The MLA/ICS International Visiting Health Information Professionals Program (International VIP) is a partnership between the Medical Library Association (MLA) and medical library associations which have a bilateral agreement with the MLA. This program is run by the International Cooperation Section, through the International VIP Task Force.
This project exists to enable medical librarians and their institutions to provide the best information and services possible to medical professionals and health consumers globally. Visiting libraries in other countries allows medical librarians to see first-hand how librarians serve patrons academically and at point of need. By facilitating an international visiting program, the MLA hopes to foster international cooperation, communication, awareness, exchange of ideas, and professional excellence.
Hosting institutions benefit from the International VIP by learning from their visiting medical librarian’s professional background, experiences, and skills. Collaboration between the visiting librarian and hosting institution allows for exchange of innovative ideas, practices, technologies, and projects. Hosting institutions are a part of the interview process to make sure that the visiting librarians will match the needs of their hosts. Individuals, upon return to their home institutions will be able to better understand the learning environment from which international medical students and doctors come. This will facilitate better communication and understanding of international students’ needs during their cultural and professional transition.
Individual participants benefit from experiencing medical librarianship from a different cultural perspective. Contributing to and learning from international colleagues allows individuals to forge lifelong partnerships with professionals from a different perspective. Not only will individuals be able to enhance standards of the profession globally, they will personally improve their skills in information, communication, flexibility, and creativity. Individuals will learn new ideas, practices, and approaches in medical librarianship that they can apply in their home institution and career.
Individuals who participate in this program are responsible for their own financial support. There is no obligation for the institution to the visiting librarian, other than providing the librarian with workspace to carry out projects. It is strongly recommended that the institution provides general information on accommodation and living options.
MLA, through the International Cooperation Section, provides consultation to individuals upon accepting the International VIP opportunity. Upon completion of the International VIP, the hosting institution and visiting librarian will complete a brief survey to evaluate the experience.
Applications can be submitted at any time; however, the selection committee only meets four times a year on the first of January, April, July, and October. Applicants should have their materials submitted two weeks before the meeting date by which they wish to be considered. Placement announcements are made four weeks after each meeting.
Check out the program pamphlet here.
Jie Li, Martha Knuth, Fred Pond, Gurpreet Rana, Elizabeth Whipple, Kathy Kwan (Chair)Interested in learning more? Have a question or comment on the MLA/ICS International Visiting Health Information Professionals Program? Please contact the Program Task Force.