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RTI '22 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, PhD, 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, PhD, AHIP, 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, PhD, MLIS, is a research scientist in evidence synthesis at PRECISIONheor, where she conducts systematic literature reviews and network meta-analyses to evaluate the evidence base for industry clients seeking to develop and introduce new medical treatments into patient care. She previously worked as a biomedical research and data librarian at an academic medical library and served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA). 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 previous work as a health sciences librarian and a behavioral neuroscience researcher. Akers holds a doctoral (PhD) degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico and a master of library and information science (MLIS) degree from Wayne State University.

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

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

John Bourgeois photoJohn Bourgeois, MPH, MLIS, ORCID, is the Library Manager for Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Prior to moving to Massachusetts, he was at LSU Health - New Orleans as the liaison librarian to the Schools of Public Health and Graduate Studies plus the coordinator for the library's Research Data Management Services. Prior to health sciences librarianship, he was the Head of Access Services for Nicholls State University library in Thibodaux Louisiana for three years. Before becoming a librarian, he worked as a research coordinator after getting his MPH in Epidemiology. His research interests tend to focus on the practical, such as the use of existing datasets for quality improvement and the assessment of instructional efficacy. John is a Fellow of the 2019 MLA Research Training Institute.

Amelia Brunskill photoAmelia Brunskill, MSIS, ORCID, is the liaison librarian for the College of the Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with her Master of Science in Information Studies and has bachelor’s degrees in psychology and Art from the University of Washington. Her research interests include investigating issues at the intersection of library science and disability studies, and the methodologies behind systematic and scoping reviews. Her work has been published in College & Research Libraries, Medical Reference Services Quarterly, portal, and the Journal of Academic Librarianship. Amelia is a Fellow of the 2018 MLA Research Training Institute.

Margaret Hoogland photoMargaret Hoogland, MLS, AHIP, ORCID, is an Associate Professor and the Clinical Medical Librarian at the Mulford Health Science Library at The University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. As a 2018 RTI Fellow, she studied how medical students discover and use medical information tools. The study results and conversations with faculty members about her RTI project led to the re-design of sessions with first year medical students. She then worked with faculty to develop and teach a session for fourth-year medical students in April 2020 and 2021 as part of the “Transition to Residency” course. Margaret’s research interests include educational technology, professional development, and developing well-being programs. An active member of MLA, Margaret is Co-Editor of Hypothesis: Journal of the Medical Library Association Research Caucus.

Elisabeth Mueller Nylander photoElisabeth (Mueller) Nylander, MSc, ORCID, is an informationist at Welch Medical Library, Johns Hopkins University. Prior to this, she served as an instruction and liaison librarian for the School of Health and Welfare as well as the library team leader for research support at Jönköping University, Sweden. She holds a MSc in Digital Library and Information Services from the Swedish School of Library and Information Science (SSLIS). Her current research interests include developments within evidence synthesis, such as validated search filters for specific topic areas and the use of artificial intelligence during systematic literature reviews. Elisabeth was a Fellow of the 2018 MLA Research Training Institute, and her project focused on the information literacies of PhD students within the health sciences.

Elizabeth Suelzer photoLiz Suelzer, MLIS, AHIP, ORCID, is the Application Support Analyst for Advocate Aurora Health.  In this role, she implements, maintains, and looks to improve the technologies used by Advocate Aurora Library to ensure that library users can get access to the information. Prior to this, she was in the roles of Scholarly Communications at the Medical College of Wisconsin Libraries in Milwaukee, WI. She graduated with an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Her research interests include retractions and citation analyses, and systematic reviews. Suelzer is a Fellow of the 2018 MLA Research Training Institute where she performed a citation analysis looking at the characteristics of articles that cited a retracted publication. Her research was published in JAMA Network Open.

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

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