Over the past two years I’ve been updating you on the NLM strategic plan and our progress toward making it real. Today, in this first blog post of 2019, I’ve got many exciting things to share with you!
As of January 1, 2019, NLM has a new organizational chart that anticipates the outcome of a first phase of reorganization that will be implemented over the coming year. This initial phase focuses on consolidating NLM staff and related programs into fewer divisions and offices to improve efficiency and our overall effectiveness. We’ll be working out the details of these changes during the year, and we’ll keep you informed of our progress and the implications for specific NLM programs and services as we go along.
First, missing from the new organizational chart is the Specialized Information Services (SIS) Division, the place within NLM that addressed the health information needs of specific communities, including Native Americans, minority-serving institutions, and urban teens. We have not wavered in our commitment to these and other populations traditionally underserved within health care, but we are working to ensure both the sustainability of this notable work and its integration into the fabric of the new NLM. Our new, streamlined organization will incorporate within other offerings the critical information resources and services SIS originally provided.
Second, the Office of High Performance Computing and Communications, situated within the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications since the early 1990s, has closed. This unit offered many innovations over the years, advancing health computing to the 21st century and launching one of our most incredible ventures, the Visible Human Project. NLM will continue to make the Visible Human data available, but staff from the Office will be incorporated into other branches of the Lister Hill Center.
The third arm of the reorganization integrates the creative design and development services of the Audiovisual Programs Development Branch, also from the Lister Hill Center, into NLM’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison. This realignment will help us incorporate advanced media and visualization techniques into our robust communication programs to better inform the public of our many information services and research advances.
Finally, NLM is renaming its Office of Health Information Programs Development the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI). OSI will play a key role in advancing NLM efforts in data and open science, program evaluation, and the strategic plan implementation.
Along with these changes we’ll be assessing staff skills and evaluating their interests to best align those skills and interests with NLM’s evolving needs. We are committed to retaining our federal staff as we realign functions, and we’ll do our best to ensure we have matched our talented staff with work they enjoy and the Library needs.
Reorganizing a successful and beloved institution like NLM requires ongoing communication, lots of listening, sufficient time to make sure we’re on the right track, and a strong dose of trust. We’re well on our way, but this is a journey, not a sprint. We’ll be taking the pulse of NLM, its 1,700 staff, and our global stakeholders along the way. Let us know how we’re doing and how you like the look of our future.