Edited by: Suzanne Fricke
The Pacific Northwest Chapter (PNC) of MLA first formed in 1953 as the Pacific Northwest Regional Group, made up initially of medical librarians from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia. Alaska, and then Alberta, joined later. Our group held informal biennial meetings until 1971, when we began to meet annually. Bylaws were drafted and dues were first collected in 1978. As a smaller chapter with representation from many rural and geographically dispersed institutions (the total land mass for PNC is 1,686,153 square miles), our members are recognized for their deep professional connection to one another. We were early adopters of communication by email in 1983 and collaborated with neighboring chapters on several joint regional meetings. In 2021 PNC absorbed the Oregon Health Sciences Library Association as a Special Interest Group.
Our recent PNC initiatives focus on health equity and providing opportunities for future medical librarians. Between 2020 and 2023 the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, in partnership with Bastyr University, created an interactive timeline of historical examples of oppression and discrimination in the medical field. After helping to build awareness the project was archived. The DEI Committee now focuses on continuing a well-received online Health Equity and Diversity Speaker Series. We also reinstated a Scholarship Committee to provide general scholarships and scholarships for students from underrepresented groups in library science programs, and to improve transparency and remove barriers in both the PNC and MLA scholarship application processes.
The chapter anticipates that in the next 25 years there will be a renewed dedication to improve science literacy for all healthcare professions, and greater collaboration with social science professionals on topics related to public health and social determinants of health.