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Reflections on the 2022 SC/MLA Annual Meeting

The 72nd Annual Meeting of the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SC/MLA) was held in Montgomery, AL from October 19-22, 2022. The 2020 Annual Meeting was supposed to occur in Montgomery, but because of the Covid pandemic the 2020 and 2021 meetings were held virtually, so we were excited to finally make it to Montgomery in 2022. The meeting theme was, “Health Information Matters: Embrace, Explore, Evolve.” The past few years have propelled us to embrace change, explore new ways of evaluating and disseminating information, and evolve our thoughts and actions.

There are so many people to thank for the success of the meeting. The Program Committee led the planning and execution efforts. Sponsors and vendors provided financial support and a lively exhibit hall. Paper and poster presenters, speakers, and panelists contributed content and facilitated discussions. And of course, we couldn't have had a meeting without attendees so thanks to everyone who traveled and actively participated.

The meeting began with in-person and virtual continuing education offerings on topics such as data planning/literacy, teaching adult learners, and anti-racism. Students, new chapter members and first-time attendees had the opportunity to meet and mingle before the welcome reception.

We were fortunate to learn from two engaging keynote speakers. Dr. Rueben C. Warren, Director of the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, discussed the importance of shared language and definitions, lessons learned from past atrocities, and current issues related to racial disparities. Dr. Sandra C. Melvin, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health, discussed evidence-based public health, and how to utilize health information to achieve health equity.

In the panel discussion, “Successful Library Partnerships,” moderators and panelists described their most impactful library partnerships and provided tips on how to initiate similar alliances. Dr. Shannon Jones provided an MLA Update, and Lorin Jackson provided an NNLM Update. Then the NNLM RML Region 2 staff led a fun and action-packed "Dare to Prepare" emergency preparedness session. During the Hospital Librarians Symposium Luncheon, Lisa Ennis taught us about the role of art in medicine and shared examples of programming at her institution.

Conference attendees had the option to participate in a round table lunch discussion on one of the following topics: EBP/clinical librarianship, instruction & instructional design, or career development. These lunches provided an informal way to learn about a topic, share experiences, seek advice, and network with colleagues. The meeting concluded with the business meeting, where we thanked outgoing committee members and officers, welcomed incoming leaders, and congratulated our award and scholarship recipients. And of course, we had fun along the way! We enjoyed hotel happy hours, ate delicious southern fare, danced at the banquet, and visited historical sites.

Select annual meeting content is available to all SC/MLA members (even those who did not register for the 2022 Annual Meeting). Visit the SC/MLA Annual Meeting website to access papers and posters, the MLA Update, NNLM RML R2 Update, and NNLM RML R2 “Dare to Prepare” content.

Planning is already underway for the SC/MLA and South Center Chapter (SCC) Joint Chapter Meeting which will take place in New Orleans in September 2023. Join our monthly "chapter chats" to network with colleagues in these two MLA chapters. 

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