The MLA Research Training Institute for Health Sciences Librarians was developed to provide practicing health sciences librarians with an opportunity to immerse themselves in instruction and focused activities related to scholarly research, inquiry, and publishing.
The Institute offers a combination of:
- instruction in research design;
- individual mentoring;
- a full year of post- Institute support for participants to complete research projects of their own design;
- membership in an ongoing research community of practice;
- and scholarship support.
The Institute will help ensure that an increasing number of health sciences librarians nationwide have key research competencies to become more effective health information providers to health care professionals, patients, and consumers.
Institute training and mentorship will equip health sciences librarians with skills to effectively assess end-user needs for health information and research, and enhance library services to meet those needs. Additionally, the Institute will be a powerful catalyst that results in new, better, and important health information research necessary to advance evidence-based practice in health sciences librarianship.
The Institute will serve as a cornerstone in helping health sciences librarians change from informed consumers of researchers to producers of quality research.
Health sciences librarians benefit from using, creating, and applying research-based evidence in library practice and in supporting quality health care. Despite the benefits of research for health sciences libraries, too few health sciences librarians conduct high quality research linked to practice and disseminate the results of their research. Health sciences librarians face numerous obstacles to conducting research. The MLA Research Training Institute endeavors to fill these knowledge and support gaps and address the challenges facing health sciences librarians who are motivated and enthusiastic about conducting research that affects their practice decisions, but who require training and support to achieve the capacity necessary to do so.
This Institute is geared to practicing library professionals who provide health information, support and services to healthcare providers/practitioners, researchers, educators, students, patients, consumers, and the public. These professionals may work in a wide variety of work settings, including health sciences professional schools, universities, community colleges, hospitals, academic health centers and clinics, consumer health libraries, public libraries, research centers, biotechnology centers, pharmaceutical companies, and federal, state, and local government agencies. This program builds on other successful research training programs, but the MLA Institute is a unique program that focuses on the professional competencies needed by health sciences librarians, key health information research questions, and the health information needs of the institutions and communities served by health information professionals.
The goals of the Institute are to develop the research competencies of health sciences librarians and to increase the quantity, quality, and communication of health sciences librarian research. Institute training and support consist of an annual on-site workshop (1-week), pre-Institute learning activities, a year of focused post-Institute mentoring support, and participants’ ongoing engagement in a research community of practice. The Institute curriculum is designed to build participants’ research competencies, increase the quantity and quality of participants’ research output, and mentor participants’ in taking a single health information research project from conceptualization to completion and dissemination.With the support of IMLS and Institute partners, scholarships are available for library professionals working in small libraries and to other health sciences librarians who need financial assistance to attend the Institute. All graduates of the Institute will be encouraged to share their research results through presentations and publications. Evaluation of the Institute program will be ongoing and aid in assessing student learning outcomes, research project completion and quality, teaching and program effectiveness, and enable Institute instructors and staff to set goals for improvement between annual Institutes.
In 2017 the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded MLA a three-year grant to develop the Research Training Institute for health sciences librarians. This funding support will enable MLA to test and refine the Institute teaching model at a reduced costs for participants and provide the capacity for MLA to develop an Institute infrastructure that can be sustained over time.
For questions regarding the Institute, please contact Susan Lessick, MA, MLS, AHIP, FMLA, Research Training Institute Project Director.