Thank you to those who provided suggestions of community-based health organizations (CBHO) to connect with at the September NNLM R4 Connections meeting. Engaging these organizations will be key to our team-based, community-driven approach. CBHOs focus on building equity across all streams including health care, the environment, quality of education, and access to technology. Our regional outreach programs will strive to support their work with funding opportunities, trainings, and collaborations.
A couple of participants noted their desire to be collaborators, but stated some barriers: solo librarianship, overwhelmed with job duties, and lack of time. R4 engagement specialists take these comments to heart and we are currently discussing how some of the barriers could be mitigated. We want to enhance the work you are doing, not create more work for you. CBHOs often face the same barriers, doing amazing work on a shoestring budget. If our program can help facilitate partnerships with libraries, public health departments, other organizations, or clinical care, everyone’s work to meet the unique health information needs of their communities can be extended.
We were really lucky to have a MLIS practicum student Katie Larsen who initiated work on our Proximity Project where we are exploring the proximity of libraries to public health departments to community-based health organizations in the region with ArcGIS. This is a mapping tool that allows us to build interactive maps and enhance them with authoritative location-based data. Here’s an example:
I hope to see more of our region’s members at the next Connections meeting. If you are working with a CBHO, or have ideas of organizations you think we should be working with, please let me know.
Dana Abbey, Engagement Specialist (AZ, CO, NM)
Dana Abbey is an Engagement Coordinator with the Network of the National Library of Medicine, Region 4. For over 15 years, she has worked to improve the public’s access to reliable information to enable informed decisions regarding health, and to enhance access to evidence-based research for clinicians and the public health workforce.