MLA Lightening Round Recap

June 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Posted in Professional Development | Leave a comment

Big Bang Health Information Literacy: Outreach to Diverse Populations
Naomi C. Broering, AHIP, FMLA, Fregory Chauncey, Robert Damone, Stacy Gomes, and Jack Miller
The Pacific College of Oriental College (PCOM) proposed and received an award from the PSR NNLM program to conduct a collaborative health information-training program with six major San Diego institutions including San Diego Public Library, San Diego County Library, Chula Vista Library, AME churches, La Jolla Community Center and the PCOM clinic with its affiliated clinics. The target population was San Diego’s multicultural, diverse and minority population and their community health care providers that need to learn how to access the latest free information from the NLM. Knowledge and information is a proven strategy for future success, improved patient care, and healthier lives.

The goals of this project are to improve information access through outreach training workshops on numerous high demand big bang health topics using NLM’s online resources, and to introduce these resources directly to a large, diverse San Diego population. The project approach included developing, designing and conducting the training workshops in logical phases with multiple tasks and a timetable for successful community outreach. They used the San Diego County population reports to identify priority areas of high racially and ethnically diverse populations to conduct the health information workshops. Although a majority of middle class whites exist, the extraordinarily large Hispanic/Latino, Afro American, Asian, refugee and homeless community represent major challenges to health care providers. To be responsive to community needs, the NLM multiple language resources were used for groups needing instruction in their native tongue.

Four project objectives to implement interactive community workshops were to:
1. Develop customized training programs on subjects pertinent to community morbidity, mortality, and health concerns such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer, HIV AIDS, obesity, disasters and emergencies, homelessness, and behavioral conditions. PCOM’s library staff developed instructional programs, manuals and handouts for attendees (public and health providers).
2. Implement and publicize the programs in collaboration with project partners. Select dates and sites convenient to community librarians, local residents and health providers.
3. Conduct training throughout the communities at collaborating San Diego public libraries, health clinics, local churches, community centers and schools. Distribute questionnaires for project evaluation data.
4. Provide training in English and Spanish plus access to multiple languages depending on attendee needs. Implement MedlinePlus & PubMed multiple languages in the instruction and lesson plans.

Because attendees learn in various ways, multiple sources and information tools were used. Medical students and practitioners often search during classes and prefer interactive training. Practitioners who received training benefited by improving their patient communication skills and providing patient education summaries. PCOM library staff is experienced in conducting training sessions and providing technical support.

Phases and tasks to conduct the project included improving access to E-resources, updating the NLM’s systems, designing instructional manuals, organizing a team effort to conduct successful workshops at multiple sites and evaluating outcomes. The preliminary results indicated that few attendees had prior knowledge of MedlinePlus, PubMed and AIDS Info. Nor did they know about numerous clinical trials conducted in San Diego and related treatments available free. Approximately 60% prefer multiple language access; physicians like mobile or iPad access, seniors prefer desktop or laptop computers. Evaluation data was gathered to measure outcomes, possible modifications, and project achievements. Signup sheets, interviews and workshop observations, discussions, plus questionnaires were used for evaluation analysis, suggestions, and program modifications.
A major significance is that this program raised the community’s awareness of available free, reliable health information to improve their well beings, encourage them to find information for self-help, and to live better lives. The project methodology involving a team effort and collaborative arrangements offered superb outreach opportunities to provide training of NLM’s resources at partner sites, and thereby made a profound impact on racially and culturally diverse San Diego residents, and practitioners that serve them. Benefits of the PCOM Library’s web page resources, staff expertise and free instructional materials customized for attendees, provided additional value and participant satisfaction. Continued requests for additional workshops at more community libraries and organizations substantiate a growing need and immeasurable demand to be fulfilled.

I think in the current economic climate and rising healthcare costs are always a barrier for the diverse and minority populations to access health information. As a health science librarian, we often have opportunities to reach out to our patients, patient’s families and the general public in our communities. I learned that we’re not only educating the consumer to seek health information, we are also including the medical professional, to help them utilize the free NLM’s online resources. Their patients may become better educated which will serve to improve patient outcome, as well as advance the doctor-patient relationship. In order to improve future programs, this project took a lot of effort to track the program evaluation data and measure the program outcome, by conducting interviews, discussions, observation and questionnaires. I think it is important to let the minority population know that in their areas a great deal of online or printed health information is written in their own native language. My hospital consumer library often includes health and mental health information brochures in Spanish. Besides, bringing awareness to the above population, we can also educate them the effective way to search for quality health information for themselves and their family members, not necessarily using Google as their primary information source.

Kandace Yuen, MLS, AHIP
Medical Librarian
Connecticut Valley Hospital


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