National Public Health Week 2018: Changing Our Future Together

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Guest post by Lisa Lang, head of NLM’s National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology

The secret is out: The National Library of Medicine supports National Public Health Week every day, all year.

We have been committed to supporting the public’s health since our establishment in 1836. From its start as the library of the US. Army Surgeon General, the statutory mission of NLM has been “…to assist with the advancement of medical and related sciences and to aid in the dissemination and exchange of scientific and other information important to the progress of medicine and to the public health.”

Today, we look toward implementing our new strategic plan and a vision of NLM as a platform for biomedical discovery and data-powered health.  In that vision, we assure progress for all by working closely with our partners and colleagues in biomedical research, medicine, and public health—living out this year’s message for National Public Health Week, “Changing our future together.”

A year ago or so, NLM Director Patricia Flatley Brennan sat down for an interview with The Nation’s Health, a publication of the American Public Health Association, and enthusiastically described NLM’s many resources [PDF] and activities that support the work of public health. Those resources are free and available to all 24/7, every day of the year.  Even the most specialized resources can be accessed by the general public.

But today, during National Public Health Week, we take the opportunity to highlight the many ways NLM can help those in public health meet their charge to change the future.

This year, this annual event is focusing on such critical public health issues as access to effective behavioral health services; communicable diseases; environmental health; injury and violence; and ensuring the right to health. It’s a bold agenda, one we can only achieve by working together.

And NLM is doing its part.

For example, looking at just one of this week’s themes, Injury and Violence Prevention, we can find information coming out of NLM that addresses an array of needs:

  • Seeking current, high-quality general literature, but don’t know where to start?
    Dip into NICHSR ONESearch to simultaneously search across four key resources for evidence-based public health: the webportals for the public health and health services research communities and two unique health services research databases.
  • Looking for the latest research in the journal literature?
    Run one of the pre-set PubMed queries for the Leading Health Indicators addressing injury and violence. (Leading Health Indicators are a subset of the national public health goals, “HealthyPeople 2020,” that track our 10-year progress in achieving these key objectives.)
  • Hunting for tools, statistics, data sets, research reports, or PubMed queries?
    Check out the Health Services Research topic page on domestic violence, which covers intimate partner violence, sexual coercion, and child or elder abuse, or review the list of resources addressing the intersection of domestic violence and HIV/AIDS.
  • Trying to cope with disasters, violence, or traumatic events?
    Consult the quality sites NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center has pulled together to help both the public and specialists, including first responders, health care providers, journalists, and teachers, deal with—or help others deal with—the stress and emotional struggles that follow such incidents.
  • Looking for clinical trials or research projects related to domestic violence?
    Comb through the actively recruiting trials registered with ClinicalTrials.gov or the recently funded health services research projects in HSRProj (Health Services Research Projects-in-Progress).
  • Helping consumers or patients improve their understanding of violence as a health topic?
    Head over to MedlinePlus for straightforward, consumer-level information about injuries, violence, and abuse.
  • Hoping to learn from the past to help prevent future violence?
    Explore NLM’s recent exhibition Confronting Violence: Improving Women’s Lives.

And that’s not the end of it.

Our National Network of Libraries of Medicine—more than 6,000 member libraries strong—is available to assist the public and public health professionals with access to quality health information. And NLM supports terminologies and tools that foster the collection of high-quality data for research and practice.

We are all in this together. NLM and public health: working together today and for the future.

casual headshot of Lisa LangGuest blogger Lisa Lang is Assistant Director for Health Services Research Information and also Head of NLM’s National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR).

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