Contact Us | Donate | Advertise Follow us on TwitterFollow us on facebookFollow us on LinkedIn

2021 Institute Participants

The 2021 Research Training Institute (RTI) is offered in a virtual format from June 2021 to June 2022. The institute provides high-quality advanced research methods curriculum and learning model, with mentoring and support for one year while participants complete their research projects. The 2021 RTI fellow candidates were chosen by a selective submission process with an emphasis on a desire to learn, enthusiasm for research, and the quality and promise of their proposed research projects.

Lauren Adkins, AHIPLauren Adkins, AHIP, orcid_logo, is an Assistant University Librarian, University of Florida Health Science Center Libraries. She is a liaison librarian to the University of Florida College of Pharmacy and the department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in the College of Medicine. Her job responsibilities include providing instruction, reference, and liaison services. She received her master’s of arts in library science from the University of South Florida. Her RTI project will investigate the impact of incorporating critical library instruction theory, practices, and pedagogy in an academic health science center library liaisons’ course-integrated instruction. 

Seema BhaktaSeema Bhakta, orcid_logo, is the Oregon Regional Medical Librarian for Providence Health System. She is interested in meeting the information and research needs to support evidence-based clinical practices and public health decision-making. She has an MA in Library and Information Science from University of Arizona and an MPH in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University. Currently, she provides literature searches and topic alerts to clinical questions and supports nurse-led research projects. The RTI project will look at information-seeking behavior among maternal health care providers and how they use information to address disparities in maternal health outcomes. 

Jess Callaway, AHIPJess Callaway, AHIP, orcid_logo, is a Research Librarian at the Noble Learning Resource Center at Shepherd Center. She is the delegate for Information Services for the Hospital Library Caucus with the Medical Library Association. Prior to her life as a librarian, Jess worked in various educational capacities in emergency medicine and health literacy. Her research interests center on voting engagement, health literacy, disinformation in medicine, accessibility, and integrating librarianship into patient care. When Jess is not working she can be found wherever the vinyl is, probably drinking an iced coffee.

Rebecca Carlson, AHIPRebecca Carlson, AHIP, orcid_logo, is a health sciences librarian in the Health Sciences Library at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. In her primary role as liaison to the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Carlson collaborates on education, research, and evidence-based practice initiatives. She received her Master of Science in Library Science (MSL) degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and has also worked as a clinical librarian and a nursing and allied health librarian. Carlson’s research interests include technologies and improvements in systematic review and literature searching methods; interprofessional education and practice; and embedded librarianship in clinical and didactic education.

Amy CorderAmy Corder, orcid_logo, is a Research Support Librarian at Tulane University’s Rudolph Matas Library of the Health Sciences in New Orleans, LA, where she supports the School of Medicine, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and Tulane National Primate Research Center. Her additional responsibilities include systematic review research support and library instruction services. Corder earned her Master’s of Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University. She is the chair of MLA’s New Members Caucus (2021-22). Her research interests are focused on medical education, information literacy, and systematic review research methods.

Mayra CornMayra Corn, orcid_logo, is an Assistant Professor, Undergraduate Medical Education Liaison Librarian and Technology Manager at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Mayra has 12 years of library experience working in library operations for a large public library system. She holds a Master's in Library and Information Sciences with a concentration in Digital Content Management. Mayra is a 2015 ALA Spectrum Scholar. Her research interests include: diversity, equity, and inclusion in librarianship, instructional strategies in library programming, and makerspace technologies in library settings.

Andrea DaterAndrea Dater, orcid_logo, is currently a circulation services page for the Johnson County Library system in Lenexa, Kansas and a graduate student in the School of Library and Information Management (SLIM) at Emporia State University. Prior to pursuing librarianship, she worked as a document management associate and clinical trials associate at a clinical research organization specializing in industry-sponsored trials.  Andrea’s research interests include the informed consent process, improving the readability and comprehensibility of consent forms for clinical trials, and health data literacy.

Jennifer DeBergJennifer DeBerg, orcid_logo, is a User Services Librarian at the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences at the University of Iowa Libraries. In this role, she leads a user services team for ongoing assessment and quality improvement of library services and provides regular direction to the reference team. She also serves as liaison to nursing, orthopedics, rehabilitation therapies, music therapy, and communication sciences. Prior to obtaining her MLS in 2008, Jen worked as an occupational therapist for 15 years, and has a passion for providing support/education to clinicians with an interest in evidence-based practice. She has published findings of several projects related to assessment of user services and has been a regular contributor to a nursing EBP book focused on implementation science. Her research interests include nurse practitioner use of EBP, library user experience, and healthy library workplace design.

Mary Catherine EllisMary Catherine Ellis, orcid_logo, is a graduate student in the Master’s of Science in Library Science program at the University of North Texas. She has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Texas State University. Her undergraduate honors thesis combined renaissance art history, medical anthropology, and critical theory in examining early modern witch hunts. Her current research interests are health information access, culturally appropriate cataloging, and the medical social sciences.

Mary-Kate Finnegan, AHIP Mary-Kate Finnegan, AHIP, orcid_logo, is the Science Librarian at University Library, Sacramento State University, Sacramento, CA. Her job responsibilities include instruction, reference, and liaison services to science and health science programs on her campus. She enjoys partnering with community members to bring college level research skills to high school students interested in STEM careers and helping individuals find high quality consumer health information. She received her MLIS from San Jose State University and her research interests include evidenced-based reasoning and assessment of learning outcomes.

Cindy GruwellCindy Gruwell, orcid_logo , is an Assistant Librarian/Coordinator of Scholarly Communication at the University of West Florida. She is the library liaison to the department of biology and the College of Health which has extensive nursing programs, public health, health administration, movement, and medical laboratory sciences. In addition to supporting health sciences faculty, she oversees the Argo IRCommons (Institutional Repository) and provides scholarly communication services to faculty across campus. Cindy graduated with her BA (history) and MLS from the University of California, Los Angeles and has a Master’s in Education from Bemidji State University. Cindy’s research interests include the diversification of academic research support, publishing, and data management.

Andy HicknerAndy Hickner, orcid_logo, is the Education and Outreach Librarian at the Samuel J. Wood Library at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, New York. At Weill Cornell, he oversees the Library’s education and outreach programs; serves as the Library’s lead for curriculum services and undergraduate medical education; and participates on the Library’s systematic review and grant editing services. His research interests include studying the usability and user experience aspects of bibliographic databases from the perspective of systematic review searchers. Potential questions he will explore as an RTI participant include “What are the most urgent usability 'pain points’ for systematic review searchers?” and “What improvements would address the most urgent pain points?”

Toni HoberechtToni Hoberecht, orcid_logo,  is the technical services librarian at the Schusterman Library at the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa. In addition to managing interlibrary loan, collection development, and acquisitions, she teaches courses in Software, Data, and Library Carpentries and provides support to the library’s reference and instruction librarians. She received her MLIS from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s degree from the Writing Program at Syracuse University. Her current research interests include using data to inform library processes, and examining the involvement of technical services librarians in MLA to find ways to build inclusivity and community.

Elizabeth Kavanaugh, AHIPElizabeth Kavanaugh, AHIPorcid_logo, is the Information Literacy and Assessment Librarian at Misericordia University, Dallas, PA.  She is a liaison to the College of Health Sciences and Education, Mass Communication and Design department, and the Writing Center.  Kavanaugh completed a Master of Science (Library and Information Science) degree at Drexel University, and a Master of Science (Healthcare Informatics) degree at Misericordia University.  She has presented and published on specific applications of information literacy, most recently in the Journal of Hospital Librarianship.  Her research interests include information literacy, evidence-based practice, and lifelong learning, which she plans to explore during the RTI.

Curtis KennettCurtis Kennett, orcid_logo, is an MS-LS student at the University of North Texas. He earned a B.A in Anthropology and a M.S. in Applied Anthropology from Mississippi State University. He has participated in multiple mixed method research projects examining the cultural models of mental health and HIV/AIDS, as well as oversaw junior researchers through their research projects. He was one of the first graduate students offered a lecturing position post-graduation in the MSU anthropology department. Mental health and illness are his passions, but his true goal is to meld the theories and methodologies of cognitive anthropology and the LIS field. 

Niki Kirkpatrick, AHIPNiki Kirkpatrick, AHIP, orcid_logo, is an assistant professor and health sciences librarian at the John C. Hodges Library, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In her current position, she provides instruction and research support for the College of Nursing and the Departments of Audiology & Speech Pathology, Nutrition, and Public Health. Along with her membership in MLA, she is also a member of MLA’s Southern Chapter, the Tennessee Health Science Library Association, and the Knoxville Area Health Sciences Library Consortium. Kirkpatrick obtained her master’s of information sciences degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and received her undergraduate degree in English literature from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Her research interests include evidence-based approaches to virtual anatomy resources within libraries and user experience design surrounding research guides.

Valerie LookingbillValerie Lookingbill, orcid_logo, is the sciences librarian at Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina-Columbia. In her current position, Lookingbill serves as the liaison to the Department of Biological Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Geography, School of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, and School of Information Science. She received a bachelor’s in English from Elizabethtown College, and a master’s in library and information science and a certificate of graduate study in public health from the University of South Carolina. Her current research interests include health information practices of individuals with stigmatized mental illnesses and information and communication technology.

Jim McCloskeyJim McCloskey, orcid_logo, is library director and associate professor at Wilmington University in New Castle, DE. In his current position, McCloskey provides strategic vision and leadership for the library and is responsible for all aspects of library administration. Prior to joining Wilmington University, he served as Head of Public Services at Widener University, Head of Document Delivery at University of Pennsylvania Biomedical Library, Senior Librarian at the State of Delaware Health and Social Services Division, and Information Specialist at BIOSIS. He is currently completing requirements for Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership. His primary research interests are focused on the application of information literacy and evidence-based practice in the healthcare workplace. His additional research interests include ageism and lifelong learning experiences of older adults.

Nina McHale, AHIPNina McHale, AHIP, orcid_logo, is the Head of Education & Research at the Strauss Health Sciences Library at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She manages a team of six informationists whose work focuses on reference, instruction, and professional literature search services. She is also the library liaison to the School of Dental Medicine. Her current research interests include post-MLS training on the topics of evidence-based medicine and advanced literature searching/evidence synthesis for librarians working in, or transitioning into, medical or health sciences positions. She is the 2020-2021 chair elect of the MLA’s Leadership & Management Caucus.

Molly MontgomeryMolly Montgomery, orcid_logo, is the Director of Library Services at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine. She has worked in a variety of library settings over the course of her 20-year career including at a public library, a health-focused non-profit, a hospital library, an academic library, and now at a standalone medical school. For most of that time, she has worked in small library teams (three librarians or fewer) or in a remote location away from the main campus, so she is used to doing a little bit of everything. Her current research interests include examining the perception of osteopathic medical students towards engaging in research and scholarly activities and how rural public libraries can impact the health of their communities.

Laura MurrayLaura Murray, orcid_logo, is the HCA Graduate Medical Education Librarian (GME) liaising between University of South Florida (USF) Morsani College of Medicine and the HCA West Florida Division. She serves residents, fellows, and faculty (RFF) at 9 HCA sites by developing curriculum and programming for the new GME consortium. Focusing on transformational learning and utilizing learning theory, Murray teaches coursework in evidence-based practice, search strategy development, research and literature review planning. Her current research is in GME librarianship, promotion of critical thinking, adult learning, teaching evidence-based medicine to residents and fellows, and change management in an academic-corporate consortium.

Jess NewmanJess Newman, orcid_logo, is the Research Data and Scholarly Communications Lead at the Health Sciences Library of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She received her BS in Biology and Sociology from Rhodes College in 2013 and her MSIS from the University of Tennessee in 2017. At UTHSC she is working to build campus awareness and services around open access, research data management, data literacy and visualization, research impact metrics, and science communication. Prior to this she managed the Rhodes College digital archive and oversaw a team of undergraduate researchers in archival digitization and digital humanities projects. Jess is currently a member of several MLA caucuses including Research, Scholarly Communications, and Social Justice. She is also an active participant with FORCE11, the Digital Library Federation (DLF), and ACRL and frequently reviews for the Journal of Academic Librarianship. Her research interests fall at the intersection of the social and natural sciences and include topics such as science communication, social determinants of health, digital literacy, and place-based education.

Carmela PreciadoCarmela Preciado, orcid_logo, is a graduate student at the University of North Texas. She is working to complete her graduate degree in Medical Informatics. Currently, she works as a professional graphic designer and has been in the industry for over ten years. She holds a Bachelor of Art from the University of Texas San Antonio and a Bachelor of Science in Information Science from the University of North Texas. At the RTI, she will explore the issue of inequality in telemedicine.

Erin E. ReardonErin E. Reardon, orcid_logo, is a medical school librarian at the Health Sciences Library at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN. She provides instruction, mediated searches, and research services to students, faculty, and staff in the Medical School and clinical departments. She received her master’s in library and information science from Valdosta State University in 2017, and previously worked as a reference and instruction librarian at LSU Health Shreveport in Louisiana. Before shifting to librarianship, she worked in the health insurance industry and has an educational background in creative writing. Her research interests include health literacy, medical humanities, and teaching and learning.

Jillian SilverbergJillian Silverberg, orcid_logo, has been a Research and Instruction Librarian at Quinnipiac University's Netter Library in North Haven, CT since 2018. She serves as the library liaison to the School of Medicine where she provides information instruction that supports the evidence-based learning curriculum. She also provides reference and research instruction to the students and faculty who are a part of QU's medicine, nursing, and health sciences programs. Since joining the Netter Library, Jillian has developed research interests in predatory publishing, gamification & library instruction, and student-library engagement. Jillian earned her graduate degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons University in 2016.

Shawn Steidinger, AHIPShawn Steidinger, AHIP, orcid_logo, is an Assistant Librarian for Clinical Services at the Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah. She received her MLS from Indiana University, Bloomington. In her current tenure-track position, she is a resource for EBM instruction, serving both faculty and students in the health sciences, as well as clinicians, staff and patients at University Hospital. Her research interests include how to improve health literacy among various populations. At RTI, Steidinger will evaluate different interventions to understand their impact on increasing health literacy among adolescents and young adults by maximizing partnerships between clinicians, teachers and health librarians.

Bailey SterlingBailey Sterling, orcid_logo, is the Digital Communications Specialist with the Network of the National Library of Medicine's South Central Region, located at UNT Health Science Center’s Gibson D. Lewis Library. She’s presently a graduate student at the University of North Texas (GMG!), teaching assistant in the UNT College of Information, analog gamer, writer, and lifelong learner living in DFW. Bailey’s RTI research will investigate whether analog games are effective vehicles for health information and if they can improve health information literacy, particularly regarding disaster management.

Julia StumpffJulia Stumpff, orcid_logo, is the Instructional Design Librarian at Ruth Lilly Medical Library, Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM). Previously, she worked as Co-Director of the library and Director of Online Learning at Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus, Indiana, and as a Health Sciences Circuit Librarian at University of Illinois at Chicago in Urbana-Champaign. She holds a Bachelors in History from Denison University and a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Her research interests center around library impact assessment. 

Mary Margaret ThomasMary Margaret Thomas, orcid_logo, is a library assistant at the U.S. Government Library, Boulder Labs Library (BLL). BLL supports the federal agencies NOAA, NIST, and NTIA in Boulder, CO.  She is currently a student at the School of Library and Information Management (SLIM) at Emporia State University.  As a former educator, she is interested in integrating her teaching skills with her library research skills. Mary’s research interests include creating awareness of mental illness stigma and designing measures to combat it, as well as promoting the equality of mental health and physical health in libraries.

Xou Le Va VangXou Le Va Vang, orcid_logo, is a research help and instruction librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Library. She is the liaison for nursing, applied health sciences, sociology, business, and health exercise science and sports management. Her role is instructing library classes & outreaching with the campus and community. She received her MLIS in 2016, and is the co-founder of Hmoob, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (HmoobLAM). Her research interests are library programming for Hmong’s health literacy.

Douglas Varner, AHIPDouglas Varner, AHIP, orcid_logo, is the Assistant Dean for Information Management at Dahlgren Memorial Library, The Graduate Health & Life Sciences Research Library at Georgetown University Medical Center.  His research interests include quantitative and qualitative assessment of the library value to institutional research and educational initiatives and the development of continuous quality improvement methodology to evaluate information services.

Elaina Vitale

Elaina Vitale, orcid_logo, is a Research and Education Librarian in the Biomedical Libraries at Dartmouth College, where she supports the research needs of medical students, faculty, clinicians, nurses, researchers, and patients. Elaina is the Biomedical Libraries’ functional liaison for research data services, participates in systematic reviews as an expert searcher, and teaches a variety of classes and workshops. Elaina earned her MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include critical appraisal within preclinical medical education, grey literature searching, and library accessibility. She is currently training to become a Library Carpentries instructor. 

Latest RTI News

View all RTI News

Announcing Faculty and Peer Coaches for 2024 Research Training Institute (RTI)

RTI Research Spotlight: Optimal Strategies for IPE Literature Searching

Deadline Extended for Research Training Institute 2024: Apply by March 8, 2024

Last Chance to Apply for the 2024 Research Training Institute: Deadline is February 19, 2024

Last Chance to Drop In with Questions for the 2024 Research Training Institute on February 8!