National Library of Medicine
The 2016-17 school year featured progress among Utah high school HOSA chapters to participate in the Health Information Ambassador pilot program sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), HOSA, and the NNLM MidContinental Region.
HOSA (or the Health Occupations Student Association; www.hosa.org) is a national student organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Education Division of the Association for Career and Technical Education.
The HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador program is intended to introduce MedlinePlus.gov to future health care professionals while they are in high school. The pilot program is designed to encourage the use of MedlinePlus.gov and other web health resources in grades 9-12 as well as surrounding community health educational settings. The long-range goals of the HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador program are to increase MedlinePlus’s and NLM’s visibility and foster sustainable health educational activities within HOSA chapters.
2016-17 was the second year of the pilot and resulted in participation by 18 high schools in Utah compared to one school in 2015-16 (Timpview High School in Provo).
There are two levels of recognition for HOSA students. To achieve the first level, Health Information Ambassador, students demonstrate the ability to find evidence-based health information on the Internet and to navigate MedlinePlus.gov, by passing a written test. For the second level, Health Information Ambassador Certificate of Merit, students demonstrate their ability teach peers or community members to find evidence-based heath information on the Internet.
Thirty-three Utah high school students received a HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador award and 18 Utah high school students received a HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador Certificate of Merit award in 2016-2017. While the number of high school students who received a HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador award during the current academic year declined, the number of students who received a HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador Certificate of Merit increased.
Three high schools received the HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador chapter award in 2016-17; only one Utah HOSA chapter received this award in 2015-16. This recognition is for schools who have three or more students receive the Health Ambassador Certificate of Merit.
Following a suggestion from Denise Abbott, HOSA’s state coordinator in Utah, the NNLM MCR conducted training for 18 HOSA chapter advisors, who are high school teachers, at HOSA’s Utah conference in October 2016. The fall training program was followed by webinar training for HOSA advisors and student members that was provided to 30 additional students and teachers.
HOSA Utah recently appointed a Task Force to begin to prepare new lesson plans for high school teachers about evidence-based health information seeking and the use of MedlinePlus.gov. National HOSA is funding this curricula development.
HOSA Utah expects the lesson plans created by the Task Force to be useable in state HOSA chapters and across the U.S. Hence, the Task Force’s work may create a foundation for the expansion of the HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador’s development in Utah as well as other states.
The NNLM MidContinental Region, NLM, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and HOSA Utah look forward to the expansion of the pilot program in 2017-18.