Building a liaison team

Today, I had the pleasure of listening to Kelly Thormodson of the University of Iowa talk about how they’ve been building a team out of their liaison program at their health sciences library. Sadly, the impetus for this grew out of the loss of our friend, Kathy Skhal, who many of us knew and admired. Losing Kathy made the Iowa librarians realize they needed to work together more on many fronts.

Clearly evident from Kelly’s talk was her enthusiasm and no nonsense approach. Kelly is a woman with a mission to improve an already successful program. She has accomplished this already in many ways including

-establishing standard training curricula and handouts
-having librarians write up their instruction sessions such that someone else could pick up the class and teach it if needed
-using a joint education calendar so she can quickly see who is teaching what at a specific time
-and encouraging cross contamination and communication through meetings, serving on committees outside of liaison assignments and team teaching.

I think what many of us can glean from this is there is benefit from sharing what we are teaching and how we are teaching it within our own libraries. By doing this, when emergencies arise, we have others to lean on that are well prepared to back us up. So many times we feel like our one-shot truly is our one shot at getting into a class and move heaven and earth or some in sick to teach it. This team approach really helps alleviate some of that pressure while still providing good service and preserving relationships that take so long to build.

It took a tragedy for these librarians to come together. My challenge (and yours) is to figure out how to do these things in our normal library lives sans tragedy.

New Approach to Medical Education

With the drive to reform health care comes the concept of reforming medical education. A new program, ENCORE, is being developed at the University of Michigan with the tag line: Ensure Competence – Inspire Excellence.

With the current drive to reform health care, it was no surprise to see a presentation focused on changing the way medical education is taught. In the Midwest MLA/MHSLA conference Concurrent Session Competency-Based Medical Education, Dr. Rajesh Mangrulkar shared about the University of Michigan program “ENCORE: Ensure Competence, Inspire Excellence” – and I was fascinated.
According to Dr. Mangrulkar, ENCORE has several meanings, but he prefers “Ensuring Competence in Outreach and Research in Education”. This self-directed, collaborative, flexible, competency (rather than curriculum) based, and outcome (rather than objective) based program identifies nine competency domains, each related to existing ACGME competencies.
The goal of each is to focus on “what residents should be able to do when they leave” the program. “ENCORE will be organized around a set of 126 clusters of patient symptoms, and work to create outcomes that students must be able to demonstrate.” This view of education was so radical, he noted, that “opening the box on the medical education program was like opening a can of worms.”
The standard four years of lecture and tests with clinical experience beginning in year 3 will be replaced by lecture, self-directed focused study modules including pod- and webcasts, practical experience beginning in the first year, and no specific time-line for completion. Part of the goal is to cover the new fields of medicine such as personalized medicine, the global impact of health and disease, systems-based thinking, and information management. Part is to incorporate the many ways folks learn, part to promote life-long learning and part to focus on practicality and excellence.
The project has just reached the stage of identifying which of the 126 modules are appropriate for the equivalent of year 1. Obviously LOTS of questions remain on topics such as: How long is too long? How will costs be handled? Evaluation and review? Continuing education? Are there modules we shouldn’t have eliminated? In what new ways will librarians interact with students and residents? I’m glad there are librarians on the ENCORE team!
For a brief description of ENCORE, visit the UMHS Inside View, page 3, at:
Thank you Clare for asking me to blog this!
Holly Ann Burt
Outreach and Exhibits Coordinator
NN/LM-Greater Midwest Region