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Free professional development for health and medical information

With the start of a new year, many people make health-related resolutions. I’d like to propose one such resolution for the new year: be (and help our students be) more health literate.

National Network of Libraries of Medicine logoA few months ago, I started a new position at the University of Western States, which specializes in programs in integrative health care. I quickly became aware of trainings available from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM). A hat tip goes to Laura Zeigen at OHSU for suggesting that this would be good information for a blog post!

I participated in a six-part webinar series on PubMed for Librarians, an invaluable (and free!) training series. Each online session was an hour long, so it was convenient to fit it into my schedule. It was an excellent professional development opportunity that paid off immediately in my day-to-day work.

In general, the trainings cover a wide variety of topics and from the perspective of working with different patron populations. My only regret was not knowing about these trainings sooner; they would have been valuable in working with health professions students at area community colleges.

The NNLM also provides targeted resources for evaluating health websites and conducting the consumer health reference interview, including ethical concerns.

Know the Science logo

NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health logoAnother great health resource is the Know the Science series from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). It has interactive modules, videos, and tutorials that help users understand complex scientific topics related to health research and become more health literate. There are a number of resources about understanding complementary health care, dietary supplements, and unpacking the concept of natural medicines. In a state like Oregon, where so many people use complementary and integrative health care, the resources from NCCIH are highly relevant and useful.

Stephanie Debner
University of Western States

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