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RTI '21 Faculty and Staff

The RTI faculty are recognized experts in a wide range of research areas. They will help librarians use, create, and apply research-based evidence to enhance decision-making, address evolving user needs, communicate library value, and support quality health care. The RTI peer coaches are selected from previous RTI Fellow graduates and support participants by sharing experiences and encouragement throughout the year-long research process and enrich the RTI experience for all participants. The RTI leadership team provides oversight of the RTI training program and IMLS grant activities. The training, learning experiences, and strong support offered by the expert faculty, supportive peer coaches, and dedicated leadership team will lay the foundations of evidence-based practice for the next generation of health sciences librarians.


Jodi Philbrick, AHIP, Co-Faculty Lead, philbrick_jodi.jpgis a senior lecturer at the College of Information, Department of Information Science, University of North Texas (UNT)–Denton. Philbrick teaches graduate-level courses in library and information sciences and health informatics at UNT. Prior to her faculty appointment, she was the assistant director of the Houston Program for the Department of Information Science. Philbrick’s research interests include mobile technology, virtual reference services, and professional competencies in health sciences libraries, and she has conducted research, presented, and published in these areas. Philbrick and her collaborators have received multiple Elizabeth K. Eaton Research Awards from the South Central Chapter of MLA. Active in MLA, she served as the chair of Section Council and member of the Board of Directors from 2012–2017. She received the MLA President’s Award in 2017 for her service to Section Council, work on the Task Force to Review MLA’s Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success, and participation in the Rising Star’s Program.

Emily Vardell

Emily Vardell, Co-Faculty Lead, is assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University, Emporia, KS. Vardell is an expert instructor and researcher, specializing in qualitative research and health information behavior. She teaches courses on the foundations of library and information science, reference services, research methods, health sciences librarianship, consumer health information, and disaster preparedness in libraries. Vardell’s research interests include health insurance literacy, health-related decision-making behavior, and Affordable Care Act information needs. She has received research and teaching awards, including the Beta Phi Mu Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (2017), the MLA Thomson Reuters/MLA Doctoral Fellowship (2016 to 2017), the University of North Carolina (UNC)–Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science Deborah Barreau Award for Teaching Excellence (2016), and a Fulbright Award (2005 to 2006). Vardell is also the editor of the book The Medical Library Association Guide to Answering Questions about the Affordable Care Act (Rowman & Littlefield; 2015) and the author of articles published in the Reference Librarian and Medical Reference Services Quarterly. Prior to receiving her doctorate in information science from the School of Information and Library Science at UNC–Chapel Hill, she was the director for reference, education, and community engagement at the Calder Memorial Library at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She is active in MLA and has served as a member of the Nominating Committee and the 2017 National Program Committee.

Katherine AkersKatherine Akers is a biomedical research and data specialist at the Shiffman Medical Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, where her work centers on supporting scholarly publishing, research data management, and systematic reviews. Akers’ expertise spans the entire research lifecycle, including obtaining research funding, collecting and analyzing data, preparing conference presentations and manuscripts for scholarly journals, navigating the peer review process, and boosting online researcher profiles. She has an extensive publication record resulting from her present work as a health sciences librarian and her previous work as a behavioral neuroscience researcher. Akers holds master of science (MS) and doctoral (PhD) degrees in psychology from the University of New Mexico and a master of library and information science (MLIS) degree from Wayne State University. She in the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA).

Karen Gutzman, Karen GutzmanMSLS, MA, serves as Head of Research Assessment and Communications at Galter Health Sciences Library & Learning Center at Northwestern University. She develops, supports, and implements programs that increase awareness about digital scholarship and issues in the digital environment among faculty, researchers, and students at Feinberg School of Medicine. She works with library colleagues on preservation and access to scholarly outputs through a digital repository and other digital means, and she provides expertise for campus-wide digital preservation activities. Karen also supports individuals and groups in their understanding, assessment, visualization, and reporting of impactful outcomes of research and clinical care efforts. One of her major areas of interest is using information visualization to facilitate stronger comprehension of data in the assessment process. She keeps an updated collection of her works in DigitalHub, the institutional repository for Northwestern Medicine. Karen is a former U.S. National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow where she completed the second year of the fellowship program through her work with the Bernard Becker Medical Library at Washington University in St. Louis.

Shanda Hunt,Shanda Hunt MPH, is the Public Health Librarian & Data Curation Specialist at the Health Sciences Library, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (UMN). She has a Master's Degree in Public Health and previously served as Research Coordinator in the UMN School of Public Health (SPH) and Department of Family Medicine. Her current professional work includes partnering with SPH faculty, staff, and students to enhance teaching, learning, and research; education and advocacy for data management across all campus departments; and assessment and transformation of human subjects research data submitted to the Data Repository for the University of Minnesota (DRUM). She teaches quantitative and qualitative research methods and program evaluation, and has recently taught an MLA webinar entitled "Basic Statistics for Research Appraisal." Hunt's interests include data sharing and management, qualitative research methods, gray literature, and library outreach and networking. She has authored numerous articles and papers and is active in MLA, having served as PH/HA’s Representative for the Information Management Domain Hub and Nominee to the MLA Nominating Committee, and on the Rising Stars and Hodges International Service Award Juries. Hunt is an advisor to the student-founded and led, open access Public Health Review.

Mark MacEachernMark MacEachern, MLIS, is an informationist at the Taubman Health Sciences Library, University of Michigan (UM)–Ann Arbor. As an informationist, MacEachern works closely with health students and professionals on education and research projects. MacEachern teaches systematic review methods and evidence-based practice skills as part of the curricula in several of the UM health sciences schools. He has extensive experience consulting on systematic review projects and leads the Taubman Library’s flipped continuing education course Systematic Reviews: Opportunities for Librarians. MacEachern was the 2019 recipient of the Estelle Brodman Award for the Academic Medical Librarian of the Year. MacEachern received his master of library and information science (MLIS) degree from the University of Western Ontario. Prior to joining the Taubman Health Sciences Library in 2007, MacEachern interned at Mills Memorial Library at McMaster University.

Academic Liaison

Dr. Ana D. Cleveland, PhD. AHIP, FMLA,Dr. Ana D. Cleveland, PhD. AHIP, FMLA is a Regents Professor, Sarah Law Kennerly Endowed Professor, and Director of the Health Informatics Program at the University of North Texas. She is a recognized educator in medical librarianship and health informatics. Under her leadership, UNT's Medical Librarianship/Health Informatics Program is ranked 7th in the nation by US News and World Report. Her research interests are in curriculum development, health information-seeking behavior of underserved populations, indexing of medical information, and health information and social media. She has received the highest awards given by the Medical Library Association, including the Lucretia W. McClure Excellence in Education Award, Janet Doe Lectureship, Marcia C. Noyes Award, and Fellow of the Medical Library Association. The South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association recognized her contributions with the Distinguished Service Award, the Librarian of the Year, and several Elizabeth K. Eaton Research awards. In addition, Dr. Cleveland was honored with the President's Award from the American Medical Informatics Association. She has an extensive list of publications, including two textbooks co-authored with Dr. Donald Cleveland, one on indexing and abstracting and the other on health informatics for medical librarians. She has served as a consultant to numerous national agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Library of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She worked with the National Library of Medicine and the Medical Library Association on developing the Disaster Information Specialization. She served as a consultant with international organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, and Africa.

Peer Coaches

Hilary M. JasminHilary M. Jasmin, ORCID, is a Research and Learning Services Librarian at the Health Sciences Library of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis. Her role primarily involves liaising to the College of Pharmacy, including applied searching skills, evidence-based practice, and lifelong learning. One of her areas of interest is impostor phenomenon, and her RTI project took a qualitative approach towards studying the phenomenon in mid-career health science librarians. Hilary is a Fellow of the 2019 MLA Research Training Institute.

Laura MenardLaura MenardORCID, is the Assistant Director for Medical Education and Access Services at the Ruth Lilly Medical Library in Indianapolis, IN. She graduated with her MLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she worked at the Environmental Protection Agency while obtaining her degree. She has been a health sciences librarian since 2014, having served as a liaison to pharmacy and health sciences at Butler University before moving into her current role. A member of the 2019/2020 cohort of RTI fellows, Laura’s research interests are related to curricular assessment and evidence-based medicine pedagogy. She recently published the results of her RTI project in the BMJ EBM’s themed medical education collection. An active member of MLA, Laura is the current chair of the Libraries in Health Sciences Curriculums caucus and serves on the Education Steering Committee.

Robin O’HanlonRobin O'HanlonORCID, is the associate librarian for user services at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Library in New York City. Prior to this, she was the assistant library director for outreach and public services at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She graduated from University of Toronto’s iSchool and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. Her research interests include information-seeking behavior amongst health care professionals, scholarly communications, consumer health information, and reentry among older formerly incarcerated individuals. Robin is a Fellow of the 2018 MLA Research Training Institute.

Natasha Williams (she/her/hers), AHIPNatasha Williams (she/her/hers), AHIPORCID, is the user services librarian, Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library, University of Central Florida (UCF) –Orlando. She is responsible for creating various library promotional and informational materials, marketing, promoting, and executing library events and services, and assessing the needs of and the services provided to the different groups of patrons that utilize the library space. Williams holds both a bachelor’s degree in studio art and a master’s degree in library and information studies from Florida State University. Her current research interests include outreach efforts in medical and academic health sciences libraries. Natasha was a Fellow of the 2018 MLA Research Training Institute where she explored how personal librarian programs are implemented in medical and academic health sciences libraries.

Ying Zhong,Ying Zhong ORCID, is currently an Associate Librarian in Walter W. Stern Library at California State University, Bakersfield.  She received her M.S. in Library and Information Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in August 2005. She also holds a M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness from Louisiana State University. She has been working for CSUB as Web Services & NSME Librarian since 2005. She is the member of MLA (Medical Libraries Association) since 2014. Her research interests are health literacy, science information literacy, health science librarianship, web usability. Ying Zhong is a Fellow of the 2019 MLA Research Training Institute.

For questions regarding the institute, please contact Susan Lessick, AHIP, FMLA, Research Training Institute project director.

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