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Medical Library Association
Linda A. Watson, AHIP
President, Medical Library Association
R!A What public outreach do you do to promote
investment in medical and health research?
Watson We recently signed on to a coalition letter
asking Congress to pass the health-related budgets. We testify before
Congress annually and visit legislators twice a year about the need for
increased investment in the National Institutes of Health and the National
Library of Medicine (NLM)which funds much of the research in health
information. We recently established a Lindberg Research Fellowship, named
for NLM Director Donald A. B. Lindberg, M.D.
We award public service honors to national leaders who
have greatly supported biomedical research and NLM outreach programs.
We conduct health writers' seminars to teach journalists
about medical research and how to define quality information.
We encourage our members to get involved with local outreach
and partner with public librarians to help them provide better health
R!A What are the results of your public outreach?
Watson We have created more public awareness about
how to connect with medical information professionals who have the latest
research on disease prevention and health.
We have formed partnerships with organizations such as
The Pew Charitable Trusts, which have helped us teach the public how to
identify the "good from the bad" health information on the Internet
Our media relations have resulted in coverage in Consumer
Reports, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times,
and the trade publication Lancet. The online version of HeathLeaders
ran our story about the importance of information and medical research
to prevent medical errors.
R!A What is your biggest challenge?
Watson Many of our members will retire within
the decade, so we must work to recruit new medical librarians, preferably
with a science and computer background. Our biggest challenge now is to
convince more students that being a medical librarian is an exciting profession
with a real value to society!
R!A What are pressing medical library needs
requiring additional research and investment?
Watson Research that demonstrates the value of
accurate information provided at the moment a medical decision is made.
R!A How does your organization benefit from your
Watson We have more opportunities to engage in
partnerships with other R!A members. We use Membership Matters
and your polling results to provide information to our members that help
them make the case for their own medical and health research initiatives.
Perhaps future R!A polls might include Medical Library Association-related
questions that will help us even more, such as "are you aware that
your local community might have a medical library that can help you answer
Watson is also director of the Claude Moore Health
Sciences Library, University of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesville.