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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

NTO Training Needs Assessment

Learning: you do it every day because you’re curious and you want to stay informed. The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) can help you learn what you care about…and we’d like to do it on your terms.

Please complete our training needs assessment. By doing so, your responses will guide NN/LM in developing programs:

  • on the topics you want
  • at the right level
  • in a format that works for you

This needs assessment is being conducted by the NN/LM Training Office (NTO) and is estimated to take 10-15 minutes to complete. It will close on November 30, 2016. Your response is sincerely appreciated.


NLM Strategic Planning RFI

The National Library of Medicine is undertaking a Strategic Planning Process and is soliciting input from its broad stakeholder community, including our Network members. Please ensure that your feedback is included in our strategic visioning.

The RFI closes on January 9, 2017.

November NIH News In Health Now Available

NIH News in Health: A monthly newsletter from the National Institutes of Health, part of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services





Check out the November issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research: To search for more trusted health information from NIH, bookmark


Healthy Holiday Foods and Fun
Make Smart Choices as You Celebrate the Season

How can you avoid temptation when delicious foods and calories abound? Read more about healthy holiday choices.






Don’t Toss the Floss!
The Benefits of Daily Cleaning Between Teeth

Despite recent news headlines, dental experts still recommend daily flossing to keep teeth and gums healthy. Read more about tooth and gum care.






Health Capsules

Click here to download a PDF version for printing.Visit our Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like us to cover, or let us know what you find helpful about the newsletter. We’d like to hear from you! 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 301-402-7337 for more information.

Public Health Literacy

by Terri Ottosen, Outreach and Education Coordinator, NN/LM, SEA

Many of us following information on health literacy, with an interest in keeping current and apprised of new developments, have noticed more discussion recently of the idea of community health literacy. In one discussion, someone described it as “a collective capacity to support each other in finding health information, making sense of it, talking it through and finding ways to take action – either as a community or by supporting individuals to get the help or make changes they need.” She went on to describe that this concept is the “potential for people with higher health literacy skills to lift up those in their community with lower skills.”

The concept of community health literacy is often referred to public health literacy in the literature. One paper by D. Freedman, “Public Health Literacy Defined,” in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2009, describes health literacy as “a comprehensive model comprised of two distinct components, individual health literacy and public health literacy” with the latter defined as “the degree to which individuals and groups can obtain, process, understand, evaluate, and act on information needed to make public health decisions that benefit the community. (

This idea is exciting for librarians because that is exactly what we do. No matter your institution, librarians can and do help support individuals and organizations, find, utilize and evaluate health information to help them get the help and answers they need to make the changes needed or the information needed to make informed health decisions. For those working with groups or individuals, there are tools and resources to help you learn more about the concept as well as ways to help focus your efforts. This can be far more challenging than focusing efforts on individuals because it’s more about assessing the entire community’s needs and targeting efforts to “lift” the health literacy levels of a geographic area or distinct territory, which could include a hospital, neighborhood, residents, etc.

Lydia Witman, Patient & Family Library Manager, at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia Medical Center, posed a question recently on IHA Health Literacy List, about assessment tools that could be applied at the population/community level, so that the outcome of the assessment would help users be able to find the percentage of health literacy levels in a given community. One response from a leader on the list included a link to the Health Literacy Data Map (, which identifies sub-communities with the biggest health literacy challenges. It is based on the prevalence of the key demographic groups identified in the NAAL (National Assessment of Adult Literacy), which is often cited in health literacy literature as the standard data set, as having the lowest health literacy levels. If you’ve not seen this tool, please check it out. According to the “About” section of the website, it provides an “interactive, searchable, national map of health literacy estimates for 216,864 census block groups in the United States.” The development and maintenance of the site was funded by the National Institute on Aging and is a collaboration between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Boston University Medical Center, Northwestern University, RAND Corporation, and the University of Michigan.

Here are some additional sources of further information on public health literacy and community health literacy:

Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals (Centers for Disease Control) – Web-based training program to educate health professionals about public health literacy and their role in providing health information and services and promoting public health literacy.

Health literacy and public health: A systematic review and integration of definitions and models (BioMed Central, BMC Public Health)

Working with Libraries, Schools & Community Organizations – Resources to help begin or expand your educational and community health literacy activities. The site includes curricula, links to research, and more. (Centers for Disease Control)

Examining health literacy disparities in the United States: a third look at the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) – Article on the importance of relational social status for understanding health literacy disparities in the United States. (BioMed Central, BMC Public Health)

Health Literacy and Health Literacy Resources (NN/LM) – Provides background information on health literacy and resources from trusted organizations.

NN/LM SE/A Seeking Applications for Funding

This is a reminder that NN/LM SE/A has funds available for Professional Development and Exhibits. We have also reopened the application process for Medical Library Projects, Outreach, and Technology Improvement.

Exhibitor Award: Funding for exhibits at state and/or local meetings of health professionals, information professionals and health consumers. It provides an opportunity to promote NLM products, S/EA programs or SE/A member libraries to target populations. Funding covers registration and booth fees, travel and per diems, communication costs, and equipment rental if needed and associated costs for the exhibit.

  • Amount: Up to $2000
  • Application Deadline: Until depleted

Medical Library Project: Projects should strengthen the involvement of health sciences/medical librarians within their institution and/or community–to promote involvement in institution-wide health information initiatives and stimulate collaboration within the organization to address local health information problems.

  • Amount: Up to $5000
  • Application Deadline: November 30, 2016

Health Information Outreach: Projects directed at improving health information literacy and/or ensuring that healthcare consumers are aware of, and have access to, high quality electronic information resources. Or directed at improving use of quality health information resources by health professionals, including colleges and universities.

  • Amount: Up to $5000
  • Application Deadline: November 30, 2016

Professional Development: To enable individuals at SE/A Network member institutions to expand professional knowledge and experience to provide improved health information access to healthcare providers and consumers.

  • Amount: Up to $1500
  • Application Deadline: Until depleted

Technology Improvement: To enhance the capacity of a library or organization to offer electronic health information services by supporting the purchase, installation, and/or upgrading of hardware and software.

  • Amount: Up to $5000
  • Application Deadline: November 30, 2016

Details for these awards may be found on the SE/A Funding Opportunities page. All award proposals will be submitted via an online form linked from the award description. Please read the description/requirements of the award and the evaluation criteria since much is new. Some awards are eligible for IDC, and all funds must be spent by April 30, 2017.

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.