ISSN 1535-7821
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Vol. 19 No. 3 2003

Link to ArticleArticles

Link to ArticleReport on the MLA Teleconference, "Reading Between the Lines: Focusing on Health Information Literacy," September 10, 2003

Link to ArticleHealth Literacy Month Sample Press Release, October 2003

Link to ArticleBook Reviews

Link to ArticleCheskin, Lawrence J. and Lora Brown Wilder. Recipes for Weight Loss (Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library)

Link to ArticleFlynn, John A. and Lora Brown Wilder. The Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library: Recipes for Arthritis Health

Link to ArticleHenschke, Claudia I., et al. Lung Cancer: Myths, Facts, Choices - and Hope

Link to ArticleMargolis, Simeon and Lora B. Wilder. Recipes for a Healthy Heart. (The Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library)

Link to ArticleMayer, Musa. After Breast Cancer: Answers to the Questions You're Afraid to Ask

Link to ArticleMorin, Jack. Anal Pleasure & Health: A Guide for Men and Women

Link to ArticleMoser, Charles. Health Care Without Shame: A Handbook for the Sexually Diverse and their Caregivers

Link to ArticleStewart, Elizabeth and Paula Spencer. The V Book: A Doctor's Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health

Link to ArticleThe Wellness Kitchen: Bringing the Latest Nutrition Information to Your Table

Link to ArticleWinks, Cathy. The Good Vibrations Guide: The G-Spot

Link to ArticleNews

Link to ArticlePublication Information


Report on the MLA Teleconference: “Reading Between the Lines: Focusing on Health Information Literacy” September 10, 2003
by Pam Murnane, Librarian, Lane Medical Library, Stanford University School of Medicine

One of the Medical Library Association’s current agendas is promoting health information literacy. This teleconference presented a working definition of this relatively new term, reviewed areas of interest related to health information literacy, and suggested roles and partnerships for librarians to pursue, complemented with excellent examples of programs already implemented.

While the library profession has long been interested in information literacy, health information literacy has been a growing topic of interest over recent years. As health care has been changing towards shorter office visits and shorter hospital stays, more of the responsibility for follow up and health care maintenance has shifted to the patient, requiring a greater understanding of their own care.

The teleconference panel included: Sandy Cornett director of the literacy program at Ohio State University; Neil Rambo, associate director of NNLM, Pacific Northwest Region; Michele Spatz, director of Planetree Health Resource Center in The Dalles, Oregon; and Eris Weaver, director of Redwood Health Library, Petaluma, California. Additional participants presented video snippets highlighting special programs. Following is a summary of the key issues raised in the teleconference.

What is Health Literacy?

The commonly found definition is: “the ability to read, understand, and act on health care information”. The emphasis is not simply on the ability to read. Additional basic skills include listening, problem solving, and decision making. Additionally, patients need the motivation to learn, understand, and manage their health problems.

The 1993 National Adult Literacy Survey (2003 study due to be published soon), which measured "functional literacy", found that 48% of the population was below 8th grade reading level. Even the population at higher grade reading levels often have problems when faced with health information. Informed consent documents for example, are generally at the 15th grade reading level.

While problems with health literacy cross social and cultural populations, high risk groups include elderly, minorities, and individuals with chronic health problems. Individuals with low health literacy tend to have longer and more frequent hospitalizations, more doctor visits and more medication failures. The problem persists partially because low literacy is easy for health care providers to miss. Some people are embarrassed by it, others don’t recognize it in themselves.

What is Health Information Literacy

MLA looked at the definitions of “health literacy” and “information literacy” to formulate the following working definition of health information literacy: "The ability to recognize a health information need; identify likely information sources and use them to retrieve relevant information; assess the quality of the information and its applicability to a specific situation; and analyze, understand, and use the information to make good heath decisions.” MLA will soon be inviting member comment on this definition. Keep an eye on the website, or join the listserv referenced at the end of this article.

Partnerships and Opportunities for Librarians

This portion of the program offered wonderful suggestions and examples of current programs in existence. Librarians can help promote health information literacy through education, the creation of health information materials, and through partnerships in medical education, hospitals, and community organizations.

First and foremost we need to be sensitive to the needs of low literate individuals seeking health information. Some suggested tips included: pay attention to cues that the patron might present, such as stating her “eyes are tired, could you read this for me?” In addition, we should review our collections to be sure that we have not only written material at lower grade reading levels but also audio, video, or other alternative formats of information. Be sure the computers in the library have audio and video capability.

For professionals who are creating health information materials, there are tools available to test the reading level manually and automatically. Note that the test included in MS Office programs generally scores a document lower than other standard scores. Also, these tests may state the grade level, but they do not test how clearly the material is written or how well it is organized. Design and content layout are also important, and highlighting the key 3-5 “need” to know points can keep the information simple while providing the essentials.

Most low literate individuals do not visit libraries, so we also need to consider ways to reach out to the community. One panelist frequently participates with the local TV station to provide health information. She also recommended working with local newspapers and radio stations. In addition to the media, we need to get creative and offer programs where people naturally congregate.

Some currently successful programs presented as video portions of the teleconference included: hospital librarians teaching clinicians about health information literacy, academic librarians teaching medical students and residents, and public librarians promoting health speakers, classes on the internet focused on health topics, and acting as a clearinghouse for flyers announcing local public health information programs in the area. Many of these partnerships required finding a champion in the organization to work with and remaining flexible to work with the academic or clinical agenda.
Keep an eye on the MLA website for additional resources and information on this topic and note the urls below. At the conference page you can request a copy of the video or contact the teleconference coordinator for a copy of the handout. Also consider joining the discussion list to raise your questions and share your successes.

For more information

MLA Teleconference page:

MLA-HEALTHLIT Email Discussion List


Health Literacy Month Sample Press Release, October 2003
by Kay Hogan Smith, Coordinator Health InfoNet of Alabama

October is national “Health Literacy Month.” The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness of the need for plain language health information. On the forefront of this campaign are the nation’s medical librarians - October also happens to be National Medical Libraries Month! Besides serving health professionals and students, medical librarians work with the general public to help them locate current, reliable health information for personal use. Many medical libraries in Alabama make special consumer health collections and services available, such as Health InfoNet of Alabama (see

Unfortunately, many health information resources available in print or on the Internet are written at a much higher reading level than is easily understood by the average reader. In addition, with a functional illiteracy rate of 25%*, many Alabamians have difficulty with such basic health-related tasks as understanding the dosage instructions for a prescription drug or reading a food label. Obviously, those struggling with reading problems face many obstacles to taking care of their health. In fact, studies have shown that these people report worse overall health, are more likely to be hospitalized, and have poorer understanding and follow-through of treatment regimens than those with higher reading skills.**

The good news is that health professionals, educators, librarians, and others are beginning to work together to find new ways to get health information across to those who don’t read well and to help them feel more comfortable about revealing this difficulty when necessary. Examples of different approaches include:

  • Creating videos or recorded public service announcements with health messages
  • Providing reading services in libraries
  • Promoting a “shame-free” environment in doctors’ offices, hospitals and clinics
  • Providing expert speakers for community health discussions
  • Promoting “plain language” in health information (written or spoken)

For more information about health literacy month see

*From the National Institute for Literacy statistics. See

**From the Harvard School of Public Health, Health Literacy Studies web site at

Book Reviews

Guidelines for CAPHIS Connection Book Reviews

1. When you receive a copy of a book for review, you will also receive a deadline date, usually about two months after the book is mailed. If you cannot meet this deadline, please inform the editor immediately.

2. CAPHIS Connection book reviews should be approximately 250 words (one typed page, double-spaced) long. They may be shorter. Please e-mail finished reviews to Barbara Bibel, book review editor- as Word attachments or copied and pasted into the body of an e-mail message.

3. The review should convey a clear sense of the work’s content and scope. Please evaluate the writing style, accuracy, reading level, etc. It is helpful to compare it to other works on the same subject. Note the author’s qualifications, credentials, affiliations, and other published works.

4. Cite the book that you are reviewing at the head of the article using the following model:

Roan, Sharon L. Our Daughters’ Health: Practical and Invaluable Advice for Raising Confident Girls Ages Six to Sixteen. Hyperion, 2001. 416p. index. ISBN 0-7868-8500-9. $14.95.

5. Put your name, name of your institution, city, and state at the end of the review.

6. Reviewers are responsible for the accuracy of the statements included. Reviews will be edited for grammar, length and style.

Cheskin, Lawrence J. & Lora Brown Wilder. Recipes for Weight Loss. Rebus, 2003. 159 p. index. (The Johns Hopkins cookbook library). ISBN 0-929661-78-8.

Cheskin, director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, and Wilder, a dietitian with a Sc.D. in public health, have put together a very enticing guide to losing weight. The typeface, layout, down-to-earth language, and superb explanation of how to eat right for weight loss make an attractive presentation. The discussion of how to cut calories, reduce fat, and increase complex carbohydrates is concise and easy to understand. I particularly like the four-page section “Add these foods to your diet,” which tells what nutrients are in a selection of low-fat foods and gives hints for cooking to retain the most nutrient value.

Each recipe includes numbers of calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and sodium per serving. In addition, a note emphasizes which vitamins are most prevalent. The presentation of the nutritional information alone is enough to justify buying the book.

A variety of flavors and ethnic derivations are included and an attempt is made to substitute lower calorie ingredients into well known dishes. For example, the recipe for guacamole uses peas instead of avocado. The diversity definitely makes losing weight seem more interesting, however many of the spices may not be on the average kitchen shelf. Another drawback is that most of the recipes are a bit labor intensive. Half of the ones that appeal to me require use of a food processor. Nevertheless, there are enough easy ones that I expect to use when I’m cooking for more than just me. If I were cooking for Thanksgiving, I would serve spiced Caribbean pumpkin soup; roast turkey breast with garlic, lemon and basil; sesame asparagus and snow peas; maple sweet potatoes with cranberries; and cinnamon-raisin bread pudding. Reviewed by Judith Schaeffer Young, Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, PA.

Flynn, John A., Wilder, Lora Brown. The Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library: Recipes for Arthritis Health. Rebus, 2003. 160 pages. ISBN 0-929661-76-1. $19.95.

The folks at the John Hopkins publication Website ( promote their cookbook library as texts “that offer delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes for the home cook” while addressing nutrition and disease. Recipes for Arthritis Health lives up to this promise.

Readers first encounter a useful section on nutritional concerns for arthritis. The writers address nutrition and osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. They also provide a brief section on weight management, along with useful information and cooking tips on beneficial foods.

This publication provides a wide variety of enticing recipes. Along with the usual categories like meat, breads, and desserts, there is a “meatless” section that offers many vegetarian and several vegan dishes. Most of the ingredients I noted are everyday items found at most grocery stores. The authors designed recipes to minimize chopping of ingredients, to better accommodate cooks with impaired mobility and fatigue. Most of the recipes’ directions were uncomplicated and could be completed in a reasonable amount of time, although I did note that a few required a food processor, while others called for boiling and draining large pots of water. Each recipe includes per serving nutritional information, such as calories, fat, and vitamin content.

I found that the book’s overall tone was friendly; scientific information was presented in a clear, precise manner that would not put off readers. There is also a useful section in the back on spices and already prepared foods (such as pizza crusts). Although I am not an arthritis patient, I want to try some of these recipes at home because they look so yummy. The authors are well qualified in this field: Flynn completed a residency and fellowship in rheumatology at John Hopkins and is currently an associate professor there, while Wilder is a registered dietitian, and is also at John Hopkins. Reviewed by Liz Workman, Hope Fox Eccles Clinical Library, Salt Lake City, UT.

Henschke, Claudia I.; McCarthy, Peggy; Wernick, Sarah. Lung Cancer: Myths, Facts, Choices—and Hope. W.W, Norton, 2002. 389p. index. ISBN 0-393-04154-9. $27.95.

This comprehensive and practical guide is a welcome resource for patients and families concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, and management of lung cancer. Author Claudia Hennschke Ph.D., M.D., from Cornell Medical Center, is a recognized expert in the early diagnosis of lung cancer, a disease that kills more Americans each year than prostate, colon, and breast cancer combined. She and cancer patient advocate, Peggy McCarthy of the Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support and Education (ALCASE), and freelance health writer Sarah Wernick, have combined their talents to produce an authoritative, yet highly readable account of the myths as well as the facts surrounding this deadly disease.

Lung cancer victims have only a very low 5-year survival rate, possibly because the disease is largely symptomless at an early stage when it is most curable. One controversial component of this book is Henschke’s recommendation that CT scans be used for screening those at high risk for lung cancer (i.e., former or current smokers). Though early screening may be beneficial, to date, there are no studies that consistently demonstrate improved mortality rates for patients who undergo screening for lung cancer using any currently available screening tool. The authors do discuss many advances in the treatment of lung cancer but also address important emotional issues such as the guilt and stigma felt by smokers (and ex-smokers). The book includes valuable advice about alternative therapies, new measures to relieve pain, and recommendations for patients who want to access the latest treatments through clinical trials. Reviewed by Kelly Near, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

Margolis, Simeon and Lora B. Wilder, eds. Recipes for a Healthy Heart. (The Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library), Rebus, 2003. 159p. index. ISBN 0-929661-77-X. $19.95.

Detailed nutritional analysis and kitchen tips enliven the 140 recipes in this cookbook. Edited by a professor of medicine and a registered dietician and nutritionist from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, this book contains information on “eating for heart health”, lists of foods to add to your diet, and lists of the leading sources of important nutrients in addition to the interesting and delicious recipes.

Recipes range from healthy versions of standard fare like Heart-Smart Meatloaf, Mac & Cheese Turkey Tetrazzini, and Pork & Beans to some ethnic recipes like Chicken & Corn Tortilla Soup, Colcannon, Vegetable Curry, and Tandoori Salmon. Most of the cooking techniques are simple and use standard cooking utensils. Recipes usually involve only three to four steps and provide 4 servings.

There is an emphasis on fresh ingredients, although a section called “Off-the-Shelf” under each category takes advantage of canned, packaged and frozen foods to prepare healthy recipes. Marginal notes add serving suggestions and explanations of unusual ingredients with possible substitutes. The recipe index is very useful. No photos or illustrations of the recipes are included but the typeface is large and clear and the layout with one recipe per page is attractive.

This cookbook is not as comprehensive as the New American Heart Association Cookbook (Random House, trade paperback ed., 2001, 720 p. ISBN 0-609-80890-7, $19.95) which remains one of the first purchases in this area. It would make a nice addition to a consumer health or public library which wishes to enrich their diet and cookbook collection. Reviewed by Joy Kennedy, Northwest Community Hospital, Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Mayer, Musa. After Breast Cancer: Answers to the Questions You’re Afraid to Ask. O’Reilly & Associates, 2003. xv, 196 p. index. ISBN 0-596-50783-6. $14.95

After Breast Cancer complements Musa Mayer’s earlier book Advanced Breast Cancer; a Guide to Living with Metastatic Disease (1998), which included substantial medical information. The present title deals frankly with the ambiguities of living before/if/after recurrence occurs. There are no diagrams, no explanation of cancer types or staging, and no specific information on cancer therapies. This encouraging book by a counselor and breast cancer survivor is for the more than two million women who have already been there, done that, and are establishing the “new normal” in their lives.

Several chapters discuss coming to terms with uncertainties of life after breast cancer, life changes, and persistent fears, including fear of finishing treatment. Mayer includes personal comments from many with experience. Their insights are uplifting, showing survivors that they are not alone and offering many ways to cope. Comments are often piercing and wry, such as that from a woman who confesses, “My fear of dying has a lot of performance anxiety in it.”

Two chapters discuss statistics of recurrence, specificity and sensitivity of tests, the rationale behind follow-up visit schedules, and imprecision of survival statistics. Women are urged to trust their bodies since they, rather than physicians, are usually the first to notice new symptoms. Mayer believes it is liberating to understand the facts and let go of fear. Final chapters, again with many personal examples, emphasize the importance of relationships (including online buddies) and offer more coping skills and philosophies.

This book is so well written that I read it all in one evening. Text is at high school level, with statistical information being most complex. Appendices include a resource section listing cancer-related organizations and support groups, footnotes of recent medical articles, and an index. Recommended for cancer patients, all public and health libraries, and all who know any of the millions who have or have had breast cancer. Reviewed by Nancy Crossfield, Saint Agnes Medical Library, Fresno, CA.

Morin, Jack. Anal pleasure & health: a guide for men and women. 3rd edition. San Francisco: Down There Press, 1998. 275 p. ISBN 0-940208-20-2. $18.00.

Despite stereotypes that associate it with male homosexuality, the truth is that anal sex is enjoyed by men and women of all sexual orientations. Dr. Morin's well-researched and readable text answers every conceivable question about the practical health and safety issues involved. Also included is a brief look at the social, historical, and cultural factors surrounding the "anal taboo." As a psychologist, he supplements anatomical and medical information with an exploration of the psychological barriers that many people have about exploring this part of the body. He constantly reassures the reader that whatever their experiences or desires may be around anal eroticism are OK and offers many suggestions for clear communication and boundaries between partners. The book includes many quotes and stories from patients of various genders and persuasions.

The book's recommended program of visualization, relaxation, diet, and self-touch is not only appropriate for those who are interested in anal eroticism but is helpful for anyone with anal disorders such as hemorrhoids, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome. Of course there is a good-sized chapter on sexually transmitted diseases and how to avoid them. A lengthy bibliography and thorough index are included. Highly recommended - there is really no other book out there quite like this! Reviewed by Eris Weaver, Redwood Health Library, Petaluma, CA.

Moser, Charles. Health Care without Shame: A Handbook for the Sexually Diverse and their Caregivers. San Francisco: Greenery Press, 1999. 120 p. ISBN 0-890159-12-3. $11.95.

Discrimination against lesbian, gay, or transgender people is still rampant in much of the United States, including within the health care system. Many folks debate whether to disclose their sexual orientation to their health care providers; whether they do or don't, they may receive substandard care due to either homophobia or a lack of information and understanding.

People who engage in sexual practices or decorations that may be outside what is assumed to the norm - role playing, bondage, sadomasochism, piercings and tattoos, even anal sex - often have questions about how to perform them safely, or how these practices may interact with other health issues. They may justifiably shy away from asking their physicians, fearing that they may not only not get their questions answered but may receive poor treatment for other health concerns. Worse, they end up with no doctor at all.

Charles Moser is a physician and board-certified sexologist with a practice in San Francisco. Health Care without Shame was written with two audiences in mind: sexually diverse patients and the health care providers who serve them. Most physicians get little or no training in dealing with sexuality issues, and may be uncomfortable or uninformed about discussing the health implications of various sexual practices. Dr. Moser offers advice on how to choose a physician with whom you feel comfortable; when, how, and what to reveal about one's sexual practices; how to ask the right questions to get the answers needed; patients' rights. He also educates health care providers on how to ask appropriate questions about sexuality issues, where to go to get more information, and how to treat sexually diverse patients with respect.

Moser covers these issues in a very matter-of-fact manner, including many stories drawn from his own practice. I highly recommend this title for any collection that includes information on sexual health. Reviewed by Eris Weaver, Redwood Health Library, Petaluma, CA.

Stewart, Elizabeth G. and Paula Spencer. The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health. Bantam, 2002. 455 p., index. ISBN 0-553-38114-8. $13.95.

The V book is the first comprehensive book for laypeople about the vulvovaginal area, its anatomy, disorders, and even psychology (the first chapter is entitled “The Mind”). The overall tone is unusually positive and open: about normal anatomy, symptoms and when to seek help, sexuality, and the V area’s relationship to women’s lives and wellness.

Yet this is not an activist book—just a long-overdue, factual, user-friendly, and well-written look at vulvovaginal health. Sidebars are copious: quotes from literature and from women, interesting facts (“V-notes”), charts, common myths, and questions/answers. Black-and-white drawings and photos are used sparingly. Throughout, the authors emphasize open communication with healthcare professionals.

Topics covered in this book (many not found, or poorly covered, elsewhere) include: vaginal discharge, daily hygiene, STD’s, menstruation, vulvodynia and vestibulodynia, vulvar cancer, painful intercourse, pelvic exams, allergies affecting the V area, and related disorders such as urinary tract infections. While The V book has a sex-positive tone and a chapter entitled “Sex Matters”, it is not primarily about sexuality or sexual dysfunction—for good recent books on this topic, see Jennifer and Laura Berman’s For women only or Sallie Foley’s Sex matters for women. The V book also does not address genital prolapse or incontinence, current hot topics in women’s health (see Magnus Murphy and Carol Wasson’s new Pelvic health & childbirth).

The V book is highly recommended for consumer health and public libraries. The authors ably address the dearth of information on this most personal area of women’s bodies. Reviewed by Jennifer Friedman, MLS, CHIS, Consumer Health Librarian, Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse, WI.

The Wellness Kitchen: Bringing the Latest Nutrition Information to your Table / by the Staff of the Wellness Kitchen and the Editors of the University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter. Rebus, 2003. 320 p. index. ISBN 0-929661-80-x $34.95

The health, nutrition and exercise experts from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health are known for their “Wellness Letter”. Their Wellness Kitchen is basically a cookbook with a Web-like style. It’s hard to get used to the graphics – 250 pages of recipes printed in bright green and orange and blurred photos of raw ingredients. The book promises to promote health by introducing a variety of whole foods, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, grains and fish, and limiting cooking methods (no deep-fried foods or boiled vegetables). Nothing new, but the recipes do an admirable job of acquainting readers to many nutritious (albeit potentially hard-to-find) foods. For example, quinoa corn salad includes enoki mushrooms and pumpkin seeds. Where the book shines is its “Recipe Creators” – unlimited combinations for smoothies, fruit muffins, bean dips, and more. As a cookbook, it is fun and lighthearted, with interesting “did you know” tidbits, but as a nutrition guide it falls short. Not much research is presented, other than a few references to the American Heart Association and an unnamed NEJM study, and there isn’t even a picture of the food pyramid. There are appendices for foods, phytochemicals and RDAs, but none on vitamins and minerals. Surprisingly, the editors do not seem concerned about sodium; many recipes contain up to a teaspoon of salt and over 800 mg sodium. While The Wellness Kitchen may inspire Americans to eat their veggies, for a solid nutrition guide and cookbook combo, a better selection would be Mayo Clinic/UCLA’s 2001 Encyclopedia of Foods. Reviewed by Cara Helfner, MSLIS, Program Manager, Kessler Health Education Library, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA.

Winks, Cathy. The Good Vibrations Guide: The G-Spot. San Francisco: Down There Press, 1998. 63 p. ISBN 0-940208-23-7. $7.00.

About two weeks before I received this title to review, a gentleman came into my library with a question about female ejaculation. He'd seen this phenomenon in erotic stories and videos, and was keen to find medical and anatomical information on it. None of the gynecology or sexuality references in my collection provided any help at all. How I wish I'd had this book on hand!

This slim and inexpensive volume discusses a part of the female genital anatomy variously referred to as the G-spot, Grafenberg spot, urethral sponge, or female prostate. While important in female sexual response, it has been ignored in much of the medical literature. Winks speculates as to the reasons for this lack and briefly covers the history of the G-spot as discussed in both western and non-western literature.

While Winks accurately explains the anatomy and functioning of this organ, her main focus is on the experiences of contemporary women and their quotes are liberally sprinkled throughout. She writes in a humorous, slightly flippant, do-it-yourself sort of tone. It is well-referenced and its resource lists include educational and erotic videos, websites on sexuality, and catalogs that sell sex toys and literature.

Those interested in purchasing a book on this topic that doesn't look like it came from a sex toy store should consider Rebecca Chalker's The clitoral truth: the secret world at your fingertips. (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2000. 256 p. ISBN 1-58322-038-0. $19.95.) It covers the same territory but in greater depth, including more extensive references, an index, and a glossary. I recommend both titles. Reviewed by Eris Weaver, Redwood Health Library, Petaluma, CA.



CAPHIS Goals for 2003-2004
by Naomi C. Broering, Chair

The goals for CAPHIS during 2003 – 2004 are tremendously ambitious, but immensely exciting. We look to MLA to further our national cause in advocating for our profession and our role in delivering quality information. We will work toward supporting MLA’s goals as outlined by President, Patricia L. Thibodeau. However, during the CAPHIS business meeting we discussed several specific goals and activities, outlined below, which our section plans for the year.

Many activities that began in previous years under the able leadership of Past- Chairs will continue, because they are long-range projects and continuing commitments of CAPHIS.

Strategic Goals 2003/4

  1. Nominations of Officers and Committee Chairs: As immediate past-chair, Lucy Thomas, will chair the Nominating Committee and will submit nominees to CAPHIS for the 2004 election of officers and committee chairs.
    • Nominees for officers for 2004 include: Chair-elect
    • Nominees for Committee Chairs will be determined based on established terms of office (Organizational structure is under development and clarification of terms of past offices and chairs is underway).
    • Nominee to the MLA Nominations Committee: A nominee will be submitted to MLA

  2. Information Technology: There are three major Information Technology activities.
    • The CAPHIS Website Committee Chaired by Michele Spatz, past CAPHIS chair 2001, who also is the MLA representative on URAC, (Health Website Accreditation Committee) and a member at large on the Top 100 Website Committee. The purpose of the CAPHIS website committee is to oversee the CAPHIS website content and development. The CAPHIS website committee will look at enhancement of functionality and site design of the CAPHIS website in 2003/04. The CAPHIS website committee members for 2003/2004 are: Dolores Judkins, Andrea Kenyon and Rama Vishwanatham.
      • A Database Facilitator, Stephanie Weldon was appointed to the CAPHIS website committee during the MLA 2003 CAPHIS Executive Board meeting. She will facilitate development of an index to a searchable database of CAPHIS Discussion List topics so members can easily retrieve them.

        The CAPHIS Discussion List contains useful information that would benefit from formal indexing and the ability to retrieve it from a database. Stephanie Weldon, NN/LM, approached CAPHIS and offered to develop this project. Funding from NN/LM resources will be used for establishing the database.

      The CAPHIS Top 100 Health Websites Committee will continue to keep up with the latest developments in reviewing and selecting appropriate websites and will maintain a timely CAPHIS top 100 website. Under the leadership of Rosalind Dudden, chair, the Top 100 Health Websites Committee will continue to provide update to links and implement changes as needed. The committee will work with the CAPHIS website committee.
    • The CAPHIS Webmaster, Kay Hogan-Smith, maintains the CAPHIS website, by updating the Section’s Directory, Officers, Reports Publications, Membership and CE Opportunities. The CAPHIS website committee, chaired by Michele Spatz, works closely with the webmaster.
  3. Communications: There are four major groups involved in communications work: the Communications Committee, established to promote CAPHIS projects and activities, the Consumer Connections Newsletter Editors, the Governmental Relations representative and the CAPHIS Webmaster, and the History project representative. Communicating more effectively with the membership is a priority for CAPHIS. Each of these representatives writes or solicits news articles and report announcements for MLA and CAPHIS news.
    • The Communications Committee, chaired by Bill Smith, plans to submit articles to the MLA News as appropriate publicizing the work of consumer health librarians and CAPHIS.
    • The Consumer Connections editors, Howard Fuller and Nancy Dickenson, plan timely releases oh the monthly newsletter and is seeking a stable environment and robust software for the newsletter. Also under discussion are the prospects of placing ads.
    • The Governmental Relations Representative, Kay Hogan-Smith, submits legislative information to the Discussion List regularly and plans to submit news pertinent to consumer health librarians to Consumer Connections as appropriate.
    • The History Project maintains information of historical significance to CAPHIS. Michele Spatz, former CAPHIS chair, leads the History project. She plans to write a report that we anticipate will be submitted to the MLA News and Consumer connections.
  4. Membership: Plans are to develop a program to promote membership involvement and invite new members to join CAPHIS.
    • The Membership Committee, chaired by Deborah Batey will develop strategies for involving members in CAPHIS committee work; identify members who attend local meetings to distribute membership brochures and speak to groups about benefits of joining CAPHIS.
    • Plans are underway to host a Membership Reception during MLA 2004 to encourage camaraderie among the members, to welcome new members, their associates and students.
    • CAPHIS members attending Library Association conferences will be encouraged to distribute the CAPHIS brochures.

  5. Organizational Infrastructure: CAPHIS has been reviewing its structure with a goal of organizing standing and ad hoc committees, task forces, and informal groups in a more cohesive manner.
    • Working with the Executive Committee, Bylaws Committee and the Webmaster, the CAPHIS Chair, Naomi Broering, is reviewing appointments so we have records of member terms of office.
    • As corrections are made, they will be posted on the Website.
    • Charge of committees need to be identified and also posted on the Website.

  6. Program: A lively program is planned for MLA 2004 by Eris Weaver, chair elect. She is doing an impressive job of identifying topics and potential speakers. Plans include the following three sessions, two Paper presentation sessions and one speaker panel session.
    • Paper Presentation Sessions:
      1. “Power to the Patient: Health Literacy”
      2. “Power of Collaboration: (Consumer Health on a Shoe String)”
    • Panel Session
      1. “Power in the Trenches”
  7. Continuing Education: As in the past, CAPHIS will work on MLA Continuing Education Programs once again.
    • CAPHIS Members, Naomi Broering, Chair, Eris Weaver, Chair elect, Kristine ALpi, Heidi Sandstrom, members and others are working vigorously on planning the upcoming Satellite Teleconference on Health Information Literacy.
    • Naomi Broering and Kristine ALpi are contributing ideas and speaker names for the program. They recommended Eris Weaver and other outstanding speakers that are being invited to participate in the taping to be conducted in Chicago on September 10, 2003.
    • The Teleconference has been posted on the Discussion List and will be announced in Consumer Connections. Members are encouraged to find a site where they can take the class or help host a program.

Conclusion: This summarizes the work ahead for the CAPHIS membership in 2003/4. It promises to be an exciting and challenging year. We welcome everyone’s ideas and suggestions during the year to make CAPHIS work well for our members. Thank you.

Naomi C. Broering, MLS, MA, AHIP


Publication Information


Consumer Connections (ISSN 1535-7821) is the newsletter of the Consumer and Patient Information Section of the Medical LibraryAssociation and is published quarterly.

Content for each issue is cumulated online at, primarily during the first two months of the quarter; the issue is considered complete at the end of the quarter. Notification of publication is sent quarterly via the CAPHIS listserv. Newsletter articles and book reviews are copyrighted; please contact the editor for reprint permission.


Please submit items for Consumer Connections during the third quarter for publication in the following quarter.

Submit by this newsletter For publication newsletter issue:
March April-June
June July-September
September October-December
December January-March

Please send submissions in electronic format to the editors:

Howard Fuller
E -mail:
Telephone: (650) 725-3308

Nancy Dickenson

E -mail:
Telephone: (650) 725-8100
FAX: (650) 725-1444

Vol. 19 No. 3 2003
ISSN 1535-7821

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CAPHIS, the Consumer and Patient Health Information Section, is a section of the Medical Library Association, an association of health information professionals with more than 5,000 individual and institution members. MLA fosters excellence in the professional achievement and leadership of health sciences library and information professionals to enhance the quality of health care, education, and research.

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