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Region 7 Update January 28th, 2022
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Member Spotlight- Meet 2019-2020 NLM Associate Fellow Sharon Han

Posted by on January 14th, 2022 Posted in: Blog

Sharon Han

Sharon Han (she/her) is a librarian in central Connecticut, and member of the NLM Fellowship Class 2019-2020. The National Library of Medicine is accepting applications now through January 28th for their Associate Fellowship Program, so we thought this would be a great opportunity to share about Sharon’s work and her experience as an NLM Associate Fellow.

What is one word you would use to describe the NNLM?


Vast both in NNLM members and in NNLM staff’s skills and interests. Sharon mentioned that hearing Network of the National Library of Medicine, you might only think of libraries.  However, there are many types of organizations that make up the membership of the NNLM and who make use of NLM resources, such as universities, community-based organizations, hospitals, and many more. For Sharon, this showed her that, “different organizations with aligned goals can make great partners to improve health and access to health information in their communities.”

What lead you to pursue the NLM Fellowship?

Sharon was completing her MSLIS degree when she applied for the NLM Fellowship. She reports that having worked and studied in Illinois, she was drawn to NLM’s focus on librarianship at the national level. Sharon felt the fellowship would be a good way to learn about the broader health information issues and nationwide efforts to address those and then how to translate those efforts back to local communities.

Sharon has experience working in public and academic libraries, as well as museums and makerspaces, so she was also drawn to the breadth of projects and opportunities to learn new skills available through the fellowship.

Can you share some examples of projects you participated in?

During her fellowship, Sharon was able to work on different types of projects across fields, such as history of medicine, data collection, ILL, and outreach and engagement. Sharon shared that working in NLM and NNLM, she has found that people are very open to sharing about their work and collaborating on projects.

What did you enjoy most?

The opportunities for different experiences and meeting the other Fellowship cohort members.  There are typically 3-6 Fellows chosen for each cohort and her group had four. Sharon is grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow together with fellow early career librarians who come from different professional backgrounds and geographic regions. Working with, learning with and from them was a very important part of the experience and Sharon reports that she continues to be in touch with the other Fellows from her cohort.

What was a project you could highlight from your fellowship?

Sharon discussed her project with the DOCLINE team at NLM. They analyzed request data to see if there are changes in types of requests during public health emergencies in the United States. Sharon was able to learn skills in data curation, cleaning, and visualization. Sharon also interviewed DOCLINE staff and emergency health information professionals, such as librarians from the CDC, to learn how this data might be useful.  Of note, this work happened pre-pandemic. Sharon stated that she developed an appreciation for timely and accessible information and the importance of having systems in place to share accurate information.

The long-term impact of this project is that they were able to publish a peer-reviewed manuscript about the project, which was a great way to share what they learned.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1072303X.2021.1934216

How did you feel the fellowship helped you grow as a librarian?

Sharon’s professional work experience had primarily focused on outreach and engagement in libraries, museums, and makerspaces, so the fellowship helped her learn about how quality, responsive data collection and data management are integral to effective research, development, and service. She also grew in appreciation for the need for information to be accessible, especially for those who are often underrepresented and underserved.

Sharon reports that she developed skills as a project manager which she uses every day in her work. She also strengthened her belief that you don’t have to work in a traditional library to practice good librarianship and that her skills and professional knowledge can be put to good use in a variety of environments.

Can you tell us about your current work?

Sharon is an Engagement Specialist for NNLM’s All of Us National Program, which is funded through a partnership between NLM and the NIH All of Us Research Program (All of Us). One way that All of Us is unique is their national focus. Sharon supports engagement activities through grants management, virtual events, and communications.

One project Sharon has been working on is onboarding over 20 new sub awardees from community-based organizations such as public libraries to implement health and digital literacy projects in their communities. The cumulative program amount of over $450,000 will be used to raise awareness about All of Us and provide the skills needed to be a participant in clinical research. Sharon says it’s been rewarding to work with community organizations to learn about their goals and help them leverage NLM resources in their communities.

Is there anything you have really enjoyed about living in Region 7?

Sharon has lived in the area for about 2 years and being from the Midwest, she doesn’t take the ocean or good seafood for granted. She recently visited Portland, Maine for the first time for vacation and loved being, walking around, and exploring the area.

What else would you like to share with Region 7?

If you would like to learn more about resources, funding, or events with the NNLM All of Us National Program, check out their website: https://allofus.nnlm.gov/

ALSO… All of Us will be featuring a free documentary film screening and discussion of FAUCI on January 27th. Any library is welcome to promote the event to their community. For more information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/all-of-us-research-program-presents-fauci-film-screening-and-conversation-registration-220919063867



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NNLM Region 7
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-5985

This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

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