After attending six chapter meetings since July, I have come to appreciate once again, the work and planning that are poured into these events for the benefit of members. MLA is fortunate to have distinct regional units that offer education and networking as well as leadership opportunities. And, of course, fun! Because of scheduling conflicts, it was impossible to attend every chapter meeting, but I learned something at each one I attended, and enjoyed interacting with members in their “local habitats.” Although chapter meetings, of course, were held in different locations, there were familiar faces at each meeting—vendors, MLA members who attend multiple chapter meetings, NN/LM staff whose areas cover more than one chapter and who teach outside their regions, MLA Headquarters staff, and Connie Schardt—former MLA President who has been teaching CE for a number of chapters.
The New York/New Jersey meeting, themed “Batten Down the Hatches,” was held at the Price Center on the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx and was co-chaired by Claire Joseph and Aurelia Minuti. Since this area was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy just one year ago, the meeting content revolved around disaster preparation and recovery, with members sharing personal stories. Keynote speaker Neil Rambo described New York University School of Medicine’s Health Sciences Library experience and explained how far along they are in the recovery process at one year out from the event. He proudly noted that library services were among the first to become active in his institution after Sandy shut everything down. Speaking of the disaster, Neil said, “It’s a big loss… and a bigger opportunity.” Laraine Tursi of Coney Island Hospital and Claire Joseph of South Nassau Communities Hospital highlighted the roles they played in disaster management in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Both Neil and Laraine expressed gratitude to other libraries for their assistance. Laraine’s library set up shop in a patient room. She advocated practice of the “f” word—flexibility. Claire Joseph related how her hospital received the influx from other hospitals to the point that military clinical tents were set up in their parking lot to handle the patient overflow. She advised that every library have a “shelter in place” plan as hospital care continues. She also recommended taking the disaster information courses from MLA. The business meeting was led by outgoing Chapter Chair Racheline Habousha who announced that the NY/NJ Chapter approved sponsoring the fee for chapter members who are first-time applicants to AHIP. MLA’s Hospital Libraries Section Chair, helen-ann brown epstein spoke up on behalf of the section’s new VALUES2 initiative and encouraged hospital librarians to gather at the same table for lunch to have a discussion about their successes and their future. Mary K Joyce received the chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Award, while Antonio DeRosa was honored as the Outstanding New Member. Nancy Glassman was recognized for Outstanding Contribution by a Member and was also the recipient of the chapter’s research grant; Racheline Habousha was honored for Distinguished Achievement for service as Chapter Chair. The lunch break included a tour of the D. Samuel Gottesman Library. One side of the main room and one side of the 24/7 area looks out on a big, green area. (Students at my library would love that if only we had it!) Exhibits rounded out the one-day conference which most attendees were able to attend without a hotel stay.
A few days later, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter held a “Renaissance on the Rivers” in Pittsburgh. The first keynote speaker was Dr. Andrew Watson, a colorectal surgeon who noted that 75% of healthcare costs go toward treating chronic diseases that are preventable. [his source: Escape Fire http://www.escapefiremovie.com/] He said that 30% of his practice is in the cloud through telemedicine, a means of taking healthcare back to the patient. He believes that telemedicine can reduce disparities for those unable to travel to a specialist. Lee Gutkind, author of You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, was the other keynote; his topic was creative nonfiction. One of his main points is that we remember more when information is communicated through a story. He gave examples of narrative medicine, such as works of Oliver Sachs and Atul Gawande. A number of papers and posters were presented—lots of good stuff that I made notes on to bring back home. Speaker for the hospital librarians’ lunch was Michelle Burda who surveyed hospital librarians in the region in preparation for her talk. She shared responses regarding the new roles that librarians have taken, such as teaching CPR. Ideas were shared on how to be more visible in one’s institution. Michelle reminded the group that “It’s a great job—no matter what is happening around us.” The Mid Atlantic Region of the NN/LM is looking at creating a template to help hospital librarians and is setting up a mentoring group through its hospital library advisory body. The chapter had a couple of different events to assist members, a resume clinic and a student/new professionals workshop. At the business meeting, Kristen Chapman represented MLA’s Hospital Libraries Section and asked people to send their ideas for the VALUES2 initiative to helen-ann brown epstein. The Renaissance Hotel was a lovely setting with the main meeting room offering a view of the river. Meeting planners David Nolfi and Nancy Tannery, along with Chapter Chair Stefanie Warlick, planned a delightful evening out for MLA Executive Director Carla Funk and me at the Grand Concourse Restaurant followed by a ride on the Monongahela Incline that ends with a bird’s eye view of Pittsburgh.
After catching up for a few days at home, I headed east to celebrate the “Art of Information” at the Southern Chapter meeting in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Attendees enjoyed the comfort of suites in the Embassy Suites Hotel where a welcome reception started off events for the conference. Howard Teitelbaum, DO, PhD, MPH spoke on “Which Way to the Library?”, courting the audience with statements such as “When you’re in trouble, ask a librarian.” He shared photographs of libraries at Harvard, Yale, NLM and Emory. Much of his talk focused on medical education, as he presented statistics from AAMC on the projected shortage of 91,000 physicians by 2020 and the projected shortage of residencies for medical school graduates. Graduate medical education funds are tied to hospital patient care but care is increasingly provided in the ambulatory setting. He predicted that more community-based hospitals will become involved with residents and students and that integrative teaching models will be utilized for MDs, Dos, PAs, NPs, dieticians, social workers and other health professions. He showed Jenny Garcia’s award-winning poster titled “Hospital Libraries: A Commonality among America’s Best Hospitals.” His presentation was followed by the Hospital Librarians Symposium , a luncheon held at the Anjou Restaurant, featuring past Colaianni Award winner Mary Virginia Taylor who spoke on “Forty Years in a Hospital Library – Sharing the Experience.” At the next general session on the following day, a panel of three presenters shared thoughts on various aspects of open access and the issues surrounding it as experienced and managed by librarians. The final speaker was Dr. Ralph Didlake, who spoke on “Ethics, Information and the 21st Century Medical Library”—a topic that I was delighted to see on the program since ethical awareness is one of my presidential priorities for this year. He explained the difference between ethics and law, stating that law defines the minimum standard of behavior while ethics defines the highest standard of behavior. He talked about the Good Work Project website which discusses the three E’s of leadership found in the effective professional: excellent at what they do, engaged in what they are doing, and ethical about what they do. He highlighted MLA’s Code of Ethics for Health Sciences Librarianship and noted that it is exceptionally well written. Advice to librarians was to become seamless with the core curriculum, take the embedded approach, get a few library slides inserted into other departments’ courses, and become involved in interprofessional education. Recommended reading is the publication Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice a collaborative effort in itself among six associations of healthcare professions. (https://members.aamc.org/eweb/upload/Core%20Competencies%20for%20Interprofessional%20Collaborative%20Practice_Revised.pdf ) In between the general sessions, there was the usual round of contributed papers and posters presented by chapter members on a broad array of topics. The big social event for this conference was held at the Mississippi Crafts Center—a delightful showcase for local artisans whose wares were for sale and where attendees were served wonderful food and entertained with live music.
After another few days back at LSU Health, I drove in the opposite direction to attend the South Central Chapter 40th anniversary meeting “Cowboys,Culture and Change” in Fort Worth. The conference hotel was the Fort Worth Hilton, formerly the Hotel Texas, which is where President John F. Kennedy spent his last night. With this being the 50th year since his assassination, the first speaker was Krishna Shenoy, librarian/archivist at the Sixth Floor Museum, Dealey Plaza, Dallas. She noted that President Kennedy gave his final speech in the very ballroom where we were sitting. Other invited speakers included Edward Flores, an intellectual property expert who is both a lawyer and a PhD molecular biologist, and Arthur Eisenberg, an internationally known PhD in the field of forensic genetics. Dr. Eisenberg, in keeping with the conference theme, showed the cover of The Last Stand of the DNA Cowboys and reminded us that “Forensics is more than what you see on television.” Among other tidbits, he noted that NamUs, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System is a free service to find missing people. See more at www.NamUs.gov. Hospital librarians had two major events: the HLIS luncheon which featured Dr. Eric Hubli who spoke on “The Science of Business: How Lean, Six Sigma and Other Approaches Have Changed Our Approach to the Business of Healthcare” and a forum led by Karen Keller on what chapter librarians are doing in their hospitals. There was quite a lot of participation in the forum from attendees, and I hope the ideas will be shared with MLA’s HLS for its VALUES2 initiative. There were many peer presentations in the form of posters, papers and tech expos. One of the posters (by Melissa Kash-Holley) presented the results of a survey of hospital librarians in the region, and offered some optimism for South Central hospital libraries. There were three evenings of social events: the welcome reception followed by Karaoke, a trip to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame with a western-style dinner and a champagne toast to celebrate the 40th anniversary, and a Halloween party complete with costume contest and dancing. (Monster mash, anyone?) In honor of the chapter’s mascot, one member was even sporting an armadillo costume. At the MLA President’s meeting with students and new librarians, I met an impressive group of individuals who have clear ideas of what they want to do with their careers and who have already become involved in the profession beyond their graduate work and their jobs. Many attendees participated in SCC’s service project which was to “Give a Book a Home” by donating child and adolescent books for kids living in Fort Worth homeless shelters. The business luncheon was highlighted by presentation of the Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Ana Cleveland as well as by the awarding of the first “Armadillo Emeritus Award” to Marty Thompson, longtime parliamentarian of the chapter and one of the most recent entrants into the world of the retired, and the Librarian of the Year Award to Stewart Brower. Although not an official tour associated with the meeting, Dan Burgard took time from his conference responsibilities to squire SCC President Susan Steelman and me to the Gibson D. Lewis Library where he showed off library renovations including the Anatomy Bar which is an area that is actually designed like a bar and features a high-tech Anatomage table along with a traditional, low-tech skeleton.
I found a number of commonalities among the chapters including the following:
* young/new members who are enthusiastic and willing to participate,
* experienced members who are willing to share their knowledge,
* retired members who continue to contribute to the profession,
* interest in new technologies and how they will shape the future,
* willingness to be involved with tackling the management of big data,
* a desire to bring health information literacy to the consumer population,
* a passion for educating health professionals about finding and evaluating quality information for making clinical decisions,
* a belief that open access is a concept worth pursuing to its full potential,
* concern for hospital libraries and willingness to share ways to help hospital librarians succeed,
* and interest in methods for demonstrating value to administrators of our respective institutions.
“New to me” vocabulary learned at chapter meetings:
Pharmacovigilance – drug safety (mentioned by helen-ann brown epstein at the NY/NJ meeting)
Silver tsunami – the aging population as the large generation of baby boomers moves into the senior years (mentioned by Dr. Andrew Watson at the MAC meeting)
In addition to the cavalcade of chapter meetings in October, I participated in a site visit of the NPC 2014 co-chairs and Local Assistance Committee co-chairs at the location for the upcoming annual meeting in Chicago. The Hyatt has been renovated and will be a great setting! Speakers have signed on the dotted line, CE courses have been selected, and social events are being planned in one of the country’s favorite tourist destinations, so stay tuned to announcements regarding details. Plan to attend the annual meeting in Chicago in May and bring your family or friends; they’ll thank you for it!