 10:45 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. Each poster should have one person available during the session it is presented.

For both paper and poster abstracts, please submit a blinded abstract as well as your regular abstract.

For contributed paper proposals, submit a 300 word abstract to describe your paper. Include your name, position title, address, phone number, and email address. The abstract should be sent to:; or Dana Ladd, Community Health Education Center Librarian, Community Health Education Center, 1200 East Marshall Street, Richmond, VA 23298-0582.

For poster proposals, submit a 300 word abstract to describe your poster. Include your name, position title, address, phone number, and email address. The abstract should be sent to:; or Margaret Henderson, Research & Education Librarian, Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University, 509 North 12th Street, Richmond, VA 23298-0582.

Abstracts are due June 15, 2011.

Use of a structured abstract is encouraged. For more information on writing a structured abstract, please see MLA’s Research Section’s “The Structured Abstract: An Essential Tool for Researchers.”

If your paper or poster describes a research project, please let us know, and if possible, let us know what type of research. For information on how to classify research, see “Inventory of Research Methods for Librarianship and Informatics,” published in the January 2004 issue of Journal of the Medical Library Association and available at PubMed Central. Please also consult the MLA Style Manual for guidance on style, spelling, and grammar.


Last updated on Tuesday, Nov 8, 2016

Funded under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012340 with the University of Maryland, Health Sciences and Human Services Library, and awarded by the DHHS, NIH, National Library of Medicine.