by Yamila El-Khayat
Outreach Services Librarian
Health Sciences Library
University of Arizona
With an emphasis on increasing health literacy, the University of Arizona Health Sciences library has been able to reach numerous audiences in the state of Arizona with the funding support of our outreach award from the NNLM PSR. This article highlights a few key events conducted during the past year.
This year we were invited to exhibit at 11 different fairs, all related to either health or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). In northern Arizona, we attended the Flagstaff Science Festival a Day at the Park, an event where we had 531 visitors to our booth. We were also invited to attend both the Graham County Health Fair and the Gila County Health and STEM Fair, attracting 741 individuals to our booth. During all three events, we featured MedlinePlus and had activities for children to learn more about health. Activities included Skeletoni kits for learning about the skeletal system and the opportunity to demonstrate a 3D printer for learning how this new technology is being used in the health sciences.
Twenty of our programs were specific to K-12 populations this year. A total of 513 children and youths attended our programs. This year we expanded our programs to reach younger children. For example, we introduced health concepts to K-5th grade students and presented a mini-introduction of MedlinePlus. Older children learned the basics of research, including how to identify the differences between reliable resources and non-trustworthy sources. Another project that we kicked off was working with middle school aged children, introducing them to research, environmental health and walking them through a problem-solving mission utilizing a 3D printer to improve health.
We were invited to talk to students about NLM’s Native Voices exhibit at Dine College in Tsaile, AZ. Patricia Bradley from the University of New Mexico and Samanthi Hewakapuge from Dine College in Shiprock, NM, joined me to put together a presentation highlighting the Native Voices exhibit. Through this effort, an iPad with the downloaded application of Native Voices was given to the Dine College Library for students to browse through the oral stories of the collection. During this presentation, we also had the opportunity to talk about medical librarianship as a career option for students to pursue.
In summary, this year offered us the opportunity to engage with 4102 people from all parts of Arizona. Forty-three events were completed including presentations and exhibits. With support from the NNLM PSR outreach award, we made new connections and have stayed in contact with current partners working to jointly increase the levels of health literacy within the state.