Calder Library’s New Class Equips Emergency Responders with Vital Information Tools
When the University mounted its unprecedented emergency medical response to Haiti’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake, volunteers staffing UM’s tent hospital in Port-au-Prince had many questions about diseases and conditions they had never encountered before. Next time, they could have the answers, or at least the means to find them, literally at their fingertips.
Determined to quickly and easily fill the information gaps that are inevitable in disasters, Calder Library Executive Director Mary Moore, Ph.D., and Research Librarian Kimberly A. Loper, M.L.I.S., have created a class to teach disaster and emergency responders how to navigate authoritative disaster health information resources. The class, Becoming a Disaster Health Information Power User, is now available online for free, with free CME credits for the first 30 applicants to sign up.
“In times of disaster, emergency responders can’t be prepared for every question they face,” said Moore, who also chairs the Department of Health Informatics. “Maybe they need to know how to treat a radiation injury, or how to talk to a child suffering from post-traumatic stress, or how to identify a brown oily substance on the street that makes your throat and skin burn. This class will give them the tools to find the answers, many of which are available on mobile devices or downloadable to a thumb drive. Literally, this information can be available at your fingertips.”
Following the earthquake in Haiti, for which Calder librarians provided around-the-clock reference services, Web resources and key textbooks, Moore and Loper learned that many responders were unaware that a broad range of disaster health information resources were both available, and easily accessible. With support from the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County and funding from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Southeastern/Atlantic Region, they created the class specifically to address that problem.
Covering general searching techniques, clinical resources, consumer health information and hazardous materials, the class shows participants how and when to use the broad array of disaster health tools available from the National Library of Medicine, including PubMed, PubMed Clinical Queries, WISER, REMM, CHEMM, ToxNet, MedlinePlus, and the Emergency Access Initiative, which provides temporary free access to articles from major biomedicine journals to healthcare professionals, librarians, and the public affected by disasters.
To date, Moore and Loper have twice presented the class live to health workers, first responders and volunteers with the Miami-Dade County Medical Reserve Corps, once at the Calder Library and once at the Miami-Dade Emergency Operations Center.