In her first blog post of 2019, NLM Director Dr. Patti Brennan had many exciting updates to share. First, as of January 1, NLM has a new organizational chart that anticipates the outcome of a first phase of reorganization that will be implemented over the coming year. This initial phase focuses on consolidating NLM staff and related programs into fewer divisions and offices to improve efficiency and our overall effectiveness. Details of these changes will continue to be worked on during the year, with regular updates on the progress and the implications for specific NLM programs and services.
Missing from the new organizational chart is the Specialized Information Services (SIS) Division, the place within NLM that addressed the health information needs of specific communities, including Native Americans, minority-serving institutions, and urban teens. Commitment to these and other populations traditionally underserved within health care have not wavered, but NLM is working to ensure both the sustainability of this notable work and its integration into the fabric of the new NLM. The new, streamlined organization will incorporate within other offerings the critical information resources and services SIS originally provided.
Second, the Office of High Performance Computing and Communications, situated within the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications since the early 1990s, has closed. This unit offered many innovations over the years, advancing health computing to the 21st century and launching one of NLM’s most incredible ventures, the Visible Human Project. NLM will continue to make the Visible Human data available, but staff from the Office will be incorporated into other branches of the Lister Hill Center.
The third arm of the reorganization integrates the creative design and development services of the Audiovisual Programs Development Branch, also from the Lister Hill Center, into NLM’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison. This realignment will help incorporate advanced media and visualization techniques into NLM’s robust communication programs to better inform the public of the many information services and research advances.
Finally, NLM is renaming its Office of Health Information Programs Development the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI). OSI will play a key role in advancing NLM efforts in data and open science, program evaluation, and the strategic plan implementation.
Along with these changes there will be assessment of staff skills and evaluation of interests to best align those skills and interests with NLM’s evolving needs. NLM is committed to retaining its federal staff as functions are realigned, and will do its best to ensure matching of the talented staff with work they enjoy and the Library needs.