Health & Wellness @ the Library: The Essentials of Providing Consumer Health Service

MLA Course
Listing Archived: Saturday, January 31, 2015

Primary contact information...
NNLM, PSR
UCLA Biomedical Library
12-077 Center for the Health Sciences, Box 951798
Los Angeles CA , 90095
United States
Kelli Ham is the primary contact.
Phone: 310-825-1984
Fax: 310-825-5389
Resource URL: http://nnlm.gov/training/healthwellness/
Region: Southern California and Arizona

Description: Whether it is a curious consumer or a patient with a recent serious diagnosis, are you well- prepared when a person turns to the library for help in understanding their health questions? This online course covers all aspects of consumer health information services, beginning with using statistics and health indicators to understand the health status and information needs of the community. This will be followed by introduction to the essential skills and information that library staff members need to provide unbiased reference services to diverse users. Students will learn about the best resources for general and complex health questions, in addition to collection development practices for consumer health materials. Students will learn about mobile health technologies and social networking for health information. The course will show how to create relevant, informative health-related programming to reach specific populations based on community demographics and health information needs. This course is taught using Moodle, an online course management system.

Experience Level: Beginning Plus
CE Contact Hours: 4, 12
Professional Competencies: Health Sciences Information Services
Subject: Consumer Health
Course Type: Face to Face, e-Learning, Hands-on, Specialization, RML Offerings - Moodle Class

Educational Objective: Learners will be able to: • Explain the concept of consumer health and how the library helps to build healthy communities. • Explain the difference between literacy and health literacy. • Feel comfortable and confident providing health reference to diverse users. • Understand the ethical and legal issues about providing health information. • Evaluate the quality of health information in a variety of formats, and teach users how to recognize the elements of trustworthy materials and the warning signs of dubious health information. • Identify and choose authoritative health information resources that are appropriate for particular users. • Apply criteria for collection development of consumer health materials • Plan health-related programming and events.

Agenda:

Note: The 4-hour in-person course is a modified version of the online course, with each hour corresponding to content in weeks 1-4 of the online course.

Full agenda for Online Course:
Week 1 

Topic: Consumer Health Basics
Learning outcome(s): 
Learners will be able to:
•	Explain the concept of consumer health and how the library improves the health of the entire community
•	Understand the needs and issues of diverse users seeking health information
•	Explain the difference between literacy and health literacy and utilize strategies for helping patrons improve their health literacy levels.

Points to be covered in the main reading:  Note: some of these materials may be short audio or video clips I create
•	Definition of consumer health
•	Characteristics and information-seeking behavior of the health information consumer
•	The role of the public library  as health information providers
•	Importance of knowing the community in order to provide relevant services
•	Serving diverse users
•	Literacy vs. health literacy vs. health information literacy
•	Characteristics and elements of easy-to-read materials

Assignments: 
•	Watch one of the American Medical Association Foundation videos (provide links to a few)
•	Exercise 1: Knowing Your Community: Use statistical sites (American Factfinder or Community Health Status Indicators) and other tools to find demographics about the community/county and identify the main population groups and health issues.  List three to five things the library should consider or do to provide better health information services for the specific user groups, either through the collection, services and/or programming.
•	Review the list of options for the final project

Question or exploration for discussion forum: 
1)	(Required) Introduction: Each participant needs to introduce themselves, tell why they are interested in the class, and what they hope to learn.
There are often barriers or issues in consumer health inquiries/interactions, both on the part of the patron and the library staff person.  Please describe some of the barriers, issues or difficulties in communication about health questions.  
Note: In one discussion or the other, be sure to propose a possible way to resolve the communication issue you or another learner has described  
2)	a) Describe issues and/or barriers from your own experiences or observations from the point of view of the library staff, 
b) Describe issues and/or barriers that users might face when seeking health information.

Online meetings: Yes, Introductory webinar 

Assessment tools: Participation in discussion forum.  Week 1: Introduction required and  at least one original posting or response.    Completion of Exercise 1: Knowing Your Community (Providing services based on demographics and special populations)
Handouts:  No
Supplementary reading:  Yes, optional, to be determined.  (Understanding community, services for specific populations, health literacy)

Week 2 

Topic:  Health Reference 
Learning outcome(s):
Learners will be able to:
•	Feel comfortable providing health reference to diverse users.
•	Provide reference services based on understanding of ethical issues
•	Understand the critical difference between providing health information and giving medical advice
•	Evaluate the quality of health information in a variety of formats, and teach users how to recognize the elements of authoritative materials and the warning signs of dubious health information
•	Apply selection and retention/deselection guidelines for consumer health materials

Points to be covered in the main reading: Note: some of these materials may be short audio or video clips I create
•	Difference between regular reference and health reference
•	Legal and ethical issues
•	Evaluation criteria for health materials 
•	Teaching patrons at point of service how to evaluate health information
•	The pros and cons of core lists Collection development, retention, and deselection policies for consumer health materials

Assignments:
•	Poll: For general health questions, which Internet site do you use most often?  Why?
•	Exercise 2: Worksheet: Website Comparison and Evaluation.  Compare and evaluate two health information websites; participants will choose the websites from two lists provided by the instructor.

Question or exploration for discussion forum:  
1)	Please comment on the apparent conflict/disconnect between criteria for evaluating websites as compared to choosing a book title for the circulating collection.  Do you think a library can have different criteria for evaluating resources?  For instance, is it acceptable to purchase a popular book for the circulating collection if the content is dubious or perhaps harmful and wouldn’t meet the evaluation criteria for an authoritative online resource?  Why or why not?   Example: Kevin Trudeau’s book ‘Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About’.  
2)	Related to the question above, what are the pros and cons of putting a disclaimer inside a book that includes controversial information about a health topic?  If your library uses disclaimers when providing health information, describe when and how they are used.  
3) Describe a difficult health reference situation you’ve experienced and how you handled it OR pose a sample situation and ask for thoughts on how others would respond.  Share your success stories and best practices!
Online meetings: None this week
Assessment tools: 
•	Participation in discussion forum.   At least two postings  or responses to other postings from the three topics listed
•	Completion of Exercise 2: Worksheet comparing and evaluating two websites 

Handouts: none this week
Supplementary reading:  Yes, to be determined (health reference guidelines, evaluation criteria, teachable moments

Week 3 
Topic: Health Resources: There’s a (book, website, app) for that

Learning outcome(s):
Learners will be able to:
•	Identify authoritative health information resources for specific health topics: diseases, conditions, therapies, prevention, wellness and other topics.  
•	Choose materials that are appropriate for particular users, including easy-to-read and multilingual materials.
•	Recommend resources that utilize new technologies
•	Guide patrons in the use of social networking as a way of sharing and utilizing  health information

Points to be covered in the main reading:  Note: some of these materials may be short audio or video clips I create
•	Introduction to best health websites
•	Resources for special content
•	Print reference materials
•	Mobile health resources and other technologies
•	Benefits and caveats of health-related social networking sites 

Assignments:
•	Quiz 1:  Questions will relate to health resources covered in the reading
•	Exercise 3: Getting to Know Your Own Collection (coverage of subscription health databases (Gale, Ebsco) reference materials, series titles, circulating collection).
•	Optional: Watch the archived version of the Infopeople webinar from September: “The New Medline Plus: An In-depth Look” http://infopeople.org/training/webcasts/webcast_data/366/index.html
    Question or exploration for discussion forum:
1)	What do you think of health-related social networking sites and online support groups?  What are the issues and/or benefits of these sites?  Would you recommend these sites to patrons, and if so, what would you tell the patron?
2)	Please share other “must-know” health information sites and a note explaining what makes it unique or special
3)	Find and listen to a health-related podcast.  Describe anything that struck you about the experience: was it easy to download, or to subscribe?  Was the content engaging, useful, and worth recommending?  Do you see value in podcasts as information sources for patrons?
Online meetings: Possibly a webinar (or archived session) – new MedlinePlus.
Assessment tools:
•	Participation in discussion forum.   At least one posting for the two of the three topics listed
•	Completion of Quiz 1:  
•	Completion of Exercise 3. 

Handouts: none
Supplementary reading:  Yes, Health Resources section of the Toolkit, Pew Internet Report and a few others

Week 4 

Topic: The Library as a Healthy Place
Learning outcome(s):
Learners will be able to:
Plan a health-related program or event.
•	Make contacts with hospital librarians or community organizations to enhance public library reference services and programming opportunities 
•	Model healthy behaviors in the workplace.

Points to be covered in the main reading: Note: some of these materials may be short audio or video clips I create
•	Designing health programs for your users
•	Promotion and marketing of health information services
•	How partnerships can help build healthy communities 
•	Why workplace wellness matters

Assignments:
Final project 
Choose one topic from the list below, and create the requested material. (1-2 pages max.)(additional instructions will be provided for each)
•	An easy-to-read or bilingual handout, brochure or bookmark pointing patrons to health information resources in your library, including a few good web resources (from Week 1)
•	A policy statement and checklist for use when weeding or deselecting consumer health materials (from Week 2)
•	A pathfinder or handout with health resources targeted to a specific user group, including brief annotations for each resource (from Week 3)   
•	A plan for holding a health fair at the library (from Week 4)
•	A plan for a health program targeted to a specific user group(from Week 4)
•	A proposal for a workplace wellness program at your library (from Week 4)

Question or exploration for discussion forum:
1)	Think about a specific population or user group your library serves, then think of one or more health-related programs that would be useful, interesting or fun.  Share your ideas!
2)	What are some ways we, as individuals, can help improve our own health and help attain a healthy workplace environment?
3)	Open discussion – Are there any other topics you would like to discuss about consumer health in public library settings? 
Online meetings:  None this week
Assessment tools:
•	Participation in discussion forum.   At least two postings or responses 
•	Completion of final project

Handouts: No
Supplementary reading:  yes, optional, from Toolkit, to be determined.

Need for This Course: NN/LM PSR conducted a Learning Needs Assessment in 2009 (covering Arizona, California, Nevada and Hawaii) which identified a need and high demand for online and distance education opportunities, more classes that are eligible for MLA CE credit, and classes on consumer health topics. Additionally, CHIS credit courses are of great interest. Additionally, the California State Library conducted a large scale survey of public libraries which identified gaps in training opportunities and a need for consumer health courses. Communications with consumer health librarians and colleagues across the country corroborate the need for these topics and format.

The instructional methods used include Lecture, Slides, Discussion, Sharing/Self-disclosure, Hands-on Exercises, and Other.

Participant Materials: The companion resource for this class is "Finding Health and Wellness @ the Library: A Consumer Health Toolkit for Library Staff", which can be downloaded at no cost from the California State Library website. Relevant sections and resources in the Toolkit will be referred to throughout the course. http://www.library.ca.gov/lds/docs/HealthToolkit.pdf

Facility Requirements: Access to computers and the Internet is required for the face-to-face course. For the online course, students need to have access to a computer and an Internet connection.