Carol G. Jenkins, AHIP
Interim Report #1
Since taking office as MLA President in May 2001
in Orlando, I've had a busy summer. I attended the ASAE executives' seminar
with Carla Funk and Linda Watson in June in Washington, DC. This seminar
gave us some insight into how to move the association's strategic planning
and governance processes toward a 21st century "knowledge based"
model. This model focuses Board attention on clarifying the vision and
identifying major opportunities and mega-issues for association action.
It suggests a way to organize Board agendas to make strategic issues the
top priority. At the fall Board meeting we began to use some of these
guidelines to shape a new MLA plan for the future.
In August, I attended the IFLA 2001 Council and General Conference in
Boston, along with many other U.S. medical librarians. This was my first
IFLA meeting, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. MLA's involvement in IFLA
underscores the importance of working with other librarians worldwide
on issues of mutual interest, such as freedom of information access and
copyright protection, new modes of scholarly communication and the uses
of technology to improve information access. One major theme of this meeting
was knowledge management. Some very interesting models for knowledge management
systems and services were presented by colleagues abroad.
Also in August, the report of the team investigating the death of a research
study participant at Johns Hopkins University was issued. In its report,
this team claimed that an inadequate literature search had been performed
as part of the application and this was not discovered during the IRB
proposal review process. As a result of this unfortunate occurrence, many
institutions are now reviewing their IRB processes in this area; and there
is renewed attention to the expert role that medical librarians can play
to help both researchers and IRB members perform and evaluate comprehensive
MLA issued a press release in
which we promote the valuable expert searcher role professional health sciences
librarians can play and suggest MLA's willingness to participate in developing
standards or guidelines to help avoid such accidents in the future. This press
release was picked up by an editorial in the Lancet and in several other publications.
The MLA Board approved appointment of a new task force on expert searching,
which will recommend actions to promote the importance of expert searching,
and a plan for achieving them, including the development of guidelines leading
to best searching practices in health care and biomedical research settings.
This task force is chaired by Ruth Holst.
I attended the Pacific Northwest MLA Chapter meeting in Salishan, OR,
September 9-13, 2001. This meeting coincided with the tragic terrorist
attacks on US citizens in New York and Washington, DC. Most attendees
still managed to attend the meeting, though it was understandably subdued.
There were about 70 attendees. MLA was also represented with its exhibit
by Beverly Bradley. The meeting offered some stimulating speakers. Roy
Tennant from the California Digital Library encouraged us to develop a
practical perspective in technology management for the future; Jan Stafl,
MD, presented a fascinating perspective on holistic medicine; and a consumer
health librarian panel shared insights on their approaches to providing
access to health information to the public.
I presented the MLA update during breakfast. Several people commented
positively on the range of good things MLA is doing, especially the expert
searching press release and consumer health efforts with the Pew Internet
and American Life Project. Members also responded to my request for "practical
magic" ideas for recruiting new professionals into the field, and
using technology to expand our services.
All in all, a very exciting first quarter! In my next update, I will
be reporting on the Mid-Atlantic MLA Chapter meeting in Ocean City, MD,
the Tri-Chapter meeting in New Orleans, and the NPC 2002 site visit to