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October 27, 2012 / Christian M.

MLA Quad Meeting Recap Part 2

Sunday, October 15th


This general session was honestly my favorite session of the whole conference. The keynote speaker was Souzan Hawala-Druy, a nursing professor at Howard University. She spoke about the importance of cultural competency. She is an excellent speaker, full of wisdom, grace and humor. I wish I could take one of her cultural competency courses. Here are some of my takeaways:

  • Culture defined: Goes beyond race and ethnicity. It is a combination of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, family environment, religion, traditions, etc. Culture influences our behavior and decisions.
  • Culture shock: Everyone experiences this at some point. It happens when you move to a new environment: new country, city, workplace, church, etc.
  • How to handle culture shock:
    • Strive: Trust what you do well. When you change cultures, you may feel lost or doubtful of skills. Build on the skills you have and continue to grow & learn.
    • Survive: You will be tested. The more you feel powerful, the more you will be asked to take on additional responsibilities. Having a mentor is empowering and you won’t be alone.
    • Thrive: Be proactive. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. Bring your own ideas. Watch non-verbal communication of those whose first language is not English.

This presentation really resonated with me. First, because I can apply it to my current work in the public library. All sorts of people come into a public library, and there is room for improvement in my attitude towards some cultural differences (things that before now I didn’t view as being cultural issues). Second, I am nervous about going to work in a health sciences library. Even though it is what I want, it will be a culture shock from my current workplace, and I already have some self-doubt. But I will definitely remember Strive-Survive-Thrive!

Paper Session:

There were four paper presentation sessions running at the same time. I chose to stay in Session 1 where the presentations mostly related to consumer health. We had the option to move from room to room though. You can find an overview of all the paper presentations on the conference website.

The presentations that I found most interesting today were:

  • University of Central Florida Health Science Center Libraries – Conducted a pilot study with embedding a librarian at their outpatient clinic. Patients could come and ask the librarian for information about their health condition, and receive handouts or journal articles to take in and discuss with their doctor.
  • New York University Langone Medical Center – Shared their approach to writing plain language patient education materials. This piqued my interest because I just finished an e-course on writing easy-to-read health materials.
  • University of MD Health Sciences and Human Services Library – Developed a workshop, “Communicating with Patients”, for health care providers to learn about the principles of clear health communication in efforts to help improve the health literacy of their patients.

Poster Session

There were many posters on display. The two that interested me the most today were:

  • National Library of Medicine’s outreach to the Ronald McDonald House in Dallas TX. You can view their poster online. This one caught my attention because I’m interested in consumer health information services, as well as community outreach.
  • Bethany’s poster comparing Powerpoint and Prezi software. This one interested me because I tried to use Prezi once about a year or so ago, and gave up. It just seemed too complicated…and too abstract for my very linear brain. However, Bethany has encouraged me to try again and told me about some updates to the software that should be helpful to new users.

Panel Session:  Connecting with Technology Trends

Three panelists presented on topics related to technology.

  • “Connecting Physicians and iPads to Support Patient Care”/Emily Vardell – Conducting research on how physicians use iPads. View her slides online.
  • How Did I Become the Computer Geek?”/Bart Ragon – talked about the evolution of technology and what to look forward to in the future.
    • Today: LibGuides, mobile devices, Summon, Drupal
    • Future:  more relevant –semantic web, ontologies, data, user experience, search interfaces, new collaborations; less relevant – 1-on-1 face to face, literature searching, reference
  • “Emerging Technologies & New Medical Libraries”/ Nadine Dexter – Shared resources for librarians to use in keeping up with emerging technology.
    • Options for keeping up with emerging technology: Horizon Report, TedTalks, Professional Meetings
    • Technology terms that medical librarians need to understand include: cloud computing, decentralized computing, Inkling, personal computing devices, personalized education

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Leave a Comment
  1. Rachel / Oct 28 2012 11:12 am

    Thanks so much for doing these recaps. I was on the program committee, but couldn’t make it to the meeting itself. I wish I’d been able to see Souzan’s talk and the items on communicating with patients you mention above! Glad you had a positive experience, and thanks for blogging about it.

  2. LibGirl09 / Oct 29 2012 8:38 am

    You’re welcome! 🙂

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