Symposium: The Informationist in Practice
1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m., Sunday, May 23, 2010, Washington Hilton
Informationists working in three settings—clinical, public health, and bioinformatics—share their experiences and describe their programs, how they got started, requisite training, keys to success, and long-term sustainability. It concludes with a panel on assessing the impact of the service. The symposium is being coordinated by informationists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and includes panelists from programs at Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Pittsburgh, Harvard University, University of Arizona, and Washington University among others, as well as NIH. For anyone who wants to know how, and how well, these programs work, this is a must-attend session, so mark your calendar.
Valerie Florance is deputy director of the grants division at the National Library of Medicine, NIH. There, she has overall responsibility for research and resource grant programs that address basic and applied research topics in biomedical informatics and information sciences and for NLM’s highly regarded university-based informatics training program. Before coming to NLM in February 2001, she spent three years as project director for better_health @ here.now, a visioning project undertaken at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to help the association’s members understand the power of computers and networks. Before that, she held faculty and administrative positions at three academic medical centers. Her research interests are in the areas of knowledge representation for clinical problem solving and in intelligent information retrieval systems. She was a member of the NRC/NAS study that published “Networking Health: Prescriptions for the Internet” in June 2000. She is a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics. She has graduate degrees in medical anthropology and information sciences, including an MLS degree in library science. With Frank Davidoff, in 2000 she wrote the Annals of Internal Medicine editorial that introduced the informationist concept.
Clinical Informationist Panel
Blair Anton is associate director for clinical informationist services at Welch Medical Library, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (JHMI), where she leads a team of clinical librarians who provide embedded informationist service to the JHMI community. Anton has been a clinical librarian at Welch, serving the fourteen divisions of the department of medicine as well as the departments of pediatrics, and anesthesiology and critical care medicine since 2006. Her background includes more than fifteen years of clinical experience as a licensed and certified counseling professional in the behavioral health care field in the state of Illinois. In addition to her extensive clinical experience, she has held managerial positions and supervised staff in hospital-based and community substance abuse and mental health center settings. Her master’s degree in library and information science is from Dominican University; she also holds a bachelor’s degree in English and education from Lawrence University and another master’s in human service counseling from National Louis University.
Carol Howe began her second career as an informationist for the Arizona Reynolds Program of Applied Geriatrics in 2006 when she got her master’s degree in library science and joined the staff of the University of Arizona’s Arizona Health Sciences Library. As a family physician, geriatrician, and medical librarian, Howe collaborates in every aspect of the Reynolds Program as it continues to evolve and in a variety of other Arizona Center on Aging programs. She also represents the University of Arizona on a team with the Mt. Sinai Medical School of Medicine and Vanderbilt University that maintains and continues to develop the Portal of Geriatric Online Education (www.pogoe.org), a national repository of geriatric educational material. Howe currently has a co-appointment as clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Prior to becoming an informationist/librarian, she practiced medicine in a variety of settings, including private practice as a family physician and geriatrician as well as working for the Native Americans for Community Action (NACA) Clinic in Flagstaff and the Tuba City Indian Medical Center on the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona as a family physician.
Rebecca Jerome is the assistant director of the Eskind Biomedical Library and adjunct assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN. Since 1998, Jerome has been involved in critical appraisal of the biomedical literature. As a clinical librarian at the Eskind Biomedical Library, she works closely with Vanderbilt’s Division of Trauma. As a library leader, she coordinates training in critically appraising the medical literature for Eskind librarians. In addition, she leads the library’s collaboration with Vanderbilt’s Evidence-Based Practice Center, collaborating in systematic reviews funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. She has also participated in several library research projects, including conducting an evaluation of one of the library’s consult services as part of her master in public health thesis work. Jerome has served as a member of the Vanderbilt Institutional Review Board’s Health Sciences Committee since 2007.
Pamela Sieving, AHIP, joined the NIH Library as its first informationist in 2001 and currently works with the clinical, research, and administrative staff of the National Eye Institute and with the multi-specialty Tracheotomy Consult Service at the NIH Clinical Center. She was director of library services at the University of Michigan Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences from 1986–2001 and earlier held positions at the University of Michigan graduate library, the University of Illinois–Chicago Circle, Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University, and Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis. Sieving is immediate past chairperson of the Association of Vision Science Librarians and of the MLA Vision Science SIG, and she is active in the American Library Association’s Reference and User Services Association. She is also a member of the editorial board of Archives of Ophthalmology, executive committee of the Cogan Ophthalmic History Society, of the steering committee of the US Cochrane Center’s CEVG@US project, and the vision panel of the World Health Organization (WHO) global burden of disease revision project. She has presented and taught at meetings of the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and World Ophthalmology Congress.
Public Health Informationist Panel
Alicia Livinski joined the NIH Library in 2007. She supports the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the Office of the Secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by providing a variety of information management and research services. She also provides information support to NIH researchers working on a variety of biodefense, chemicals weapons, and emerging and infectious diseases. Prior to joining NIH, she worked for five years as the information and communications advisor with the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood on international maternal health and advocacy programs. Livinski has a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of South Florida–Tampa, master’s in public health (MPH) from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine with a focus in food security and humanitarian crisis management, and a bachelor’s degree from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, in international relations. Her professional interests include use of social technologies in libraries and public health, health information access, international health, and access to research by developing country healthcare providers and researchers.
Annabelle Nunez is the Arizona Health Sciences Library (AHSL) liaison to the University of Arizona College of Public Health, where she participates in community-campus research with faculty and students and works to improve access to Hispanic, border, cross-cultural, bilingual, and culturally appropriate patient/consumer information services for campus and Arizona clients. Núñez earned her master’s degree in 2003 as a School of Information Resources and Library Science Knowledge River (KR) Scholar. She currently mentors KR interns at AHSL and serves as an co-advisor to KR student-mentors in Wellness Education (WE) Search, a teen workforce development program and community health information institute. She also is a member of the Pima County Public Library Advisory Board, KR Institute Steering Advisory Group, MLA, REFORMA, and League of United Latin American Citizens and chairs the Spectrum Scholarship Program Jury for the American Library Association.
Robert Swain is currently the acting associate director for science for the Division of Knowledge Management and Dissemination at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His responsibilities include providing direction for Epi software platforms, the Public Health Library and Information Center, and the CDC Public Access project. His previous experience includes managing the scientific clearance system, supporting clinical information needs at Johns Hopkins Hospital, providing resources in developing countries associated with the Global AIDS Program, and managing library information technology (IT) systems at the CDC. Swain received his bachelor’s of science in nursing and master’s in library and information studies from the University of Alabama. He also completed a two-year National Library of Medicine (NLM) Public Health Informationist Fellowship with the CDC Global AIDS Program and the Johns Hopkins University.
Katie Vizenor is a public health informationist for the Welch Medical Library, Johns Hopkins University, where she supports the departments of international health and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her department integration strategy focuses on curricula development, research planning consulting for project teams, office hours, and expert searching for faculty. Over the next year, she plans to expand on these efforts through the development of resource portals, online tutorials, targeted blogs, and virtual office hours for the significant number of faculty and staff who work abroad. Vizenor has a master’s of library science degree from the University of Maryland–College Park and a master’s degree in anthropology from the University at Buffalo. Her interest in medical informatics and librarianship began when she worked as a research assistant for the Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science in Leipzig, Germany. She is currently completing a doctoral degree in anthropology from the University at Buffalo. Her dissertation research explores the connection between medical anthropology and science and technology studies.
Ansuman Chattopadhyay has a doctorate in biochemistry with extensive experience in signal transduction research using molecular biology approaches. He currently works as head, Molecular Biology Information Service at the Health Sciences Library System, University of Pittsburgh, where he has developed an information service program focused on the fields of molecular biology and genetics. He offers hands-on workshops in the use of molecular biology software and databases, provides consultation to research teams for questions related to bioinformatics resources, and has developed and maintains a web-based portal for molecular biology information. Chattopadhyay previously held positions in the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, and Cellomics, Pittsburgh, PA.
Medha Bhagwat earned her doctorate in biochemistry in December 1994 from the University of Maryland–College Park. She did her postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the structure-function studies of bacteriophage T4 RNase H. Medha joined National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in 1998, working on the GenBank database. From 2000 to 2008, she offered a variety of bioinformatics training at NCBI. She taught at the NCBI Core-Bioinformatics Facility, which trains the representatives from the NIH institutes in the use of the NCBI bioinformatics tools in 9-week sessions. Bhagwat also developed and taught several 2-hour mini-courses that describe the effective usage of a set of bioinformatics tools. The courses were taught more than 400 times to about 12,000 participants. She has published several articles on her research and book chapters on bioinformatics classes/protocols. Bhagwat joined the NIH Library in February 2009, in keeping with library's objective to promote genetics and bioinformatics research, and she has developed a bioinformatics support program to assist NIH researchers.
David Osterbur acquired both a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master's degree in genetics from the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign. He earned a doctorate in genetics from the University of California–Berkeley, did postdoctoral work at Indiana University–Bloomington, and then was a research faculty member at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He obtained a master's degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston. Osterbur worked as a senior information specialist for DuPont Pharmaceuticals before moving back to academia as the director of the Biological Laboratories Library at Harvard University. Osterbur is currently the public and access services librarian at the Countway Medical Library of Harvard Medical School.
Kristi Holmes received her doctorate in biochemistry from Iowa State University and joined the Becker Medical Library, where she is involved in developing and implementing the library’s Bioinformatics@Becker program. This program includes the development and presentation of bioinformatics resource workshops for the university community, integration of molecular biology information resources into medical school and graduate-level curricula, and application of bioinformatics resources to research problems through individualized consultations and collaborative relationships. She has also served as a course developer and instructor for the NCBI Advanced Workshop for Bioinformatics Information Specialists offered by NCBI. Holmes works in close partnership with various groups on campus to develop and support cross-disciplinary initiatives that aim to facilitate campus-wide educational and professional development goals. Holmes is a member of the Washington University in St. Louis Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS), and her professional interests center on developing library-based educational programs and promoting and supporting collaborative tools and initiatives at the institutional level and beyond.
Suzanne Grefsheim, FMLA, has been director of the NIH Library since 1992. Before that, she was coordinator of Health Sciences Libraries and director of the Taubman Medical Library at the University of Michigan. She also held leadership positions at the University of Maryland–Baltimore and George Washington University Medical Center. She received her master’s of library science degree from Catholic University and a master’s in education from the University of Cincinnati. Grefsheim served as a member of the MLA Board of Directors from 1998–2001 and chaired MLA’s Task Force on Research Policy Statement Revision, which produced the revised policy statement, The Research Imperative. In 2008, she was named an MLA Fellow. For the last ten years, she has nurtured the informationist concept at NIH into a robust program. In 2008, with Jocelyn Rankin, AHIP, FMLA, she published a systematic review of the literature on informationists. She also led a multiphased evaluation study of the impact NIH informationists had on the information behaviors of clinical teams, which was published in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association.
Rebecca Jerome, see Clinical Informationist Panel.
Betsy Kelly is the associate director for health information resources at Washington University’s Becker Medical Library. She is responsible for all reference and access services to clinical faculty, staff, and students and for interlibrary loan. One of her duties is to designs ways to capture significant interactions between librarians and faculty, staff, and students in a database. Reports produced from that data are used to support budget requests, identify areas for new programs, and allocate staff to provide most needed services. Kelly is a codeveloper of the MLA accredited course, “Measuring Your Impact: Using Evaluation for Library Advocacy.” The class is designed to provide health sciences librarians with the tools they need to demonstrate the value of their services to their organization. She also codeveloped the Retail Value and Cost/Benefit Ratio/Return on Investment (CBA/ROI) calculators librarians can use to express the value of their services and resources in business terms that administrators are comfortable with ( www.nnlm.gov/mcr/evaluation/tools.html). More than 100 libraries from 36 states and Canada have submitted their CBA calculations to a national database that will be analyzed and reported on in the next year.
David Shumaker is clinical associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science at Catholic University of America. Previously, he was manager of information services at the MITRE Corporation. Shumaker is a frequent author and presenter on special libraries and information services. He was co–principal investigator on the research project, “Models of Embedded Librarianship,” which was funded by the Special Libraries Association. The final project report is available at ( www.sla.org/pdfs/EmbeddedLibrarianshipFinalRptRev.pdf). Shumaker has given presentations on embedded librarianship for the Air Force Research Laboratories Technical Librarians conference, the Agriculture Network Information Centers conference, the Special Libraries Association, and others. He blogs at www.embeddedlibrarian.wordpress.com.