Public Library and K-12 Programming Raises Awareness of Health Information and Community Resources

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine, MidContinental Region (NNLM MCR) funded five creative public library and K-12 projects with a health information focus from May 2018 to January 2019.  The NNLM program is coordinated by the National Library of Medicine and is carried out through a nationwide network of health science libraries and information centers. The Strauss Health Sciences Library participates in this Program, serving as a Partner Library through a subcontract with the University of Utah.

The purpose of the funding was to bring attention to NLM consumer health information and raise community awareness of local health resources.

Public Library Projects

Project 1: Blue Hill Library in Blue Hill, Nebraska received funding to provide instruction on healthy cooking and nutrition for children and their parents. To date, nine classes have been held with 96 participants. Evaluations indicate that 100% of participants gained knowledge of health information resources to research healthy eating and nutrition information, and all were able to list food items that should be minimized in their diets (even the kiddos!), and ways to incorporate all recommended food groups into their eating habits.

Project 2: Independence Public Library in Independence, Nebraska received funding to provide programming on physical, mental, and financial health to underserved families in the library’s service area. Thus far, two workshops were held with 23 participants. 100% of participants indicated their awareness was raised regarding exercise and mental health issues and research resources because of the programming. 

Project 3: Summit County Library in Summit County, Utah received funding to raise awareness of skin cancer and provide resources for prevention. Utah leads the nation in incidences of skin cancer. To date, programming reached 60 people, with 80% responding their awareness was raised. 

K-12 Projects

Project 1: Maltman Memorial Library in Wood River, Nebraska, collaborated with Wood River Elementary School to provide after school programming for 100 students. The robust programming (23 sessions!) focused on healthy eating (understanding food labels, cooking classes) and exercise activities. The science teacher, Peggy Heise noted this programming supplemented the nutrition and fitness curriculum areas of making healthy decisions; eating well-balanced meals; nutritional properties of foods; benefits of physical activity; and balancing strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Project 2: Red Feather Lakes Community Library in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, collaborated with Red Feather Lakes Elementary School to provide after school programming for 50 students and their family members on healthy eating and nutrition, integrating anatomical models (e.g., digestive system, muscles, and joints). Kasey Ross, 4th/5th grade teacher indicated this programming supported the elementary school’s curriculum involving applying knowledge and skills to engage in lifelong healthy eating. The school lacks science supplies and a functional kitchen, so this collaboration fills a big gap for the school.

For information on past funded NNLM projects.

For information on current funding NNLM opportunities.

– D. Abbey, Community Engagement Coordinator

Limited English Proficient and Consumer Health Information Resources

Many hospitals, clinics, community health centers, and voluntary organizations provide a broad range of health services to individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). Numerous studies over the past 25 years have demonstrated a strong connection between language and health. Language can affect the accuracy of patient histories, the ability to engage in treatment decision-making, understanding a medical diagnosis or treatment, patient trust level with care providers, underuse of primary and preventative care, and lower use or misuse of medications. Culture also plays a significant role in health, healing and wellness belief systems – influencing how the patient and the care provider perceive illness, disease, and their causes.

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) Consumer Outreach Librarians have curated reliable culturally and linguistically appropriate patient and consumer health information on their Consumer Health Information in Many Languages Resources page.  The intent of this resource is to provide one place for a rich variety of multi-language resources. One great feature is the “Search” the web sites on this page using the Customized Search Engine. It will search your terms in all the sites listed, except the dictionaries. It’s a quick way to locate relevant sources if you are not sure where to begin. Below are a few examples of some of the sites you might be directed to during your search:
Provides accurate, concise, and valuable health information in American Sign Language using health information created by the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. is a unique site, and while other sites offer American Sign Language (ASL) health information materials, it is the focus of their content. ASL interpreters sign the text that is provided with each entry. You can search for a disease or illness in the alpha listing; locate information on understanding a variety of tests, and a locator to find deaf friendly doctors in the community. One drawback to the site is that there is no date of addition/updating.

Cultural Competency Resources and Patient Education Materials for: Amharic, Chinese, Hmong, Karen, Khmer, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya, Vietnamese and more.

EthnoMed has been around since 1994. It is an ethnic medicine website containing medical and cultural information about immigrant and refugee groups. Information is specific to groups in the Seattle area, but is applicable to anyone working with the groups represented. The goal of the website is to make information about culture, language, health, illness and community resources directly accessible to health care providers who see patients from different ethnic groups. EthnoMed was designed as a quick reference tool to consult prior to meeting with a patient or client. For example, a clinician seeing a Cambodian asthma patient for the first time could find out if there are cultural and interpretive issues in the patient’s Cambodian community that might impact asthma management. The care provider could also download a patient education pamphlet in Khmer (Cambodian language) to give to the patient. The site also provides a calendar with significant religious holidays. This can help care providers understand when treatments or medications might need to be adjusted – for example Ramadan. It also offers a selection of print and audio resources for blind/low literacy populations.

Health Info Translations
Use the drop-down box to choose a language – including Chinese Simplified and Traditional, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Ukrainian, Hindi, Vietnamese, and Arabic.

This site provides plain language health education resources for health care professionals and those working in communities with limited English proficient populations.  The site, which launched in 2005, is a collaboration of four health systems in Ohio, and has received many honors from professional organizations. The entries are developed from evidence-based research. Translators, editors and proofreaders are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in the field or specialty they are translating, if they are from outside the U.S., they must have a translation certification, and undergo linguistic testing and training. Documents are updated at least every four years, or as needed. Health Information Translations offers:

  • Resources that are searchable by keyword, health topic, language and multimedia resources.
  • 20 languages.
  • PDF format for easy downloading with Adobe Acrobat.
  • Culturally appropriate materials.
  • Materials translated by contracted translation service then back translated for accuracy.
  • Easy to read with the English version written at or below a 7th grade reading level using the Fry Formula for readability.
  • Dual language format: English and translated version will appear on adjoining pages, with matching page breaks (some foreign languages require more text than the English text).

In addition to specific health topics, you will find information on disaster preparedness, diagnostic tests, and hospital signage.

Find multilingual, multicultural health information and patient education materials about health conditions and wellness topics. Patients, family members and caregivers can learn about diseases, causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. Materials may be available as printable documents, audio, and video. Over 60 languages.

Health Translations Online Directory
This database contains links to government, hospital, community health center and other agency online multilingual resources in numerous languages. Brought to us from the Victorian Government down under, Health Translations Online Directory has over 100 languages. You can search for a PDF by a topic or by language. The site provides the ability to customize the popular “I Speak” poster for helping care providers identify the language spoken by their patient. For those working in health care or public health settings, the document can be designed to include the languages relevant to your community of practice. Each document has the date added and the date the page was last updated. Note: the PDFs are in the selected language, and do not provide dual English text.

La Leche League
Breastfeeding information in 16 languages. Le Leche’s mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother. You can find local support worldwide, but the information provided may only be in the language most commonly spoken in the country selected. If you hold your mouse over the language bar on the home page it will display in English.

MedlinePlus Health Information in Multiple Languages
Information in nearly 60 languages from the National Library of Medicine’s premier consumer health website. No list of authoritative health information websites would be complete without a visit to MedlinePlus, and they do not disappoint in the selection of language materials.  The medical encyclopedia contains a wealth of images, medical photographs and illustrations.  In addition, there are health and surgery videos.

Dana Abbey, Community Engagement Coordinator













Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference: Best Practices in Caring for LGBTQ Patients and Families

Members of the LGBTQ — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer – community often face health disparities linked to social stigma, discrimination, and denial of civil and human rights. Data systems used to monitor LGBTQ populations and their health needs are sparse and healthcare environments have been slow to openly acknowledge this community.

Those who serve as health and staff educators have the power to drive effective changes to create a welcoming environment for LGBTQ patients, families, and caregivers.

Tips for creating an inclusive clinical setting:

  • Identify as an ally: Offer an online directory of health care providers and administrative staff who have self-identified as LGBTQ trained, allies and/or “out.”
  • Host a workshop: Human Resources and/or hospital Diversity Committees may offer workshops for staff on how to provide LGBTQ-sensitive care. The Safe Zone Project is a free online resource that can be used to create curriculums on LGBTQ awareness.
  • Offer visual cues: In outward-facing materials, such as health education resources and marketing campaigns use imagery of same sex couples and families. Post signage near restrooms that welcome use based on gender identity.
  • Collect data: Integrate sexual orientation and gender identity demographic questions into the electronic health record. Patients have the right to opt in or out of self-identifying.
  • Get patient’s preferred name and pronouns: During the registration or medical history process, ask the patient for their preferred name/pronoun and document it in the electronic health record (note that the name may not match insurance and identification documents).
  • Be sensitive when discussing relationships. When asking about relationships, use terms such as “unmarried partner” and “spouse.” Ask the gender of sexual partners as well as gynecologic history (many transgender men retain a cervix, uterus, and breast tissue).


-Dana Abbey, Community Engagement Coordinator

Workshop on Advancing Biomedical Research with AI and Machine Learning

NIH is excited to announce that registration is open for a full-day public workshop, “Harnessing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Advance Biomedical Research,” Monday, July 23, 2018, 8:45 a.m. – 4:40 p.m. at the Porter Neuroscience Research Center, Building 35 on the NIH Main Campus. To explore the opportunities for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in biomedical research, NIH will bring together leaders in innovation and science for a robust and in-depth discussion.

Presenters at the workshop include leading experts from Amazon and IBM, and scientists at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Cincinnati who are employing AI/ML in biomedical research settings. Craig Mundie, who served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and was formerly Microsoft’s Chief Research Strategy Officer, will deliver the keynote address. Speakers will engage with workshop participants on AI and ML topics such as integration into healthcare, future uses in biomedical research, the potential for enhancing clinical care and scientific discovery, and ethical considerations.

For additional details on the Workshop, Speakers and Agenda, please visit the workshop webpage.

To attend the Workshop, participants must register. Please note that space is limited.

The Workshop will be available and archived on Videocast:

Embed the NCBI Sequence Viewer into Your Pages

Search NCBI

Clear input

The newest video on the NCBI YouTube channel introduces the Sequence Viewer embedding API. A few quick examples illustrate how easy it is to embed Sequence Viewer into your own pages.

Sequence Viewer is a graphical view of sequences and color-coded annotations on regions of sequences stored in the Nucleotide and Protein databases.

Subscribe to the NCBI YouTube channel to receive alerts about new videos ranging from quick tips to full webinar presentations.

5 Questions you can answer using Gene

The Gene resource from NCBI is a central hub for accessing nearly all molecular and literature resources for a particular gene. You can easily answer the most common questions and perform the most common tasks by starting in Gene.

In this webinar you will learn about the structure and contents of the Gene resource and how to use Gene to answer the following questions about a gene:

  • Where is the gene located (chromosome and position) in the genome assembly?
  • What are the Reference genomic, transcript and protein sequences for the gene?
  • What variations are present in the gene and are they associated with disease?
  • In what tissues and under what conditions is the gene expressed?
  • What are the equivalent genes (homologs) in other species?


Peter Cooper and Bonnie Maidak, NCBI

Class Details:

Mar 9, 2017

1:00PM – 2:00PM ET



NCBI Minute Webinar: Finding Gene, Protein and Chemical Names, Aliases and Synonyms on February 8, 2017

NCBI staff will discuss the systems in the NCBI Gene and PubChem resources that identify and correlate various names used for genes, proteins, and chemicals.

Date and time: February 8, 2017 10:00 AM MT

To register:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about attending the Webinar. After the live presentation, the Webinar will be uploaded to the NCBI YouTube channel. Any related materials will be accessible on the Webinars and Courses page.