Congratulations, AAHSL Fellows!

Image that says "Congratulations" and shows a laptop in the foregrounds and two people wearing face masks bumping elbows.

For almost 20 years, NLM and the Association of the Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) have worked together to support the development of the next generation of medical library leaders through a joint NLM and AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program.

Since its launch, this program has matched fellows and mentors in a one-year leadership development program that has been a tremendous success. Inspired by the visionary leadership of former NLM Deputy Director Betsy Humphreys, NLM sought to answer the challenge of how to best prepare professionals to lead academic health science libraries of the future. NLM builds on this tradition of support by offering the Associate Fellowship Program, which is an early career training program for medical librarians

To continue this tradition and respond to the needs of experts in the academic health science programs, NLM leadership established a program to attract and develop future leaders. The NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program provides a combination of in-person and virtual learning experiences for selected fellows and offers the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in a variety of learning settings.

Fellows are paired with mentors who are directors of academic health sciences libraries. Mentors, who work closely with their fellows throughout the year and host a visit to their library, are the backbone of the program. Their participation makes it possible for fellows to be exposed to additional leadership styles and areas of expertise. Mentors continuously share that they too benefit from the program and appreciate the opportunity to reflect and learn from the cohort. Since the program began in 2002, 49 percent of fellow graduates have assumed director positions. 

Last week, I was delighted to celebrate (virtually) the culmination of this year’s program:

Front row (Fellows):
Emily Glenn, MSLS; Erika Sevetson, MS; Gail Kouame, MLIS; Marisa Conte, MLIS, AHIP; Emily Hurst, MSLS, AHIP
 
Back row (Mentors):
Anne Seymour, MSIS; Debra Rand, MS, AHIP; Rick Fought, EdD, MLIS, AHIP; Kelly Gonzalez, MSIS, MBA; Rose Bland, MA, MPA, AHIP

Emily Jill Glenn, MSLS
Associate Director, Education & Research Services, McGoogan Library of Medicine
University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 

Mentor:  Anne K. Seymour, MSIS, Director
Welch Medical Library
Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, Baltimore, MD 

Erika L. Sevetson, MS
Director of Academic Engagement for Health, Biomedical and Physical Sciences
Brown University Library, Providence, RI 

Mentor:  Debra Rand, MS, AHIP
Associate Dean for Library Services
Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and Corporate Director of Libraries for Northwell Health, Hempstead, NY

Gail M. Kouame, MLIS
Assistant Director for Research & Education Services, Robert B. Greenblatt, MD Library Augusta University, Augusta, GA

Mentor:  Rick L. Fought, EdD, MLIS, AHIP
Associate Professor and Director, Health Sciences Library
University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN  

Marisa L. Conte, MLIS, AHIP
Assistant Director, Research and Informatics, Taubman Health Sciences Library
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Mentor:  Kelly R. Gonzalez, MSIS, MBA
Assistant Vice President for Library Services, Health Sciences Digital Library and Learning Center
UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

Emily J. Hurst, MSLS, AHIP
Deputy Director and Head of Research and Education, VCU Libraries, Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Mentor:  Rose L. Bland, MA, MPA, AHIP
Director, Shimberg Health Sciences Library
University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

NLM’s commitment to this program has been steadfast, and the program’s continued success would not have been possible without the work that takes place in the field.

NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows are selected through a national competition, based on career directions and focused needs in their areas. As is typical in many mid-career mentoring programs, fellows do not need to interrupt their current career commitments to participate in the NLM/AAHSL Fellows Program.

Fellows spend twelve months with an expert mentor who is selected, in part, because of the match between what the fellow needs and what the mentor can provide. During most years, except for this year due to COVID-19, fellows typically engage in in-person exchanges, an intensive leadership institute, distance learning, and hands-on site visits. Fellows and mentors gather in Bethesda, MD for a capstone experience that includes a one-day visit to the National Library of Medicine. In addition to taking a deep dive into the functions of NLM, the fellows and their mentors can spend more time together face-to-face.

NLM recognizes that the health information needs of biomedical researchers and the general public rely heavily on the availability of professional health science libraries and the skills of well-trained medical librarians. As the world copes with the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing face of health science libraries, I remind all health science librarians of the NLM’s commitment to work together with you to elevate the resources provided by health sciences libraries to the world.

Diagram of NLM's Guiding Principles which are Resilience, Relevance, and Reinvention.
NLM’s guiding principle: Resilience, Relevance, and Reinvention.

We embrace a commitment to remain relevant to the evolving health information needs of our stakeholders, which requires a great deal of resilience and a willingness to reinvent the way we do our work.

What should academic health science libraries of the future look like, and what kind of leaders will they need?

Postscript:

Due to the immediate and long-term impact of COVID-19, the NLM/AAHS Leadership Fellows Program will be on a hiatus for one year. There will not be a 2020/2021 class. AAHSL plans to open applications for the 2021/2022 class in spring 2021. The program will complete its events for the current 2019/2020 class. Please visit the AAHSL website for future opportunities.

Author: Patti Brennan

Director, US National Library of Medicine

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