EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

Category Archives: Other Stuff

News, Health Disparities, Americans, Politics: The Health Care Safety Net

Image Source: http://www.thesaurus.com/nope –  All rights reserved – copyright 2011

.

If you are an American who reads news articles or listens daily to TV, then the budgetary skirmishes being played out between the two governing parties in Washington this month is enough to keep you up at night.

Do our elected government representatives deserve congratulations for haggling for days about and then (at the last minute) passing yet another temporary budget in order to keep the Federal government functioning on a daily basis? No. I say: Skip the drama and get back to governing the country in a cooperative, fair manner that represents the wishes of the people from your home state who voted for you. Sadly, long-term strategical thinking as well as respectful debate seem in short supply in our capital nowadays.

Am I a tea-partier? Nope. Is this blog about politics? Nope. What this blog is about is clinical education, health science research, instruction, trends in searching, public health, epidemiology, health care environments… and the infrastructure supporting these ideas and practices.

This month – from a public health viewpoint – it is troubling to read and hear about challenges to the health care safety net that the 2012 budget proposals being set forth by House Republicans have raised.  If their version of health care reform is enacted, the health care delivery system for children, disabled individuals or senior citizens will be very different by year 2021.

Families USA, a nonprofit policy group, published a report last week that examines the Republicans’ health care reform proposals; it is available online at no cost by clicking here.  It is highly critical of the proposals. Below are two screenshots from this report:

Image Sources: http://tinyurl.com/3bhsjf5 – All rights reserved – copyright 2011

_____________________________________

At this link, the proposed 2012 budget set forth by the current administration can be read online via the Congressional Budget Office (216-page PDF).  Also see a link to the Health Care section for specific numbers and rebuttals to the Republican proposals.


Thanks to Matthew Sturdevant, insurance reporter for The Courant (Hartford, CT newspaper website) for the link to the Families USA report.

News, University of Connecticut, New Leadership: Radio Interview with Dr. Susan Herbst

Spring has finally arrived.  At this time of year March Madness – it is so easy to get caught up in the hoopla and excitement surrounding men and womens’ College Basketball.  In 2011, this is made easier by the fact that both the UConn women and the men are doing very well in tournament play… Go Huskies!

However, a lasting and more significant change in academic leadership is set to take place in July 2011, with the arrival of the next University of Connecticut president, Dr. Susan Herbst.

This month on Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPTV), local affiliate of National Public Radio (NPR), Dr. Herbst was interviewed on the talk-radio series Where We Live.  Host John Dankosky conducted the hour-long interview on Mar 22 2011.

Below is a screenshot of the Where We Live site and a link to the transcript of the interview:

Image credit: http://www.cpbn.org/where-we-live-full-episode-archive – All rights reserved – copyright 2011

_________________________________

Welcome to Dr. Herbst!  For more current news about University of Connecticut, click on  http://today.uconn.edu (main campus) or for UCHC news, go to: http://today.uchc.edu.  

News, Public Health, Environmental & Human Catastrophes: The World Watches Japan

Image Source: International Tsunami Information Center –  All rights reserved – copyright 2011

Life-changing events continue hard for the citizens of Japan, as the world watches them cope with multiple environmental disasters after surviving a 9.0 magnitude earthquake (a Big One) that hit near the northeast coast of the island near Honshu on Friday, Mar 11 2011.  An eyewitness filmed this video clip which illustrates with utter clarity the frightening speed and power with which the ocean wave destroyed portions of Miyako City (footage from BBC website, dated Mar 17 2011). The latest death toll shows that 10,000 perished on that day, another 12,000 are still unaccounted for ten days later.

For the estimated 500,000 survivors, the basics of human requirements are being met, but supplies are scarce.  Many are living in shelters.  It will take months to clean up the rubble, and years to restore the damage to the infrastructure. As those who lost loved ones are required to re-define their “new normal”, psychological and counseling services will be in demand.

The challenges facing officials in the Japanese government in the aftermath of the quake and tsunami started out complex and have only grown more so over last ten days. A different public health emergency for these agencies is to contain radioactive materials from being released by quake- and tsunami-damaged nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (built in 1979), an event which has been described as one of the most serious civil nuclear accidents in history.  Protection of humans from exposure to radiation is of course the immediate concern; downstream, scientists will have a large amounts of data to collect as they examine health effects from three separate catastrophes.

Below is a map illustrating the 20km exclusion zone (12.4-mile radius) surrounding the Fukushima power facility (from BBC, published Mar 21 2011):

Image Source: BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12802335 – All rights reserved – copyright 2011

________________________________________

Following is a brief selection of sources for links to specific medical information and relief efforts taking place in Japan – mainly from websites outside of the country.*

Image Source: Google Crisis Response: Japan 2011 – All rights reserved – copyright 2011

______________________________________

American Public Health Association (APHA) this month is providing online free access to their 2006 field handbook, Public Health Management of Disasters: The Pocket Guide (55-page PDF).  Below is shown page 42and 43:

Image Source: APHA Disaster Guide – All rights reserved – copyright 2011

__________________________________

National Library of Medicine (NLM ) produces many information resources for epidemiologists, clinicians and public health officials to use to deal with environmental disasters. Since the monies to fund these agencies is from public tax-dollars, everything on the sites from NLM is on open access, available to anyone in the world to use.  How cool is that!

First, Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET), is a gateway site from which groups of individual database can be searched.  Below is a sample search on the term “radiation“:

Image Source: NLM Toxnet – All rights reserved – copyright 2011

Another resource from NLM:  Disaster Medicine & Public Health Literature, a practical and multi-purpose website.  One example of what can be found here: A schematic describing Public Health Preparedness and Response Competency Map (Dec 2010), produced by Association of Schools of Public Health, one of the accrediting bodies for institutions offering MPH/DoctorPH degrees. Worth a look, at:

Image Source: ASPH –  All rights reserved – copyright 2011

Environmental Health & Toxicology is a wide-ranging portal from NLM. After clicking on the “health professionals” link… I found access to IUPAC (International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry and Human Health Division) Glossary of Terms Used in Toxicology and went to a random letter (I) to take a look (below):

Image Source: NLM: IUPAC Glossary –  All rights reserved – copyright 2011

Many other quality information resources are available from the NLM Specialized Information Services Division... too many to describe, free access for anyone.

_________________________________________

Lastly: This 6-minute instructional video called Tsunami Teacher describes how tsunamis form, how to recognize if one is likely to take place, and testimonials from those who have survived them.  It is a basic tutorial.

An iconical, enduring image about a terrible subject: “Great Wave off Kanagawa“, a colored woodblock print by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) is one print in a series produced between 1829 and 1833.

Image source: Wikipedia – All rights reserved – copyright 2011

.

* Thanks to librarians at the National Library of Medicine, who earlier this month posted some of these websites on the MED-LIB listserv, which started the idea for this post.

News, Holidays: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today, Feb 14 2011

is St. Valentine’s Day!

Hope your day turns out Sweet



News, Information Seeking Behaviors, Research: Project Information Literacy surveys College Students

Wow…  Been away from blogging for so long I’m relieved to remember how it works! 8) *

Health literacy is a key focus for librarians who interact frequently with patients looking for information about their own health issues.

Larger, more universal information-seeking behaviors and lifelong learning strategies are topics of ongoing interest to two information scientists at the University of Washington Information School who started Project Information Literacy (PIL) in 2008. Lead researcher Alison P. Head is the Co-Director of the project along with Michael Eisenberg, professor at the iSchool. Funding is provided by the MacArthur Foundation.  Here is a description of the scope of PIL from the home page:

Project Information Literacy is a study “across” different types of campuses (community colleges, state colleges, and public and private universities) from different geographic areas in the U.S.  Our goal is to help fill in some of the “missing pieces” of the information literacy puzzle and provide data that helps answer some of the following questions:  1) How do early adults (in their own words) put their information literacy competencies into practice in learning environments in a digital age, regardless of how they may measure up to standards for being information literate? 2) With the proliferation of online resources and new technologies, how do early adults recognize the information needs they may have and in turn, how do they locate, evaluate, select and use the information that is needed? 3) How can teaching the critical and information literacy skills that are needed to enable lifelong learning be more effectively transferred to college students? “

The newest progress report from PIL was published Nov 1 2010 and may be of interest to anyone who uses a real or digital library in 2010, as it describes findings from a large survey of undergraduate students from around the U.S., asking 22 standard questions about how they plan, execute and assess their research efforts for required course work.

It is 72 pages in length, and entitled “Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age“, available free and online for anyone to read. Following is an excerpt from the introduction:

In this [2010] report, we continue our investigation by asking how students evaluate information and use information once they have found it. What difficulties do students encounter with course-related and everyday life research from start to finish? We collected data to answer these questions by administering a student survey in the spring of 2010 to 112,844 undergraduates. Our findings are based on a collective sample of 8,353 students enrolled at 25 U.S. colleges and universities “.

Source: http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_Fall2010_Survey_FullReport1.pdf

_______________________

I was interested to read these “background” questions that Dr. Head and Dr. Eisenberg wanted to learn more about:

Source: http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_Fall2010_Survey_FullReport1.pdf

Their work is of practical value to anyone who uses – or works in – an academic library.

Also see a video about Project Information Literacy on YouTube, at this link.

.

*My daughter told me to stop using Smiley Faces, but that “it’s OK because I don’t know any better”.

 

 

 

News: Here’s a new look for the Blog

Whenever WordPress announces that a new theme has been added to their collection of free templates, I test them  out.  This new theme, zBench, is a winner! Hope you like it.  Bear with me while I fidget with the widgets.

Thanks, WordPress.

This week I will get back to blogging after a very active teaching load in October.

News, Patient Education, Teaching & Learning in Medicine: October is Health Literacy Month

 

October is National Medical Librarians Month in the U.S.

The theme for 2010 is Health Literacy

Here is a screenshot of the poster created by Medical Library Association for this event:

Image credit: Medical Library Association – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

Health science librarians are in a unique position to work with patients and their families who seek current, credible and authoritative medical information in order to learn more about their recent diagnosis, review options for choosing treatments, or to anticipate changes in their lifestyle or living situations after treatment has ended (as examples).

Medical Library Association (MLA), a nonprofit educational organization with 5,000 members worldwide, has devoted time and care over the past decade to develop websites and resource guides specifically targeted at training librarians who provide information services to patients or family members. Their Health Information Literacy page can be viewed at http://www.mlanet.org/resources/healthlit/

One of the larger special interest sections sponsored by MLA is Consumer and Patient Information Section (or CAPHIS). A related program directed by MLA staff is the Consumer Health Information initiative, and in 2007, the association created a formal certificate program in that specialty for information professionals.

Open to everyone on the MLA website are topic pages about educational resources. Here are two examples: Resources for Health Consumers and Deciphering Medspeak which links to medical terminology handouts (in English or Spanish languages), online medical dictionary, a prescription shorthand guide and a list of the “Top Ten Most Useful Medical Websites” for patients.

_____________________________

For those pursuing research on strategies to address Low Health Literacy, Health Disparities or Health of Minority Populations, some valuable step-savers are available on the PubMed Special Queries” which provide links to pre-formulated, highly specific search statements (or search queries) that can be run singly in PubMed or combined with other relevant subject searches.

Below are screenshots from two Special Queries websites: Health Literacy and for Health Disparities & Minority Health Populations

and

Image credit(s): National Library of Medicine – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

_____________________________

Other teaching or service organizations that offer patient-centered tutorials, podcasts or written information addressing disparities in health care delivery can be found on this very brief list:

  • From a workshop in 2008 sponsored by Society for General Internal Medicine (SGIM), read a 3-page handout on teaching “Health Literacy for the Clinician Educator“at this link. There are many useful links in the bibliography section of this report.

_________________________________

Finally: In May 2010, a 73-page report detailing a National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy was announced by the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Resources, Division of Health Literacy. Following is an excerpt from that HHS website, explaining this public health initiative:

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Limited health literacy affects people of all ages, races, incomes, and education levels, but the impact of limited health literacy disproportionately affects lower socioeconomic and minority groups. “
” It affects people’s ability to search for and use health information, adopt healthy behaviors, and act on important public health alerts. Limited health literacy is also associated with worse health outcomes and higher costs….   ”
” This report contains seven goals that will improve health literacy and suggests strategies for achieving them: Develop and disseminate health and safety information that is accurate, accessible, and actionable ; promote changes in the health care system that improve health information, communication, informed decision-making, and access to health services ; incorporate accurate, standards-based and developmentally appropriate health and science information and curricula in child care and education through the university level ; support and expand local efforts to provide adult education, English language instruction, and culturally and linguistically appropriate health information services in the community ; build partnerships, develop guidance, and change policies ; increase basic research and the development, implementation, and evaluation of practices and interventions to improve health literacy and increase the dissemination and use of evidence-based health literacy practices and interventions“.
Text Source: http://www.health.gov/communication/HLActionPlan/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

News, Progress: New Look for the Blog

Imagine my surprise to return from vacation this Monday to discover that the EBM & Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC blog has been given a new look…. not chosen by me!  WordPress has discontinued the former blog-theme Cutline in favor of a theme they introduced in early August, called Coraline.  So while I am sorting out where all my widgets and doo-dads went, please bear with me.

News, Libraries, Librarianship: Medlib’s Round Carnival Edition 2.5!

This is the June 2010 edition of Medlib’s Round Carnival.

This collection of links have been submitted by a (worldwide) group of dedicated bloggers… veteran medical librarians along with a new health science librarian, physicians and scientists contributing to the mix!

The broad  topic of this Carnival is about service. Librarians talk a lot among themselves about providing quality information services and library collections for their core users.   We are great believers in training our library visitors to recognize quality information sources, showing them what to search,  how to search and how to appraise those sources effectively; we also spend considerable time, effort and money to create digital or physical library collections that meet the information needs of our users.  Doing these things well is (actually) more difficult than it appears…  not as difficult as climbing the summit of Mount Everest but definitely made more challenging in an era of rapidly rising costs, disappearing personnel and shrinking budgets.

So without further ado, here is the Medlib’s Round Blog Carnival 2.5.

Jacqueline, blogger at Laika‘s MedLibLog recently wrote:  “It is so important that you know the pros and cons of databases and that you think before you even start searching“. Read her evidence-based discussion here:  “PubMed versus Google Scholar for Retrieving Evidence” (Jun 6 2010).

~   ~   ~   ~   ~    ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Medical Library Association holds an annual conference, which this year was held May 21-26 in Washington, DCKrafty Librarian blogger Michelle Kraft was a conference speaker and official blogger at MLA.  She wrote MLA ’10 Week in Review, an excellent summary and set of links to presentations and other conference activities on her blog – especially valuable to those of us who weren’t able to attend the meeting.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~    ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

As a library student, you don’t get many chances to really dig your teeth into searching databases, unless you’re working on a thesis or have a really extraordinary work opportunity. Basic reference as a student usually involves basic searches for patrons, maybe some instruction, more than a little help given to new or remedial library users. This is why my experience with a systematic search team will be so memorable as a learning experience as I begin to launch my career as a health librarian. “

So wrote recent MLS graduate, Daniel Hooker, who blogs about Health Libraries, Medicine and the Web in a recent post about performing his First Systematic Search using the OvidSP search platform.  Check out the vintage librarian cartoon – what a laugh!

~   ~   ~   ~   ~    ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Psychiatrist Walter van den Broek, who blogs at Dr. Shock, wrote an interesting post for the Carnival entitled “What’s Wrong with the Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest?” (Jun 6 2010).

~   ~   ~   ~   ~    ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Relying on donations, librarian-volunteers collect and ship medical textbooks to American military personnel stationed in war zones throughout the world.  Their service mission is described on the blog Operation Medical Libraries:

” The mission of Operation Medical Libraries is to collect and distribute current medical textbooks and journals to war-torn countries through a partnership with American medical schools, hospitals, and physicians and the United States military… and

to foster the creation of permanent medical libraries and support the expansion of existing collections in conflict regions where health care education and the practice of medicine are suffering “.

Text Source: http://operationmedicallibraries.blogspot.com/ – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

This post on the OML blog is about books sent to Afghanistan in 2009 and the photo below shows a happy library user in that facility:

Photo source: http://operationmedicallibraries.blogspot.com/2009/05/oml-library-in-bagram-af-provides.html – All rights reserved – copyright 2010

~   ~   ~   ~   ~    ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Patients or family members are a common sight in the medical library, seeking current, credible medical information, or advice on where to find those patient education materials.  Technologist-librarian PF Anderson contributes two items to this Carnival on those topics:

Video Source: http://www.youtube.com – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

~   ~   ~   ~   ~    ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

  • BitesizeBio, a blog written by and for lab biologists, offers practical advice on giving, receiving, qualifying and implementing advice in the Apr 26 2010 post, “The Art of Giving of Advice“.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~    ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

And that’s Medlib’s Round Blog Carnival Edition 2.5, folks!  Hope you enjoyed reading it. To all those who sent in submissions, I am grateful and send you heartfelt thanks!

The next edition of MedLib’s Round (July 2010) will be hosted at Laika‘s MedLibLog.

If you have material to submit for that edition, please use this form.  To subscribe to an RSS feed for Medlib’s Round, click here here.

Oncology, Statistics, Summary Reports: Treating Cancer, Living with Cancer

Ask almost anyone you know about cancer, and they will have stories to relate about parents or family, close friends or co-workers (or themselves) who have received a diagnosis of cancer, or are going through treatments, or who have been declared cancer-free.  Living as a cancer survivor has become more common, thankfully, than in previous decades, and represents one of the health success stories of our era.

This post presents a short, eclectic sample of recent cancer-related news, statistics, research or summary reports.  The final portion of the post links to video presentations given by two UCHC research faculty as they discuss clinical and translational cancer research (filmed in November 2009).

____________________________________

First: The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website provides an assortment of statistics or background pieces on state-based social or economic indicators, health initiatives, legislation or other current issues.  This site is a valuable resource for reference librarians, epidemiologists, policy-makers or anyone seeking current statistics about state-sponsored programs.

NCSL provides a collection of documents about Cancer Data, Trends and Policy 2009 reports, free and open to anyone to access (although registration is required to view some of the tables).  That page is where the table describing U.S. Cancer Incidence, 2009 shown below. According to statistics from the American Cancer Association, lung, prostate or breast cancers represent the most common diagnoses in the United States in 2009:

Image Source: http://www.ncsl.org/Portals/1/Documents/magazine/articles/2009/SL0110_Statestats.pdf – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

_____________________________________

Next:  Several paragraphs from a December 2009 article written by Harmon J. Eyre, formerly chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, entitled “Winning the Cancer Fight: Looking at the Future“:

” The medical management of cancer for the past 100 years has grouped cancers by the organ in which they originate and used standard interventions such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.  With the development of the cancer genome anatomy of various cancer sites, individualized cancer therapy will quickly follow.

Specific genetic profiles are being introduced to project the risk of breast cancer recurrence and to shape the choice of treatment agents. We have decades of data on outcomes using estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and human growth factor receptor 2 testing which dictates treatment in breast cancer. Tests such as these are needed for lung, colon, prostate, lymphoma, leukemia, and other cancers. They are beginning to be developed and disseminated, with encouraging early results.

Despite keeping records in cancer registries for many decades, widespread evaluation of the level of quality care in cancer is lacking. We know that large variations in the delivery of care occur by hospital, city, state, and region. There are a number of groups working to develop indicators of quality cancer care, but there is a lack of agreement on these indicators and they are not being widely collected. For optimal outcomes, quality care has to be delivered nationwide to all cancer patients. ”

Text Source: Page 863 – Primary Care, Vol. 36:859-865 (December 2009) – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

_________________________________________

An 18-page annual report from American Society of Clinical Oncology entitled “Clinical Cancer Advances 2009: Major Research Advances in Cancer Treatment, Prevention, and Screening—A Report
From the American Society of Clinical Oncology
” was published in December, 2009.  Following is an excerpt from this report:

This report [from ASCO] now it its fifth year, was developed under the guidance of a 18-person editorial board made up of leading oncologists and other cancer specialists… The editors reviewed research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and the results of research presented at major scientific meetings over a 1-year period (October 2008 to September 2009).

Only studies that significantly altered the way a cancer is understood or had an important impact on patient care were included. Research in each section is divided into “major advances” and “notable advances,” depending on the impact of the advance on patient care and survival. “

Excerpt from ” Clinical Cancer Advances 2009: Major Research Advances in Cancer Treatment, Prevention, and Screening—A Report“, published Dec 10 2009 in Journal of Clinical Oncology – Vol. 27, No. 35:6052-606

ASCO provides links to reference information about current cancer treatments for physicians or other clinical staff, called Cancer Portal, which can be accessed at this link.

The society also provides free cancer information targeted for people living with cancer on their website, Cancer.net.

_______________________________________

Next: Two segments from a lecture series given in 2009 by UCHC faculty.  Oncologist Susan Tannenbaum is Medical Director of the Clinical & Translational ResearchProgram at UCHC, is shown in a 54-minute presentation on trends and improvements in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.

The second video is a presentation on translational research given by Kevin P. Claffey, PhD, who is co-director of the UConn Health Center Breast Cancer Translational Research Group and an associate professor in Cell Biology, Center for Vascular Biology.

.

_____________________________________

Video Credits: http://mediasite.uchc.edu/Mediasite41/Viewer/?peid=22f078e3c075411380af60acdab8da83 – All rights reserved – Copyright UCHC 2010

_____________________________________

Next: Regarding a May 6 2010 New York Times editorial written by Nicholas D. Kristof:

In “New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer” (column, May 5 2010) writer Nicholas D. Kristof drew attention to a document being released by the President’s Cancer Panel that warns that – in Mr. Kristof’s words – “our lackadaisical approach to regulation may have far-reaching consequences for our health. ”

Text Source: The New York Times – All rights reserved – Copyright 2010

.

I found readers’ comments as (or more) interesting to read as the original editorial.  There are 200+  comments which can be read at this link:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/08/opinion/l08kristof.html