South Central and Southern Chapters 2023 Joint Chapter Meeting

By Dede Rios, SCC Program Conference Co-Chair, and Christine Willis, Southern Chapter Program Conference Co-Chair

2023 was a monumental year for the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association as it marked our 50th anniversary! We commemorated this with a special conference pin and various memorabilia such as a beautiful t-shirt, and travel mug available for purchase.

It is the second in-person conference we have had since COVID-19, and we had the pleasure to work with the Southern Chapter to present a wonderful joint chapter meeting. Luckily it was in New Orleans, Louisiana, and though we were tasked with suffering through much higher expenses than anticipated due to pre-COVID contract fulfillment, and current economic hardships, we had a great team of volunteers, and we had a GREAT joint meeting!

Combining our chapters required many Zoom meetings as well as in-person meetings to coordinate the best outcomes. We agreed to have some traditions from both chapters represented, and we were so pleased to have 283 members in attendance, 59 of whom were new! Even our vendor exhibitors and sponsors wanted to help us put on a wonderful meeting and came out in strong support. They donated so many prizes for our exhibit hall raffle, including a one-year MLA membership. Amalia de la Vega, (on the left in the image below) from the Southern Chapter, won that grand prize!

Highlights included keynote speakers: Heather Veneziano, Architectural Historian (Tulane University) – who spoke to us about the unique burial practices in New Orleans. Elizabeth Shexnyder, Local Curator of the National Hansen’s Disease Museum in Carville, Louisiana – who shared her experience and history of the museum. Dr. Thomas LaVeist, Dean of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (Tulane University) – who premiered his first episode of a soon-to-air limited series, The Skin You’re In as well as spoke to us about the impact of social policy and the quality of life of African Americans in the United States. Great content from both chapters: 40 papers, 13 lightning talks, 10 continuing education classes, 6 round tables, and 24 posters. And fun dine-arounds that allowed us all to get better acquainted.

We had been building up to this meeting by hosting Chapter Chats via Zoom each month and inviting members, LIS students, and other librarian nonmembers to come and ask questions about our chapters, discuss what to expect from our chapter meeting, and to get familiar with each other. I am happy to report that membership to SCC has increased to 283, which is the highest number of members we’ve had since 2014. WooHoo!

This year we hosted a Kindred Spirits Contest as Kindred Spirits was our meeting theme. Requirements included meeting someone from the other chapter at least twice, once online, and another time in person; learning about each other’s chapter; and submitting a creative expression of those encounters that included pictures.

I’m happy to say that we had many participants, and the winners were Kay Strahan from South Central Chapter and Annabelle Lee from Southern Chapter. Their submission included photos, a short paragraph of what they learned about each other’s chapter as well as a poem! They each won a one-year membership to the Medical Library Association.

We learned so much from each other that I hope SCC hosts joint conferences with other chapters in the future! Southern Chapter will be hosting their 2024 conference with the Mid-Atlantic Chapter in Charleston, SC.

Winners of the Research Papers & Posters Awards.

Awards were given to the best presentations at the meeting, regardless of chapter affiliation. Each presentation was rated based on the recordings that were submitted before the meeting and was scored by four research committee members, two from each chapter.


1st place:
Emily W. Blevins, Nakia J. Woodward, Kelly Loyd, Aaron S. Castle, Rachel R. Walden, Rick L. Wallace. (Southern Chapter)
An Examination of Indexing: The Case of Appalachia
2nd place:
Amy Corder, MLIS; Laura Haygood, MLIS, AHIP; Laura Wright, MLIS, MPH; Samantha O’Connell, MPH; Keith Pickett, MLIS. (South Central Chapter)
Knowledge of Systematic Review Methodology Among Health Sciences Faculty: A cross-sectional survey
3rd place:
Julia M. Esparza, Montie’ Dobbins, Elliott Freeman, Leah Bryant, Madison Coleman, Ava Pollard, Prerana Ramesh, Justin Smith. (South Central Chapter)
Is everything free on the internet? An Analysis of LSUHS Grant Associated Publication Citations


1st place:
Toni Hoberecht, Dora Mensah. (South Central Chapter)
Needs Assessment for a Makerspace for a Campus Community
2nd place:
Hilary Jasmin, Sarah Newell, Tara Lemoine, Xavier Agee, Carmen Kelley. (Southern Chapter)
Information Literacy as an Avenue for AI-Generated Healthcare Simulation Case Appraisal
3rd place:
Lance Day MLIS, MSW and Karen Flynn Ed.D., CCP-SLP. (Southern Chapter)
Teaching CSD Students EBP Access and Utilization Skills