198602 A simple plan to reach for the stars with consumer health education

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 10:45 AM

Nakia J. Carter, MSIS , Quillen College of Medicine Library, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Rick Wallace, EdD , Quillen College of Medicine Library, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Background: Health illiteracy is a major problem in the United States. Libraries should have a key role in solving this problem. This presentation describes a plan to train public library workers in Tennessee to confidently answer consumer health information queries. The goal of this project is to enable Tennesseans to find high quality information for their health questions and to train a state-wide public library workforce to be comfortable with searching for consumer health information.

Methods: A project was enacted in 3 regions of the state regional public library system covering 17 counties. Four free classes designed by the National Networks of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) were taught. These classes focused on the issues of how to search for, evaluate, and ethically provide consumer health information.

Results: Five hundred and thirty-three students attended the classes. One of the three targeted public library regions consisted of seven counties and 23 libraries. Almost 100% of the staff at these libraries attended all 16 hours of instruction. Fifty-two public library workers received the MLA's Consumer Health Information Specialist (CHIS) certification.

Conclusion: The future plan will require a partnership among medical librarians across the state to train the public library workers. A planning meeting was held in Nashville with the leadership team of the project meeting with the state's regional library directors and the state librarian (TSLA). The state's regional library directors have agreed to assist in coordinating the implementation in the remaining library regions.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe a method of utilizing the Public Library System to provide consumer health information to the public.

Keywords: Health Information, Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I currently work as a Clinical Reference Librarian for the past 3 years, prior to that I was the Consumer Health Librarian for a year and a half. I am working on a second Masters Degree in Public Health with an emphasis on Epidemiology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.