Call for Papers and Posters – Annual Conference 2015

Have you submitted your paper or poster yet for the 2015 MWMLA Conference, it’s not too late. The deadline for submission is June 30, Follow the link for more details.

This year’s conference keynote speaker will be Dr. Lawrence K. Altman. Click the following link to learn more about Dr. Altman and our other esteemed speakers and panel guests.

This year’s MWMLA Meeting will be held in Louisville, KY. Never been to Louisville before? Want to know more about the host city? Click here for complete details on travel, dining, things to do and hotels.

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North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum

What a delight to have a reception in North Dakota’s Heritage Center and State Museum!  From the beautiful architecture of the new galleries to the fascinating exhibits presented inside, the center makes for a wonderfully educational introduction to the state’s history.

And some of that history is ancient!  I think everyone enjoyed the dinosaurs and how engagingly they were displayed.  Should I ever get a cat I am naming him or her after Dinictis (transl. Terrible Stab) the inhabitant of North Dakota from approximately 30 million years ago (what a fantastic name!).

I was also delighted that the gift shop stayed open late for our event because I was able to pick up some North Dakotan chippers that I had heard so much about since I arrived.  I brought them home to share to immense success.  A truly delightful evening in a fantastic setting!



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Sally Gore’s Making the Case


Anytime a speaker offers to serenade her audience, you know it will be a fun talk.  Sally Gore of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the blog, A Librarian by Any Other Name, gave an engaging talk on health sciences librarianship in the changing health sciences environment.

Starting from dreams, even the seemingly unrealistic ones, Gore walked us through planning and realizing those dreams.  With her copyrighted “Backpacking Strategic Planning Model”, she helped navigate dreamers through the hike to achieve them.  With such practical hiking advice as “only planning as far as you can see” and “make sure to look down every once in a while so you don’t trip”, she translated these to tips into the fundamental goals of knowing yourself, your interest, your environment, and how to pull them all together.

One of her most important points was to not be intimidated by what you don’t know.  I think many of our patrons and users come to us to confront this exact intimidation of the unknown, and, in a way, we have to relearn how to be comfortable with the unknown and adaptable to confronting it.  Gore helped show us how many of our skills (and not just the ones from librarianship) can be translated to things we seemingly don’t know how to do.  As Gore illuminated, what we don’t know isn’t scary, in fact, we might know more than we think.

She ended with the delightful design story from Ronald Shakespear about the origins of the width of roads and how this measurement, (spoiler alert) derived from the width of two Roman Empire horses butts, has come to determine our most advanced technologies simply because of what we can fit down a road.  Gore encouraged us to not be constrained by the measurements of what has come before, but instead to understand it: to bring our dreams into reality not constricted by what has come before but expanded by our skills and talents.

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A First Time at the Midwest Chapter’s Annual Meeting

Thank you to Beth Layton for the picture!

Thank you to Beth Layton for the picture!

This was a conference of firsts for me! As first time Midwest member and a first time meeting attendee, I was also lucky enough to be traveling to North Dakota for the first time as well.  And, perhaps it was beginners luck, but the lucky firsts continued throughout the trip and conference.

Without the generosity of the Midwest Chapter’s Scholarships I wouldn’t have been able to attend.  So I was truly grateful and honored to receive one of the first time attendee awards. It meant a lot to my whole institution: in addition to all the conference firsts, I’m one of three librarians at a brand new medical school in its very first semester.  I had a lot of questions for my peers!  (Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to troubleshoot all of my problems!  All of you are awesome!)

The flight into Bismarck was a delightful first of being on a plane half full of librarians and half full of pheasant hunters.  And I think that has to be the first time I have had such a delightfully short trip from airport to hotel: so convenient!  I will forever jealously remember the ten minute ride in Bismarck whenever I am stuck in traffic on the way to O’Hare.

Exploring all the shops and restaurants around the hotel was equally delightful and delicious.  I think everyone enjoyed the dining circles (as pictured above during one of the groups in Peacock Alley), especially for the firsts of trying buffalo burgers.  With everything just a short walk from the hotel, it made it fun for exploring between sessions.

The final and most glorious first was that of receiving a mustache!  Who new just sticking mustaches on all parties resulted in a perfect ice breaker?  Along with the casual dress code, the mustached crowd made for a relaxed, fun atmosphere.  A wonderful way to start a first Midwest Chapter meeting!  I hope it’s the first of many, many more.

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Reducing Diagnostic Error

Dr. Mark Graber spoke today regarding diagnostic error and how librarians can help. Obviously, anything with the term “error” in its name is not going to be a good thing, but Dr. Graber really brought the costs of diagnostic error home with the story of Rory Staunton, a boy whose sepsis was misdiagnosed as gastroenteritis, as well as these sobering facts:

  • Falls, medication errors and other patient safety issues have seen improvements in recent years; Dx errors are still largely unrecognized.
  • 40,000-80,000 deaths a year may be due to Dx error, making it the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Dx error results in more malpractice costs that any other issue.

However, the presentation was not all doom and gloom, as Dr. Graber had a number of suggestions. He pointed to the fact that real change requires both system change–policies, procedures and culture–as well as cognitive change at the individual level. And there are a number of ways librarians can help:

  • Participate on clinical teams and committees to reduce Dx error.
  • Educate medical professionals on the difference between analytical and intuitive thinking, as well as tacit and explicit knowledge.
  • Explore tools like Dxplain and Isabel.
  • Consider participating in the SIDM Librarians on Call project.
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Campfire Conversation: AHIP

A new program of this year’s meeting was Campfire Conversations. I attended the one on AHIP moderated by Jolene Miller, Director of Mulford Health Science Library, University of Teledo.  AHIP stands for Academy Of Health Information Professionals.  It is Medical Library Association’s (MLA’s) credentialing program established in 1989. It is a peer-reviewed professional development and career recognition program. Jolene said having AHIP after one’s name is often a conversation starter, and the term peer-review resonates with faculty.

AHIP is often listed as a preferred item in job openings. So being an AHIP member could give one an edge in the job market. There are five membership levels: Provisional Member Level, Member Level, Senior Member Level, Distinguished Member Level, and Emeritus Member Level. Application fees varies depending on the membership level. See more information on the application process on MLA website.

Decisions about AHIP applications are made by the MLA Credentialing Committee. Jolene served on the committee for several years. She offered the following advice for those who are considering becoming AHIP members.

  • Get into the habit of regularly documenting your professional development and continue education. This can be as simple as a folder on your computer or a physical paper folder.
  • Document more points than needed.
  • Visit MLA website regularly to keep current with changes on points and documentation.

Which Campfire Conversation did you attend? Share with us in the comments area.

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Campfire Conversation: Nurses and Nursing Students

The hour-long campfire conversations portion of the conference was something I had very much been looking forward to, as a way to meet other librarians and to hear about their successes and difficulties regarding various aspects of medical librarianship. It definitely didn’t disappoint! My only regret was that I could only attend one. I chose the conversation about serving nurses and nursing students, where we packed a lot of excellent discussion into one hour. Our small group was made up of both hospital and academic librarians, so we covered everything from preparing for Magnet certification to working with distance students to handling delicate situations involving poor student assignments from faculty.

Before the end of the hour, our group exchanged email addresses in order to continue the conversation online. I know I had a number of good take-aways from the discussion that I would like to try back at my institution, particularly in terms of outreach. I look forward to similar conversations at future conferences!

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Programs on data and systematic reviews

Betsy Humphreys, Deputy Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, mentioned two departure points for health sciences librarians: providing data management training for researchers and conducting literature searches to ­­­produce evidence needed to improve quality of care. I’d like to highlight some of the meeting programs on these two areas. Make sure to check out those that are upcoming. Feel free to leave a comment if I missed anything.

  • Saturday CE Class: Informatics for Librarians: Peeling the Onion
  • Saturday Class: Introduction to Translational Bioinformatics
  • Sunday Paper: Creating a Plan to Formalize a Systematic Review Program. 2:54pm at Van Goh-Remington
  • Tuesday CE Class: Systematic Reviews: Getting Started
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Stay fit in Bismarck

Yes, Eric Rumsey, Jen Deberg, and I drove from Iowa City, IA to Bismarck, ND. Thirteen hours on the road. That’s how committed we are to Midwest. We also had healthy meals on the road because we are big on nutrition. Be sure to look for Eric Rumsey in the poster session for a poster he coauthored with Jen Deberg and Janna Lawrence.

ia to bis
Today we needed some stretching. Here is what we’ve explored so far:
The Fitness center and the pool are both located on the 2nd floor, which is where the conference is held. You can get in to the pool area, but you need to get a different card from the desk to access the fitness center. Jen liked the fitness center but commented on the lack of upper extremities equipment and therapy balls. Note that  Jen was an Occupational Therapist for many years before becoming a librarian. Look for her poster on history of evidence based nursing. No comments on the pool itself, but I did yoga at a corner in this area since I did not find a space in the fitness center.

fitness centerpool

The registration desk is also located on the 2nd floor, where you will be greeted by Dawn Hackman and Mary Markland. Remember to pick up some awesome goodies there. I love nuts. Come to my presentation tomorrow afternoon and see why.

Registration desk goodies

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Souvenir Shopping at Midwest

Souvenir shopping while attending the Midwest Chapter meeting in Bismarck will be easy. The Sunday social event is being held at the newly renovated Heritage Center, where the Museum Store has expanded to include new items. Gift shop hours that night will be from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

On a recent shopping trip, I spotted Pride of Dakota and other items for children and adults:

  • Tshirts, shirts, & sweatshirts
  • Jewelry
  • Pottery
  • Toys and puzzles
  • Books (every librarian needs more!)
  • CDs & DVDs
  • Posters
  • Chippers
  • Furry Animal hand puppets
  • Craft kits for cornhusk dolls, old fashioned sewing cards, and cats cradle
  • One-of-kind art items vary but may include handblown glass art and sculptures.

If you cannot find what you want at the Heritage Center Museum Store, a side trip to Plaza Drug might be an option for you. They have the largest selection of Pride of Dakota items I have seen in Bismarck (other than at the Heritage Center).

The best place to shop for Native American items is Five Nations Arts  located in Mandan’s historic Burlington Northern Railroad Depot. (If you’re curious, the “five nations” are Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara) and the Lakota and Dakota Sioux.  The six-mile drive from the conference hotel is well-worth it, but plan ahead as they are closed evenings and Sundays.

Other shopping opportunities were highlighted in the conference’s Tourist Attractions & Shopping guide or are listed on the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau website. Enjoy your retail therapy!


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