by Annabelle Nuñez, M.A.
University of Arizona Health Sciences Library
The University of Arizona Health Sciences Library (UAHSL) works to extend the reach of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM-PSR) in Arizona communities with the support of a cooperative agreement designed to enhance the access to and engagement with health information. UAHSL staff consult with stakeholder communities as they plan and carry out outreach programs for Arizona that include promotion of and training in the use of National Library of Medicine resources. Our specialty is to offer training workshops around the state that assist librarians, K-12 students and educators, community health workers, health professionals, and members of the public to become effective users of digital content and electronic resources as well as improve their skills at identifying accurate health information.
One of the key highlights in 2018 was UAHSL Outreach Librarian Yamila El-Khayat’s opportunity to collaborate with a program coordinator of the Ventanilla de Salud program at the Mexican Consulate of Tucson. Together they offered a workshop on social determinants of health as an approach to health education and promotion in the Hispanic community. Twenty community health workers/promotoras participated in the workshop and learned about NLM products. This work was featured in a video presented during the NLM Update at the 2018 Medical Library Association Annual Meeting in Atlanta, raising the profile of work being done in Arizona and in NNLM’s Pacific Southwest Region!
There is a tremendous push in K-12 education to increase curriculum in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. From an interdisciplinary lens, STEM subjects cross over seamlessly into the health sciences. For example, bioengineering for medical devices and 3D prototyping for clinical investigations. Visiting schools with 3D printers during events like a career fair is often the first time students get to see how 3D printing works. It is a great opportunity for Yamila to talk about 3D applications in health. We see how exposing students to 3D technology prepares them for thinking about health sciences with innovation in mind. This type of engagement also took place during the STEM festivals held in Prescott, Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson. Here too was the perfect opportunity to promote NLM products among the attendees interested in STEM.
In 2019, Yamila attended a tour of the Salt River Tribal Library and the Way of Life Facility. Yamila and Naomi Bishop, a new librarian at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix Biomedical Campus Library, have begun to explore programming ideas with the Salt River Tribal Community. This is a new opportunity for UAHSL, and a great prospect for collaboration with our colleague in Phoenix.
In summary, this year gave us the opportunity to connect with 2611 participants throughout the state. We engaged in twenty-six events that included training, exhibiting, and presentations. The cooperative agreement permitted us to continue working with our collaborators engaging with new participants and clients, as well as explore programming with new partners, all in an effort to raise awareness of NLM products and increase health literacy.