ISSN 1535-7821
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Vol. 20 No. 2 2004

Link to ArticleNote from the Chair

Link to ArticleMessage from the Chair. Eris Weaver

Link to ArticleCAPHIS Kudos

Link to ArticleArticles

Link to ArticleCAPHIS Program Reviews, MLA '04

Link to ArticleCAPHIS Business Meeting, MLA '04

Link to ArticleBook Reviews

Link to ArticleClarke, Rebecca A., et al. A Woman's Guide to Living with HIV Infection.

Link to ArticleWeissbluth, Marc. Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child: A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep.

Link to ArticleByun, Michael, Mendelsohn, Jon & Truswell, William. The Non-Surgical Facelift Book.

Link to ArticleRako, Susan. No More Periods?

Link to ArticleWilkoff, Will. How to Say No to Your Toddler.

Link to ArticleBenedet, Rosalind. After Mastectomy: Healing Physically and Emotionally.

Link to ArticleVolkmar, Fred L. & Wiesner, Lisa. Topics in Autism. Healthcare for Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Guide to Medical, Nutritional and Behavioral Issues.

Link to ArticleThe Merck Manual of Health and Aging.

Link to ArticleJohnson, T. Scott, Broughton, William Alexander & Halberstadt, Jerry. Sleep Apnea: Phantom of the Night.

Link to ArticleCornog, Martha. The BIG Book of Masturbation: From Angst to Zeal.

Link to ArticlePartnering with Patients to Reduce Medical Errors.

Link to ArticleGiller CA. Port in the Storm: How to Make a Medical Decision and Live to Tell About It; A Practical Guide for Those Facing Medical Decisions for Themselves or Their Loved Ones.

Link to ArticlePublication Information

Note From the Chair

Message From The Chair

By Eris Weaver

Ah, summer...the feel of sun on bare skin, the smell of chicken on the barbecue, the sound of the gavel passing...Huh. Yes, this is the time of year when our section leadership changes, officially beginning at the end of the MLA Annual Meeting.

Many thanks are due to Naomi Broering as she ends her year as CAPHIS chair and transitions to chair of the Nominating Committee. Naomi pulled together a wonderful reception for CAPHIS members at the Annual Meeting, sponsored by SwetsBlackwell. We enjoyed food, beverages, and music along with the chance to chat and unwind with other members. (Thanks again, Naomi!) Those who attended also got one of our nifty new CAPHIS buttons - if you'd like one, contact me or membership chair Deb Batey.

I personally breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the meeting as my year as program chair ended. Our three programs were well-attended, and you can read more about those sessions elsewhere in this issue. Joy Kennedy has already begun the planning process for next year's Annual Meeting in El Paso, Texas. I can already tell that she's going to do a dynamite job.

During the course of our executive committee and section business meetings, several plans and goals for the coming year were discussed. Among them are a re-design of the CAPHIS website and a change in our bylaws. (Did you know that our website, especially our Top 100 list, is one of the highest-traffic sections of the MLA website.) The proposed bylaws change is necessary to bring our election procedures and bylaws into agreement; you'll be hearing more about that later in the year.

One of the first things MLA requires of me in my year as section chair is the submission of a budget and a list of goals. In order to do this job well, I need to hear from you. I can certainly sit in my office and devise a list of the things I'd like to see CAPHIS do over the next year, but this is you organization. What are the things that you most appreciate about CAPHIS? What could we be doing better? If you've ever thought, "Why doesn't CAPHIS do __________?", let me know and let's see if we can do it. Email me at or give me a call at 707-778-9114. A small number of members do an amazing amount of work to create and maintain all of the programs and projects - the listserv, this newsletter, our website, the Annual Meeting, etc. - that benefit us all. If you've never participated in a committee before, let this be the year you try! Check out the committee participation form at and get involved!

CAPHIS kudos

CAPHIS sends a huge Thank you to Swets for hosting our reception during the MLA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC

Susan Murray, past, past chair of CAPHIS, will be on the MLA ballot for the MLA nominating committee.  We would like to encourage all CAPHIS members to support Susan in her bid. 



From the 2004 MLA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Program Reviews

By Joan Appleton Costanza, Consumer Health Librarian, PinnacleHealth, Harrisburg, PA

On Sunday, May 23, CAPHIS hosted, “Power in the Trenches.”

Jo-Ann Benedetti started the session on an informal note by coming down into the audience shoeless.  She talked about her library, Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY, which recently received $93,000 to update their consumer health collection.

She described the changing world of patient care, where managed care forces patients to make more decisions on their own.  She got us to see her patrons as she sees them -- sometimes scared, and not always sure what the doctor said or how to spell either the diagnosis or the prescription. 

She pleaded for medical librarians not to discount their public library colleagues, and said the vast majority of public library staff would be grateful for our collaboration.

Barbara Bibel, also a public librarian (Oakland Public Library, CA), talked about her wonderfully diverse patrons, from immigrants trying to get drivers' licenses to a person who showed up with a bagful of pills hoping for help in identifying them.  She also spoke about "people whose reality is different" and the need to give them the best health information possible.  Her library collection not confined to English; French, Spanish, and  Russian materials are also popular.

She, too, encouraged collaboration between consumer health and public librarians, and gave a local example.  Since their local Kaiser Permanente center has no librarian on staff, they donate videos to the public library and Barbara in turn evaluates their collection.

Pat Hammond gave a PowerPoint presentation about her library (Community Health Education Center [CHEC] of VA Commonwealth University Health System).  CHEK was funded in 2000 and opened two years laters.  Patrons range from preschoolers to senior citizens, with as wide a range of reading levels.  Her staff includes one .75 FTE librarian and 13 volunteers, for whose sheduling and training she is responsible.  One valuable training tool she uses is a health literacy toolkit.

Pat’s marketing is three-pronged, focuing on health care providers, the community at large, and patients via their website.  Five color-coordinated PR pieces enhance CHEC's outreach.

Joy Kennedy's PowerPoint discussed recruiting and working with volunteers.  She suggested contacting your local AARP chapter for leads because of their volunteer matching program [au. note; see].

Joy suggested using unemployed persons as volunteers, who may have exactly the talents you need.  You have something they can use, also -- a positive letter of recommendation or several lines on their resume proving they did something worthwhile with their time while between jobs.  One thing Joy brought up that is rarely considered when working with volunteers is the issue of workman's comp liability.

As a first time MLA attendee, I appreciated the diversity of the panel and the different approaches they took to solve daily challenges.

There seemed to be a consensus that reaching out (in person whenever possible) to an often overwhelmed and stressed public library staff can potentially create positive partnerships.  Start with the front line people, and stress what you can do for them, whether it's holding a health-related event in the public library or offering to help them weed their medical collections.  Offer to attend one of their local PLA meetings if possible.

Finally, someone mentioned that two articles on CHI were coming up in future issues of Library Trends. [au. note; as per, the citations are: Consumer Health Information Services, Part I, Edited by Tammy Mays, 53(2), Fall 2004 Consumer Health Information Services, Part II, Edited by Tammy Mays, 53(3), Winter 2005]

On Monday, May 24, CAPHIS hosted “The Power of Collaboration” featured four presenters demonstrating how partnerships between different groups can further consumer health library outreach.

Deb Silverman and colleagues, from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, partnered with the Allegheny County Library Association, a federation of 44 independent library/library systems, to help develop and coordinate a core list of consumer health titles and distribute material to select Allegheny public libraries. This project was made possible by a Shadyside Hospital Foundation (Pittsburgh) grant awarded to UPMC librarians. The stated purpose of the grant was to: 1) “improve access to consumer health information in the community,” and 2) “continue to promote public libraries as the libraries of first resort for health information.

Mary McKeon Blanchard, Boston University Medical School library, presented “A public-private partnership to improve the health-related information-seeking skills of mental health consumers and staff.”  In this three year $338,000 NLM Information Systems grant, the Boston University Medical Library partnered with the Department of Mental Health to supply computer and networking equipment, and internet access to mental health staff and patients. Librarians also developed and implemented information skill training and developed a web site to meet the specific needs of the local mental health department. Major challenges to this project included maintaining computing and networking equipment, and staff turnover and layoffs at the DMH resulting in loss of project contacts.

Judy Rieke, University of North Dakota, Library of the Health Sciences, discussed her library’s collaboration with the “five tribal college librarians serving North Dakota’s Indian Reservations.”  The four objects of this project were to train, in collaboration with the tribal college librarians, Native American health care consumers and providers in locating health information; develop a web page promoting select NLM search tools; provide access to the Gale Groups “Health and Wellness Resource Center;” and place computer equipment in tribal college libraries. All goals were met as services were marketed to the appropriate community. This project was made possible from an “Access to Electronic Health Information for the Public,” subcontract awarded the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/Greater Midwest Region.

Julia Sollenberger, Director Health Science Libraries and Technologies, University of Rochester Medical Center, discussed “From Handouts to Hard Dollars: sustaining projects with collaboration and partnerships.” Julia discussed the value of business and project planning and the steps involved in creating such plans.

CAPHIS Business Meeting

Sunday, May 23, 2004,   4:00 pm

Minutes taken by hand at meeting; typed Sunday, June 13th, 2003.

Jennifer Friedman, CAPHIS Secretary

Running count of those entering the room reached 50 by the end of the meeting.

Introductions of officers.

Michele Spatz moved we leave 2003 business mtg. minutes unchanged.  Deborah Batey second; passed unanimously.

Programs: Eris Weaver noted 75 people attended the CAPHIS-sponsored program just before the business meeting.  Please contact Joy Kennedy, CAPHIS program chair for our 2005 meeting, to help with programming.  Joy is also our new incoming Chair-Elect.

Secretary: We have discovered that if the Sec'y has no institutional support due to joblessness, the production/mailing of ballots costs amount to over $300.  Jennifer Friedman has been reimbursed for costs for the past election.

Treasurer: Marge Kars said we are doing well and presented some figures.

Section Council: Javier Crespo reported that costs for AHIP credentialing are going up to $175/year.  The 2004 MLA Annual Meeting had 59 papers, 39 invited speakers, and 1 student presentation.  Eris Weaver noteed that out of 99 presentations, 12 of them were sponsored by CAPHIS. There has been a proposal to change the MLA membership year to coincide more closely with the conference year, to avoid pre-conference 5-month membership lapses. A ballot with Section Council nominees was circulated around the room and the executive committee voted for 5 candidates (our nominee, Susan Murray, is a given)

Consumer Connections: Howard Fuller noted that CC became a quarterly publication in 2004.  "Health Librarian on the Street," an irregular column, debuted.  Barbara Bibel is looking for book reviewers; watch for solicitations on the CAPHIS discussion group (formerly the listserv).

Bylaws: David Duggar was not present.

Government Issues Rep/Webmaster: Kay Hogan has done a great job. Kudos to Kay.

Website Top 100 Committee: Roz Dudden is looking for a replacement to head this committee.

Website Committee: Michele Spatz is looking for contributions to the website.  Christie Silbajoris will be replacing Michele as head of this committee when Michele steps down.  Website re-design is the next priority.

CAPHIS discussion group (formerly the listserv) database: Stephanie Weldon has the database indexing CAPHIS listserv posts up and running.  It is available at .  Individuals can add info easily.  Stephanie would like members to help out and make the database more robust. 

New Business:

MLA Program 2005 suggestions:

The theme for 2005 will be "Futuro Mágnifico: Celebrating Our Diversity".  The five tracks will be:

· Education/outreach

· Clinical

· Research

· Technology

· Diversity

Some ideas include:

· Problem patrons: our role as counselor

· Cultural communication styles

· Something publicizing GoLocal

· Something having to do with bringing multimedia/distance ed. programs to rural/diverse populations

· "Taking it to the next level": measurements, outcomes, evaluation

There was a short discussion of resources that might be called on for the latter idea.  Michele Spatz took the opportunity to plug MLA's benchmarking activities and reminded everyone that benchmarking is for all MLA members.  This year's survey on the MLA webpage is designed for all types of libraries, not just hospital-based as in the past.

A vote is taken on our three CAPHIS programs for 2005.  They will be:

1. Problem patrons  (14 votes)

2. Cultural communication styles  (17 votes)

3. "Taking it to the next level": measurement/outcomes  (20 votes)

Naomi reminded us to contact Eris and Joy with offers to help out or leads on speakers.

Bylaws change: Several have noted that the election process is costly because CAPHIS bylaws specify that we must mail ballots (they cannot be e-mailed, etc. to members).  Time is also an issue in mailing.  There is a March 1 deadline for all section elections to be finished.  We did not hit that this year.  Also, our bylaws require multiple-slate elections, which we do not normally have, and it is not necessarily important that we do.

Howard Fuller explained the two changes that would need to be made in the bylaws to change these two problems:

1. Language would need to be changed to allow single-slate elections.

2. Language would need to be changed to allow ballots to be sent to members using alternative formats (e-mail, web, etc.).

The soonest we could vote on the possible bylaws changes is next years Annual Meeting, as our bylaws require 30 days notice (by U.S. mail) before ratifying proposed changes.  There were some stabs at draft proposals and we will probably include the bylaws change proposal in the ballot mailing in 2005.

Electronic forum: Karen Vargas from the NNLM office in Houston suggested a potential electronic forum on the theme of outreach in consumer health.  This would be a way to bring health professionals and consumer health librarians together.  Karen will post to the CAPHIS list to see if there is any interest.

Naomi thanked us all and handed the invisible gavel over to Eris.  Naomi will be the nominating chair next year. 

Naomi Miller from MedlinePlus at the National Library of Medicine presented a MedlinePlus update.  It's official, the spelling/format of the name of this resource is "MedlinePlus" (no italics, no additional capital letters).

Meeting adjourned.


Book Reviews

Clarke, Rebecca A., et al.  A Women’s Guide to Living with HIV InfectionThe Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.  288 p. index.   ISBN 0-8018-7914-0 (paperback).  $15.95.  ISBN 0-8018-7913-2 (hardcover).  $45.00.

A collaboration between three clinicians and professors in HIV, Ob/Gyn and Psychology from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, A Women’s Guide to Living with HIV Infection is a clearly written, comforting guide for women newly diagnosed with HIV.  The book’s purpose is “to help women avoid HIV related complications like sickness, sadness and confusion” and reassures readers “that there are no silly questions or concerns.” The authors address a comprehensive range of health, therapeutic, emotional and financial issues facing those with HIV, with chapters focusing on specific concerns to women, including gynecologic disorders, menstruation, pregnancy and domestic violence.  Each chapter begins with key questions and ends with key points.  Useful features include price ranges for over-the-counter treatments, providing both brand and generic names of medications, a list of centers that provide sperm washing (for women who want to conceive with an HIV positive partner), information about ongoing research and a glossary.  A section on explaining HIV to children includes approaches by child’s age and level of understanding, and charts show side effects of medications searchable by both side effect and medication.  The book seems like a friendly counselor reassuring the reader (“a TB test is a quick and tiny pinprick, not a big needle”) and fill’s a niche in Women’s Health and HIV information. Highly recommended for consumer health collections.

Cara Helfner, Program Manager, The Michele and Howard Kessler Health Education Library, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Weissbluth, Marc. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: a Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night’s Sleep, rev. ed. Ballantine Books, 2003, 492p. Index and Bibliographic References. ISBN 0-449-00402-3 (ISBN from the 1999 edition). $13.95

This is the revised and expanded version of Dr. Weissbluth’s 1987 and 1999 publications.  This board certified physician’s resume is extensive, including both popular books and professional journal articles on children and sleep.

Part I—How Children Sleep—includes descriptions of healthy sleep and optimal wakefulness.  Dr. Weissbluth emphasizes the health of the family in relationship to children’s sleep cycles.   Coverage of prevention and treatment of sleep problems is comprehensive.  Quite a bit of scientific and statistical data is included. 

Part II—How Parents Can Help Their Children Establish Healthy Sleep Habits: You Can Prevent Sleep Disturbances from Infancy to Adolesence—provides specific advice for individual age groups.

 Part III—Other Sleep Disturbances and Concerns—covers a wide range of medical, psychological, and event-connected issues which may impact sleep.

Sprinkled throughout the book are highlighted sections--Practical Points, Q & A, Personal Accounts, and Action Plans.  The reading level was relatively high.  The book includes so much information in so many formats.   A high-school reading level might   be necessary to fully comprehend this book. There is some repetition and the flow of information is on occasion awkward.  References from peer-reviewed journals were listed at the end of the book.  These have been recently updated.  The index was unavailable at the time of review.

The importance of healthy sleep to each child and their family is especially important our times.  Providing advice to parents based on scientific evidence is commendable.    This book may be difficult for some to comprehend, based on its reading level, length, and somewhat muddled writing style.

Linda King, MLS, AHIP, Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas


Byun, Michael; Mendelsohn, Jon, Truswell, William. The Non-Surgical Facelift Book  Addicus Books, 2003.  149 p. indexISBN 1-886039-63-1.  $19.95.

Ok, I have to begin with a disclosure:  Even though this book focuses on noninvasive therapies, it is not a do-it-yourself text (when I first saw the title, I dreamed of quiet evenings in my own home soaking in the tub and sticking cucumbers to my eyes – alas).  What readers will find is consumer-friendly information on several techniques ranging from chemical peels to lip augmentation, most of which do not require any substantial incisions or inpatient time at the hospital.  The therapies discussed are botox injections, chemical peels, laser skin treatments (including hair removal), microdermabrasion, fillers:  injections and implants, and lip augmentation.

The number of treatments explained, and the depth of their descriptions are the book’s strong points.  Each chapter supplies more information than you would expect to find in a comparable article in a popular magazine.  Each chapter focusing on a therapy discusses how the treatment works, the affects of aging it targets, how to prepare for treatment, the risks involved, and how long the treatment’s effects will last.  There are also useful questions to ask your doctor that are relevant to each treatment, and “before and after” pictures of patients who have received a given treatment.  There are also pertinent chapters addressing skin anatomy, selecting a physician, general follow-up care, a substantial glossary, and a list of mainly professional organizations in the “Resources” section.

The Non-Surgical Facelift Book is written in a frank, engaging, and completely non-condescending tone.  Let’s face it, this is a sensitive issue for many women and men; I found nothing that I thought could be interpreted as insulting.  Even though I was hoping to find some self-applied treatments, I am actually considering talking to my doctor about some of these therapies.  Each of the three authors is a plastic surgeon (Mendelsohn and Truswell are facial plastic surgeons) and is board-certified by a relevant American Board.

Liz Workman, M.L.I.S., Hope Fox Eccles Clinical Library, Salt Lake City, UT


Rako, Susan M.D., No More Periods?, Harmony Books, 2003, 179p index. ISBN 1-4000-4503-7 $21.00

No more periods – sounds like heaven doesn’t it?  For women like myself, this could mean an end to the painful suffering we endure during our menses.  For others who don’t really suffer, just the mere convenience of no longer having a period could bring women running to their gynecologists.  However, are the risks of this convenience really worth it?  Low-dose birth control pills are risky enough, and the “shot” carries even greater risks, making contraception through hormonal manipulation an extremely risky business.  Risks including decreased sexual function/desire, increased risk of cervical cancer, early onset of osteoporosis, stroke, and increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases are certainly more worrisome than the convenience that contraception through hormonal manipulation brings. 

This book should be read by any woman who is considering or is already using birth control through hormonal manipulation, be it birth control pills or the “shot”, for any reason. Susan Rako is an expert in the field of women’s hormonal health and is an advocate for women’s health rights.  She has carefully laid out the risks of birth control through hormonal manipulation.  She provides numerous references to back up her claims.  She also quotes many stories from women who have written in to the Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health Website. 

Reviewed by Tillie Horak, Harrison Medical Library, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD.

Wilkoff, Will.   How to Say No to Your Toddler.  Broadway Books, 2003.  222 p.  index.  ISBN: 0767912748.  (approx)  $12.00

This book is intended for first-time parents to help them create an effective discipline plan as their child moves from being cute and immobile, to exploring the world.  The author is a pediatrician with more than 25 years’ experience and has written three other books for parents of preschoolers.  The author states that he intended this book to be read in two or three 45-minute sessions.  This is an optimistic promise:  the book will take any thoughtful reader considerably longer than that to digest.

Wilkoff’s major themes are that toddlers can’t behave well, and parents will have more trouble being consistent, if they are overtired; how to distinguish unsafe behavior from just annoying behavior; and how to use “No” effectively.  There is much good information here, however the organization of the material could be better.  All to often he refers to a later chapter to explain a technique.  Discussion on behavior and techniques would have been better if they followed the same order as they usually occur in toddler behavior.

The reading level is about 10th grade, and all the techniques are explained simply and fully.  This book is not an essential purchase, but is a good value for the price.

Review by Kate Smith, MLS, Family Health Library, The Children’s Hospital, Denver, CO


Benedet, Rosalind. After Mastectomy: Healing Physically and Emotionally. Addicus Books, 2003. 159p. index. ISBN 1886039615.  $14.95 (paperback).

Aptly titled, After Mastectomy, provides a wealth of information for the post-mastectomy patient. Issues covered include recovery from surgery, the importance of exercise and nutrition, guidelines for choosing the proper breast forms and undergarments, and what to expect from radiation therapy, hormonal therapy and chemotherapy. Other important issues discussed are breast reconstruction options and recovery, as well as an explanation of lymphedema and follow-up care. Appendices include a glossary of medical terminology associated with breast cancer and a listing of organizations that provide support and information. As the subtitle indicates, this book also deals with the emotional recovery that must ultimately take place before the patient is “fully cured.”

Large type and clear language make this book accessible to all readers. The author of this practical guide is an experienced oncology nurse who is currently director of the Breast Cancer Recovery Program at the California Pacific Medical Center’s Breast Health Center in San Francisco. This reasonably priced resource is a “must-have” for consumer health libraries and public libraries with a consumer health section.

Dee Jones, LSU Health Sciences Center, Medical Library, Shreveport, LA

Volkmar, Fred L. and Wiesner, Lisa.  Topics in Autism. Healthcare for Children on the Autism Spectrum: A Guide to Medical, Nutritional, and Behavioral Issues.  Woodbine House, 2004376 p. index.  ISBN 0-933149-87-2

This book presents a wealth of information about autism, and autism related disorders, among them Rett's disorder and Asperger's Syndrome.  The sixteen chapters in this book cover every aspect of healthcare for a child with autism beginning with Chapter 1: Autism and Related Conditions: An Overview.  The chapters are text-rich with tables or important text boxed and shaded in gray. Each chapter contains a question and answer section that includes questions that parents have asked and the answers the author's have provided. It's these question and answer sections that I believe make this book readable and an important resource.  The book contains an excellent resource list of organizations and web pages, a glossary and a reading list of valuable books and journal articles for parents and healthcare providers. The reading grade level of this book is 9.g Flesch-Kincaid. 

If you are not familiar with Woodbine House books about children with special needs, this book is an excellent introduction.

Dr. Fred Volkmar is a child psychiatrist whose work and research is focused on autism.  Dr. Lisa Wiesner is a pediatrician who treats children with autism in her practice. The authors bring their combined experience and knowledge together in this excellent resource.  This book is highly recommended.

Marge Kars AHIP, Manager, Bronson Health Sciences Library and HealthAnswers,

Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo, MI


The Merck Manual of Health and Aging. Mark H. Beers, M.D., editor-in-chief. Merck Research Laboratories/ Simon & Schuster, 2004. 992p. illus. index. $29.95. (0-911910-36-0).

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy is one of the most popular medical reference sources. When a lay version, The Merck Manual of Medical Information-Home Edition, appeared in 1997, it became a best seller. As our population ages, information about the aging process and caring for the elderly is a necessity.  The Merck Manual of Health & Aging, a lay version of The Merck Manual of Geriatrics, provides it in a very accessible format.

The book has four sections. The first covers the fundamentals of aging. Interesting questions such as when does a person become old and why does the body change as well as discussions of how aging affects the organs and systems will help readers understand the aging process. Related issues such as finances, living arrangements and coping with chronic disease and disability appear also. Section two deals with caregiving. There are discussions of preventive medical care, nutrition, continuity of care, long-term care, and palliative and end-of-life care. Important information about communicating with health care practitioners, understanding medical tests, how drugs affect older people, hospital and surgical care and rehabilitation will empower older patients and those that assist them. Section three covers specific medical conditions that are more common in the elderly: falls, sleep problems, movement disorders, heart disorders, cancers, etc. A chapter on the importance of exercise with recommendations for those with specific diseases is very useful. The last section on social, legal, and ethical issues provides vital information on coping with change, making the decision to stop driving, intimacy, mistreatment of the elderly, and paying for health care. A chapter explaining informed consent, confidentiality, capacity and competency, and advance directives will help people prepare for medical treatment. Two appendices cover the generic and trade names of drugs commonly prescribed for seniors and a referral list of organizations. Charts and sidebars offer useful supplemental information.  A series of 26 essays by seniors, accompanied by photographs of the authors are scattered throughout the book. The authors share their feeling and insights about aging. Universal themes include the importance of staying physically and mentally active and sharing their knowledge and skills with others. Maurice Sendak’s self-portrait as a 75-year-old Wild Thing serves as an introduction.

The Merck Manual of Health & Aging is unique because it focuses on how disorders are different in older adults, rather than discussing all aspects of a disease. It also emphasizes adapting to the bodily changes of aging and finding effective ways to cope. It is reasonably priced and belongs in all public, medical, and consumer health libraries.


Johnson, T. Scott, M.D., William Alexander Broughton, M.D. and Jerry  Halberstadt. Sleep Apnea: Phantom of the Night, 3rd Ed rev. New  Technology Publishing, Inc., 2003. 310p. illus. Index. ISBN 1-882431-05-7 $40.00.

Originally published in 1993 as Phantom of the night: overcome sleep apnea syndrome and snoring; win your struggle to breathe, sleep and live, the new edition maintains that sleep disorders have still not been fully integrated into public awareness or the teaching and practice of medicine.  Sleep problems and disorders affect 50-70 million Americans and have major impacts on health and well being.   The authors include both the Director and a former Director of the Sleep Disorders Center, University of South Alabama - Kirkwood and a sufferer of sleep apnea syndrome.  This book details the results of research in sleep disorders medicine on the treatment of sleep apnea syndrome. It is a clear detailed, useful guide for the patient.

Entries on sleep apnea include chapters on good sleep, breathing, testing and recovery.  Excellent detailed appendixes include sections on treatment, a sleep log, a quiz to identify sleep apnea syndrome, and sections on equipment and accessories, oral appliances, and directories of organizations and manufacturers.

This new edition is written to educate sufferers of sleep apnea.  While it covers many technical topics it also contains current easily understood information in its bibliography, Internet links, and reference section.  It is an excellent addition to public and consumer health libraries.

Review by:  Lora V. Gault, Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, IN         

Additional information about the book, including excerpts, illustrations, table of contents, introduction, and information about the authors can be found at:


Cornog, Martha.  The BIG Book of Masturbation: From Angst to Zeal, 2003.  335p.  index.  ISBN 0-940208-29-6. $22.00.

Beyond the catchy title, this is a rather unique look at a taboo subject that captures many societal views on masturbation. Unlike the majority of books on the subject, it is not a how-to promising sexual fulfillment, nor is it merely a history of the subject. Instead, it's an encyclopedic look at masturbation embracing many disciplines: language, history, biology, anthropology, evolution, sociology, psychology, law, philosophy, religion, education, sexology, literature, and humor. Other aspects include today's news, popular culture, online world, promoting safe sex, benefiting health, and changing sex practices.

The breadth of the work is natural, given that the author has written several articles related to sexuality materials in libraries. She also co-edited Libraries, Erotica, & Pornography (1991), which won the American Library Association's Eli M. Oboler Award for Intellectual Freedom in 1992. Her M.S. in Library Science and M.A. in Linguistics have been put to good use in providing such a wide-ranging look at a difficult subject.

The book is written from an academic yet sensitive standpoint, but because it embraces so many fields the author does not rely too much on jargon. Terms are well-defined both in the text and with the accompanying glossary. An extensive bibliography is also included for further study.

This book forces the reader to think about his or her own views on masturbation and promotes discussion. It would therefore make an excellent addition to an academic, public, or consumer health collection.

Reviewed by Elisabeth E. Rowan, Shriners Hospital for Children, Lexington, Kentucky

Spath PL (ed). Partnering with Patients to Reduce Medical Errors. Chicago; Health Forum Inc., 2004. (ISBN 1-55648-314-7)

Patient-centered care is one of the six aims outlined by the IOM in 2001 as being a key driver to improve the safety and quality of heath care. 1)  Spath, a healthcare writer and editor with a notable set of books to her credit, has brought together a multidisciplinary set of authors to provide insight and knowledge to help practitioners work toward a patient-centered approach to care. The essays and tools compiled here represent experience form both the front line and administrative side of medicine—opinions and know-how that are all needed to make sustainable change in any portion of the safe care continuum.

Partnering with Patients to Reduce Medical Errors provides strategies and techniques that can be used to encourage patients to embrace more engaged role in their own safe care. It aims to facilitate a dialogue between clinicians and patients to support a deeper involvement in their own care. It provides stories from patients to underscore the importance of the patient-centered approach, discussions that related to the legal issues involved in patient involvement, and leadership strategies to establish a culture that supports a new and open relationship between clinicians, hospitals and the patients they serve. The book closes with a case study from a hospital that has had success in its patient-involvement initiative.

Unfortunately, in all that is good here on helping empower patients with information, librarians are not mentioned as partners or even as resources. Spath is not alone in this omission, which begs the question of the library profession’s advocacy of their own distinct role in patient safety by helping patients obtain the best information to empower them as players in their own safe care.

Nonetheless, the book is unique in its approach to addressing the process for implementing patient centered care, and should be available to both patients and practitioners alike to help drive needed improvement in this area.

1) Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, Washington DC; National Academy Press 2001

Lorri Zipperer, Cybrarian, Zipperer Project Management, Evanston, IL,


Giller CA. Port in the Storm: How to Make a Medical Decision and Live to Tell About It: A Practical Guide for Those Facing Medical Decisions for Themselves or Their Loved Ones. Washington DC; Lifeline Press. 2004. ISBN 0-89526-132-4

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the thought of a healthcare crisis and making decisions of such a magnitude. Think of the complexity of working with the phone company to determine a distinct mobile phone plan and multiply it out. Most of us don’t relish being put in that position.

With Port in the Storm, Cole Giller, MD has crafted an accessible guide for consumers faced with medical decision making. He provides the reader with a sense of the realities of facing critical health care situations and how to learn about the relevant options to make educated decisions and take an active role in the care process.  In addition to providing a pathway for consumers to understand what is happening clinically, the author reviews the emotional side of medical crisis and talks the consumer through those feeling to help them seem more manageable.

A fair amount of Port in the Storm deals with arming the patient with the right information. Many librarians, however, may feel he over simplifies the process of using and accessing the medical literature, but nonetheless the author provides salient points of consideration for researching and understanding medical conditions and options for care. He admits it is not an easy task, and mentions that librarians can help although he would have done patients a favor by positioning librarians in more of a partnership role in this vein. He outlines key elements to look for in reviewing the evidence—for example being aware of bias, the size of trial samples, the age of the information being read, and whether or not the study actually pertains to a patient’s distinct condition—so his points are nested in the realities medical librarians confront daily when doing research.

Giller is a compassionate author who has had personal medical problems. This book therefore shares an educated voice that encompasses two key perspectives on the consumer empowerment issue: patient and provider. Port in the Storm serves as a good introduction for both a patient who wishes to undertake a more active role in their own medical decision making by gathering the evidence to do so, and for practitioners who wish to understand the patient’s perspective to improve their practice and communication skills.

Lorri Zipperer, Cybrarian, Zipperer Project Management, Evanston, IL,


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.


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Vol. 20 No. 2 2004
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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