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Region 7 Update July 19th, 2024
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May

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Member Spotlight: Agnes Skowron from the CT Clearinghouse Library

Posted by on May 28th, 2024 Posted in: Blog, Member Spotlight, Weekly Newsletter
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In this blog post, we will hear from Agnes Skowron, Librarian for the CT Clearinghouse, which provides information and resources related to health promotion, substance use prevention, recovery, harm reduction, mental health and more. Funded by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the key resources shared in this article are for those who live and work in Connecticut, but others in Region 7 will also learn about program ideas to consider, linked national and informational online resources, as well as ideas and inspiration for locating or supporting health information access in your area.

I had the pleasure of meeting Agnes Skowron and touring the CT Clearinghouse Library when the Connecticut Association of Health Science Librarians visited as part of their professional development events. We had the opportunity to hear about many of the great programs offered and I wanted to share these with Region 7.

What is a book that you have read recently?

Agnes recommends Suddenly by Isabelle Autissier, the fictional story of a young couple sailing around the world. Near Cape Horn they consider visiting an island which had been an old whaling outpost and is currently a research island. Agnes describes the story as one of growth and personal strength after trauma. She also recommends reading this book on a rainy day when you are feeling warm, cozy, safe and secure.

Tell us about your position/institution.

Agnes Skowron

Agnes Skowron is the librarian of the Connecticut Clearinghouse, the state’s library and information center on drugs, alcohol, and mental health, and a program of the  Connecticut Center for Prevention Wellness and Recovery (CCPWR). The library holds an array of books, DVDs, curricula, fact sheets, posters, and more. Their most frequent patrons are educators, therapists, and healthcare professionals, but they are open to the public. Library items can be located through FindIT CT and delivered through library courier service to local libraries or you can visit the library Monday through Friday 8:30-5:00. Pamphlets and Posters can be ordered and shipped within Connecticut. Library membership is free and open to individuals who live or work in Connecticut.

There are a variety of factsheets on the website available for download by anyone. Some resources are Connecticut specific, but there are frequently curated resources from national sources.

Can you tell me about the other programs at the Center for Prevention, Wellness & Recovery?

Wheeler CCPWR, a program of Wheeler Clinic which supports health and wellness including behavioral and physical health, includes a variety of programs, such as the Change the Script Van,  The Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative, Youth Recovery Programs and much more.

Connecticut Libraries and Community Based Organizations can schedule a visit from the Change the Script Van to attend events or the van can visit a library. They have resources on topics such as medication safety and can provide naloxone training.  CT Clearinghouse also attends events in the community to share materials and resources in support of substance abuse prevention and mental health.

CT Healthy Campus Initiative provides support and education to college campus professionals through professional development and technical assistance with the goals of building campus knowledge and capacity to support prevention and recovery work.

YouthRecoveryCT efforts support individuals and families in recovery. Find information about opioid treatment in Connecticut, order pamphlets and posters, training events for professionals, and support groups for youth and young adults (16-24).

Another important project is the Substance Exposed Pregnancy Initiative of Connecticut (SEPI-CT) which provides resources and training for individuals, professionals, and systems to build capacity to “improve the health and well-being of infants born substance-exposed through supporting the recovery of pregnant people and their families”.  You can find more information and a variety of resources on their website.

What about your work do you most want to share with the NNLM community?

CCPWR offers monthly webinars and in-person events related to mental health and substance use disorder. Check out the CT Clearinghouse May Newsletter which shares resources for Mental Health Awareness Month, National Prevention Week, and upcoming in-person and virtual events.  Some of the upcoming events are in-person training on Mental Health First Aid and QPR Training (a suicide prevention program which stands for Question, Persuade, Refer).

The Prevention listserv shares information about upcoming events and opportunities related to mental health, prevention and substance use disorders in Connecticut and beyond.

Register for Mental Health and Substance Misuse Awareness Events | CT Clearinghouse

For those outside of Connecticut, you can locate a range of training opportunities and recordings of webinars. These can be accessed for free on a range of topics from vaping, to gambling, to the role of the gut in mental health.

What is your favorite NLM resource?

The trainings. Agnes shared that she always finds something interesting and always something great to learn. She also appreciates the availability of online trainings.

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

Indispensable

What is something people may not know about you?

Agnes grew up bilingual and attended Polish language school on Saturdays as a child. As an adult, it’s become so vital in helping her aging family members navigate the healthcare system. She has also participated in simulated patient/interpreter sessions with medical students at UCONN, to help them learn about conducting clinical interviews with people who have limited or no English language skills.

What is the coolest thing about your library/organization/state/etc?

The opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life – from helping professionals to people with lived experience.

Want to learn more about the Connecticut Clearinghouse? Visit their website, read a newsletter, or sign up for their email list serv.

Note from NNLM Region 7: Librarians may also be interested in reading this article from Public Libraries Online to learn about Take ‘em Back: The Importance of Proper Prescription Drug Disposal – Public Libraries Online.

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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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