Inspiring People in our Region: Judith Rogers, Manager, Learning Resources & Faculty Technology Services, University of the Virgin Islands
“Our greatest impact is achieved when we are flexible enough to adapt our programs to meet real, articulated needs.”
Manager, Learning Resources & Faculty Technology Services
University of the Virgin Islands
St. Thomas & St. Croix, USVI
What is your position?
Manager, Learning Resources & Faculty Technology Services – meaning: manager for University Libraries (both campuses of UVI), and faculty support for the learning environment.
Is there something in your own personal story that led you to do the work you do?
There are three major events that have led to what I do:
- I began my affiliation with the libraries as a paraprofessional in the Greenblatt Library, Medical College of Georgia (MCG). Through this association, I became affiliated with the Medical Library Association, through which I was awarded a scholarship to complete my MLS degree. The attainment of the MLS degree equipped me to return to the U. S. Virgin Islands and take up a professional position at the University of the Virgin Islands Library (UVI) Library on St. Croix Campus
- With my medical library experience at MCG and knowledge of the NN/LM programming, I reached out to the Juan Luis Hospital (JLH) librarian for partnership in a grant to educate health professionals throughout the Territory about Medline and other NLM resources. At the time, St. Thomas and St. John did not have access to a medical library locally. We introduced participants to Grateful Med, and successfully promoted the JLH Hospital and UVI libraries to meet some of their information needs.
- My appointment as the UVI campus librarian opened up several opportunities to grow the library programs through closer collaboration with faculty at UVI. One such opportunity was in chairing an ad hoc committee for faculty development. Through leadership in this position, we established faculty resource centers that are still sustained today through the Libraries as Centers for Excellence in Teaching & Learning.
What do you love most about your outreach work?
I enjoy seeing participants develop an awareness of the vast resources freely available through the NLM and NN/LM SE/A. When you are immersed in the profession, it is easy to assume that information about these resources is being communicated effectively simply because announcements have been made here or there. It is so important to promote our programs actively and continuously using a wide variety of media. Otherwise, folks simply don’t get it!
What is the biggest challenge in what you do?
Developing professional staff who “buy-in” to the vision that effective promoting, teaching and program outreach is very necessary for succession planning. But, that is also our major challenge. In the environment of Internet and social media, some may feel that human interaction for outreach and communicating the value of the profession is diminished. In fact, it is even more important for ensuring that libraries get attention as dynamic entities that meet communities where they are, and provide solutions for their critical needs of daily living.
What has been the most fulfilling part of your work in terms of health outreach to your community’s underserved populations?
Outreach to Juan Luis Hospital and health professionals, including UVI faculty and students, amazingly, continues to produce dividends for the UVI library programs. The library’s strong partnership with the UVI School of Nursing actually grew out of the JLH project, and continues to be strengthened through our outreach to health professionals in the community. I believe the School of Nursing sees us as genuine partners with them in developing students to be effective and nurturing caregivers in the community
What do you see as the biggest health concerns in the communities you serve?
Asthma cases are extremely prevalent here. I’ve experienced this first hand with two members of my own family. Infants, young children and the elderly particularly are impacted. HIV-AIDS and hypertension issues are probably the second and third major concerns.
How did you first come to know NN/LM SE/A?
I learned about NN/LM SE/A as an employee at the Greenblatt Library, MCG. I became more aware of the programs through the visits of various SE/A outreach coordinators who have embraced the USVI since the early 1990’s.
In what ways has NN/LM SE/A been of help to you?
Outreach from SE/A for training and funding opportunities has been especially helpful. In 2010-11, UVI participated in another NN/LM SE/A funded project to provide training for community healthcare professionals and lay persons. In addition to the success with project participants, the activity brought an added dimension to the UVI programs through the services of an additional staff member, and promotion of the library within the community.
Can you share a success story about the impact of health outreach in your community?
In the early 1990’s I was contacted by a physician on St. Thomas as a follow-up to the health information outreach training conducted there. She became quite proficient in locating articles to support her work and used my library as a supplier for the full-text of articles. Although the St. Thomas Hospital had since established a mechanism for supporting physicians there, our relationship continued for over 10 years until she passed away a couple years ago. She often expressed that the benefit of friendly service and understanding towards her needs was worth reaching out across the water when she needed help.
What advice would you give others who are interested in doing health outreach work in their communities?
- Ask your contacts in the community to identify their needs and look for ways to match your ideas/resources with solutions to meet those needs. Our greatest impact is achieved when we are flexible enough to adapt our programs to meet real, articulated needs.
- Be prepared to have back-up plans for every activity.
- Don’t give up, even if the response is weak in the beginning. Health outreach enhances the quality of life in the community and, by association, the work that we do.
For more information, please contact Nancy Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org).