Council Quotes

Communications from the Colorado Council of Medical Librarians

Precision Medicine: Finally, it’s all about YOU!

Posted by dabbey on March 20, 2015

At the January 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced his Precision Medicine Initiative. This initiative would put $215 million dollars toward understanding how to personalize an individual’s medical treatment based on his or her genes, environment and lifestyle. While the concept of precision (also referred to as personalized or individualized) medicine isn’t new – think eyeglasses and blood transfusions – advances in science and technology will allow for the exploration of novel treatments and prevention strategies for complex diseases like coronary artery disease, COPD, and hypertension. One million citizens will be asked to volunteer their health data and numerous public and private entities will be collaborating to explore effective disease prevention and treatment.

Why Now?

Developments in basic science, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and advances in technology supporting mHealth, electronic health records, and the storage of big data have created the perfect environment to greatly expand precision medicine. If the past ten years is any indication of rapid change, the sky’s the limit for the next decade:

  • Amount of time to sequence the human genome: 2004-2 years, 2014-2 days
  • Cost of human sequencing: 2004-$22,000,000, 2014-$1,000-$5,000
  • Number of smart phones: 2004-1,000,000, 2014-160,000,000
  • Computing power: 2004-n, 2014-n16

Precision Medicine in Action

The Veteran’s Administration (VA) Office of Research and Development has been working to identify genes linked to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), high blood pressure, and heart disease. VA researchers have discovered that individuals with a certain form of the serotonin transporter gene 5-HTT are at a greater risk for PTSD and depression, information which helps individualize use and dosage of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). They have also found that people with certain forms of angiotensin II receptor type-1 (AGTR1) may have an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. This information can help clinicians develop a personalized preventative care program. Find out more on VA research.

Precision medicine can not only impact an individual, it can address health prevention in an entire community. In 2008, an OB/GYN began mapping children born into poverty in Gainesville, Florida. She was put in contact with a sheriff who was also interested in mapping, but her focus was the community’s incidence of crime. When the two women met, they discovered the maps matched exactly to a one square-mile area and further investigation showed the area also had the highest rate of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect. But why? A ride around the area revealed a lot about the environment and lifestyles of community members. There was poorly maintained housing and a complete lack of access to services like child care, healthy food and medical care – with the closest clinic a 2-hour bus ride away. Find out more about what happened to this community.

Resources for Genetic and Environmental Health


Community College and University

  • Environmental Health and Toxicology – portal links health professionals and consumers to many resources to understand the connection between the environment and human health and development.
  • GeneEd Web site – (Grades 9 -12+) Links to vetted genetic Web sites based on high school science curriculum. Includes lesson plans and current events.
  • Genetics Home Reference – Consumer-friendly information about genetic variation and human health.

Consumer and Patient Education

  • Environmental Health and Toxicology – portal links health professionals and consumers to many resources to understand the connection between the environment and human health and development.
  • Genetic Alliance – Nonprofit health advocacy organization committed to transforming health through genetics and promoting an environment of openness.
  • Genetics Home Reference – Consumer-friendly information about genetic variation and human health.
  • NHGRI Talking Glossary – Genetic terms, images and animation. (English/Spanish).
  • Office of Rare Diseases Research – Rare diseases information for patients, families, healthcare providers, researchers, educators and students.

Genetics Professionals


Public Health

  • Environmental Health and Toxicology – portal links health professionals and consumers to many resources to understand the connection between the environment and human health and development.
  • PHPartners – a collaboration of U.S. government agencies, public health organizations, and health sciences libraries which provides timely, convenient access to selected public health resources on the Internet.
  • Public Health Genomics – information on infectious diseases and noncommunicable diseases with a focus on human and pathogen genomics, genomic tests, family history, public health science, programs and practice, as well as policy and legislation.
  • National Information Center on Health Services Research and Heath Care Technology (NICHSR) – information and tools for the health services research community.

Researcher Tools from NIH

  • GenBank - an annotated collection of all publicly available DNA sequences.
  • Gene – integrates information from a wide range of species. A record may include nomenclature, Reference Sequences (RefSeqs), maps, pathways, variations, phenotypes, and links to genome-, phenotype-, and locus-specific resources worldwide.
  • Genes and Expressions – Tools to help users query and download experiments and curated gene expression profiles.
  • Human Genome Resources – integrated, one-stop, genomic information infrastructure for biomedical researchers from around the world so that they may use these data in their research efforts.
  • International HapMap Tool - partnership of scientists and funding agencies from Canada, China, Japan, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States to develop a public resource that will help researchers find genes associated with human disease and response to pharmaceuticals.
  • NCBI Webinars and Courses – a series of webinars and courses led by NCBI staff who explain and demonstrate the use of various NCBI web resources with particular emphasis on recent changes and improvements.
  • OMIM – comprehensive, authoritative compendium of human genes and genetic phenotypes that is freely available and updated daily.


-Dana Abbey, Colorado/Health Information Literacy Coordinator

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Join Us! March and April MLA Webinar and Webcast for CCML Members

Posted by mmclurerams on March 10, 2015

The CCML Education Committee is happy to announce that we’ll be partnering with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Health Sciences Library and the Colorado State University Libraries to sponsor CCML member access to the following March MLA webinar and April MLA webcast.

Please register your interest in live or post-event viewing, via the registration forms linked below.

MARCH 2015

Limitations and Critical Appraisal of Systematic Reviews
Co-sponsored by CCML and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Health Sciences Library

Systematic review publications are important to health care and policy decisions, but they are not without their limitations.  Understanding these limitations, and being able to instruct patrons on them, is a key component of our work as health sciences information professionals. This session will provide a detailed discussion of the impact of biases, publication delays and methodologic quality of systematic reviews, particularly on their application in clinical practice.  The presenters will also give an overview of systematic review appraisal, including interpretation of commonly reported statistical measures. See complete details.

Join us, to view live: March 18, 12-1:30 p.m., University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Library, Tower Room. RSVP via the registration form.

Request post-event, CCML member access to the recording: registration form.

APRIL 2015

The Diversity of Data Management: Practical Approaches for Health Sciences Librarianship

Co-sponsored by CCML, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Health Sciences Library, and the Colorado State University Libraries

This webcast is designed to provide health sciences librarians with an introduction to data management, including how data are used within the research landscape, and the current climate around data management in biomedical research. Three librarians working with data management at their institutions will present case studies and examples of products and services they have implemented, and provide strategies for and success stories about what has worked to get data management services up and running at their libraries. See complete details.

Join us, to view live: April 22, 12-1:30 p.m., Colorado State University Libraries, Room 203. RSVP via the registration form.

Request post-event CCML member access to the recording: registration form.

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You’re Not What You Eat…Probably

Posted by richardmaxwell on February 11, 2015

There’s good news to be found on the nutrition front if we’re to believe reports in the news media recently.

First of all, Brian Williams on NBC reported (cut the guy some slack here…he didn’t claim to be an avocado farmer) that two studies had shown the latest wonder foods to be avocados and oatmeal. Wonder foods, of course, are a movable feast, and I look forward to cinnamon rolls taking a turn in the spotlight.  But for now we need to consider what to do about the current stars.

The avocado news comes from the Journal of the American Heart Association in January 2015.  The authors take direct aim at the apple by recommending an avocado a day. Say it ain’t so.  How many people have been fending off doctors for how many years by desperately trying to figure out a way to take in that single, powerful Macintosh or golden delicious each day?  And do we now drop the apple in favor of the avocado or do we simply add the avocado?  They fail to make this clear, and the whole thing demands further research.

Here’s some of that further research freshly done:

You do not need to choose!  No need to agonize over which to cast aside.  According to, my go-to site for practical solutions to scientific conundrums, you can have it both ways.  Try Easy Apple Avocado Salad, for example, or if its meager 3 ½ stars rating gives you pause, how about the 4 ½ star Kale, Apple, Avocado, and Bacon (!!) salad?  Certainly the big three will overpower any possible problem associated with the bacon…and the salad will actually have flavor.

Cautionary note: WebMD says that the avocado is only “LIKELY SAFE” when eaten in “food amounts.”  Not clear on what constitutes a food amount, but it seems like a pretty subjective measurement.

Oatmeal was not the actual focus of what was cited by NBC (oh Brian….), rather the article in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at whole grains more generally.  The conclusion: not much new, really. “Higher whole grain consumption is associated with lower total and CVD mortality in US men and women, independent of other dietary and lifestyle factors.” I think they’re hinting at immortality there, but lack the fortitude to come right out and say it.

Allrecipes failed to be as helpful when I asked for avocado and oatmeal together, but really…how tough is it to simply hack up a freshly cleaned avocado and toss it into a bowl of oatmeal?  Even with my slavish devotion to using recipes for nearly everything, I believe I could improvise that one. There’s also the possibility of making use of that idle food processor or blender. Certainly something resembling food would result and you’d know that good health would result from somehow choking it down.

The other good news comes from reading between the lines of the Associated Press report on what testing commissioned by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found was in bottles labeled as herbal supplements.  Sold at retailers GNC, Target, Walgreen’s, and Wal-Mart, containers claiming to hold such things as echinacea and St. John’s Wort were frequently found to contain no echinacea or St. John’s Wort DNA.  There instead were such things as rice, garlic, wheat, beans, and a tropical houseplant.  Herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA other than to ask manufacturers to verify that their products are safe and correctly labeled. While these little unmentioned bonus ingredients could present problems for those with food allergies, the New York AG’s stern letters to the retailers are overlooking the good news.  Keep things as they are, add some fine print to the label, and many folks buying the “supplements” would be painlessly and cluelessly adding much needed grain (see above) and protein to their diets.

Speaking of food additives and DNA and now speaking of surveys which gauge the views of large numbers of us on scientific questions, here’s something wonderful which could have come from the amazing minds of the people at The Onion, but did not…repeat, did not:

Among many other questions posed in a survey conducted by the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics, was one asking if the respondents would favor mandatory labeling of food containing DNA.  Take a moment to let that soak in.  Unsurprisingly but kind of depressingly, 80.44% said sure. They would love to know if something as clearly strange and dangerous as DNA was being added to their food.

Not from The Onion.

Posted in fyi, musings by maxwell | Leave a Comment »

update on CCML quarterly meeting Feb 13 2015

Posted by mariestpierre2525 on January 30, 2015

Directions and parking
Please join us on February 13 at our next quarterly meeting. The meeting will be held in the University of Colorado Health Sciences Library Reading Room, on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

First, an education session at 8:15 a.m. Sandra Brown and Janet Hollingsworth from Anythink Studio will speak on the studio’s craft and tech creative programming.

Second: networking and refreshments from 9-9:30.

Next: a tour of the Ben Nighthorse Campbell Native Health Building, home of the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health. We will walk over from the Health Sciences Library to the BNC Building, a very short distance.

And then?: Our business meeting, starting at 10:45.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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CCML quarterly Meeting Feb 13 2015

Posted by mariestpierre2525 on January 21, 2015

We will be meeting at the Health Sciences Library Reading Room, 3rd Floor, and for our main program we will walk over to the Ben Nighthorse Campbell Building for a tour.

Directions and parking

8:15 to 9:00 education program Sandra Brown (Adult Guide) and Janet Hollingsworth (Teen Guide) to speak about the craft and tech creative programming happening at Anythink Studio.

9:00 to 9:30 networking and refreshments

9: 30 to 10:30 main program we will walk over to the Ben Nighthorse Campbell Building

10:30 to 10:45 break

10:45 to 11:45 business meeting

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JOB OPENING: Medical Librarian, Porter Adventist Hospital

Posted by memorizingmo on January 14, 2015

Position Description: This position is a 16 hrs/week position with the ability to flex up as needed. The full-time librarian will be out on FMLA for 12 weeks this spring; during this time, it is possible that the position can be up to 40 hrs/week. Essential duties and responsibilities include using print and electronic resources to assist library customers in obtaining evidence-based information, cataloging and processing new materials, performing literature searches for library customers, maintaining interlibrary loan systems, and other functions as needed.


*Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from an ALA-accredited library school. MLA certification preferred.

*One to three years of experience in a health sciences library.

*Experience synthesizing and interpreting evidence-based research

*Online searching experience with a variety of medically focused search engines as well as the Internet.

*Evidence of teaching skills.

*Web page development experience.

*Problem solving, analytical skills, creativity, and ability to work independently required.

*Effective oral and written communication, presentation, interpersonal, and negotiation skills required.

For more information or to apply, contact Sue Brooks, Director of Revenue Management, at

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“Redirecting” not retiring!

Posted by lynnemariefox on December 31, 2014

Today is my last day at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Health Sciences Library.  It’s been a terrific career full of great ideas, colleagues, learning opportunities, and fulfillment!

After 30+ years as an academic librarian and 17+ years at the University, I’m moving on.  A friend of Margaret Bandy’s says he’s redirecting not retiring and I like that philosophy, because as you all know I’m just way too young to sit and crochet doilies!

I plan to remain a member of CCML – I just renewed online.  I’ve updated my directory information, so look me up if you need to get in touch at my new email or mobile phone.

I’ve taken a part-time job with, a biomedical search engine.  I’ll be doing training, promotion, and product improvement for them.  I start January 26th, after a short break.  I’ll be in their booth at the MLA meeting in Austin TX in May, so look for me there!

Lynne M. Fox, Librarian

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Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT for short!)

Posted by dabbey on December 8, 2014

How do you know if your patient will understand and follow their instructions? A lot of patient handouts might give great information, but are essentially useless if your patient doesn’t act upon that information. There are numerous tools for evaluating reading level and organization of information. These can be great for gaging if your patient will understand, but they don’t tell you if your patient can take action.

Welcome PEMAT! The Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT) from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is a way to evaluate a patient handout or audio/visual material for its understandability and its actionability. This tool is a step-by-step evaluation with 26 items to check for and assess as a simple “yes” or “no.” There are separate items for print vs. audio/visual.

For example, when discussing nutrition, does the material provide a tangible tool, such as a meal planner or grocery checklist? If it does, it is actionable! Your patient can immediately take action and start filling out the meal planner, or take the grocery list of healthy foods to the store that night. If the material does not, your patient might be educated on nutrition, they might academically know how to meal plan, but they haven’t actually done it or taken action upon their newly found knowledge of meal planning.

Additionally, PEMAT helps you check for actionability where other assessment tools would not. While instructions such as, “patients should take twice daily” sound clear on their surface, PEMAT can help you frame the instructions to be more actionable. “You should take one in the morning and one at night,” are clear explicit instructions. Those instructions address the reader/patient directly using the active voice, and gives them what actions to take, as well as when they should take action. The first instructions give patients instructions for what to do, but only a general idea of when. It is more actionable, and easier, for a patient when they know what to do and exactly when to do it.

But I can’t cover all 26 items from the checklist here! You can use PEMAT to assess patient education materials by going here:

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Research opportunity for librarians

Posted by lynnemariefox on November 25, 2014

This is an opportunity for librarians who want to do serious research!

The William H. Hannon Library has received a three-year grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to offer a continuing education opportunity for academic and research librarians. Each year 21 librarians will receive, at no cost to them, instruction in research design and a full year of peer/mentor support to complete a research project at their home institutions; the learning experience, travel to and from Los Angeles, CA, accommodations, and food will be supplied to Scholars free of charge. The summer Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL) workshop is supplemented with pre-Institute learning activities and a personal learning network that provides ongoing mentoring.  The workshop will be held on the campus of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.  This year’s workshop will be held on July 13-23, 2015, with arrival on campus on Sunday, July 12, and departure on Friday, July 24.

IRDL is seeking novice librarian researchers who are employed by academic libraries or research libraries outside an academic setting in the United States to participate in the Institute. Novice researchers typically may have conducted research but have not yet had a peer-reviewed article published as the primary author or had an individual presentation accepted by a peer-reviewed conference. “Novice” is defined broadly; if you feel that you would benefit from being guided throughout the entire research design process, they encourage your application. Librarians of all levels of professional experience are welcome to apply.

For more information, go to the Call for Proposals:


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Posted by richardmaxwell on November 19, 2014

Perfectly understandable annoyance with whiplash-inducing weather swings from lovely autumn warmth to arctic-like cold might be misplaced.  The cold offers an opportunity to take advantage of something we’re all tempted to do at such times…sinking into a state of torpor.  Torpor is the scientific term for vegging out or, in the animal world, hibernating (also known as aestivating to hardly any of us).  Actually hibernating is multiday torpor, but the picture of one of us horizontal on the couch being cared for and fed by a mythical willing partner remains the same, and who hasn’t imagined the joy of doing it for days on end.  Be honest.

As seems to be the case with just about any question you can imagine, there has been plenty of research into hibernation and the most recent efforts might help remove the guilt some of us feel when doing absolutely nothing for extended periods of time. This is Nobel-worthy stuff.  It comes from S. Giroud et al in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences in 2014.  The lead researchers and the relaxed garden dormice they studied are based in Vienna, which would have to be considered an acceptable place in which to achieve an extended state of torpor, broken occasionally by sightseeing. Others in Australia and France chipped in as well.

They studied young dormice born late in the year, who have less time to gorge themselves in anticipation of the coming hibernation. One group was given plenty to eat, while the other fasted on alternate days.  The latter group chose torpor as a strategy to kill time on the fasting days.  The lowered body temperature and decreased energy use during those periods have more beneficial effects than expected, including “promoting growth during early life and fattening prior to hibernation, as well as slowing ageing processes,” according to Giroud.  Now it’s best to ignore the mention of fattening and focus on “slowing ageing processes” for our purposes.

It sounds as if Giroud is as excited as he should be about a potential method to slow ageing, but of course more research will be required, or as he says: “we hope to unravel the mechanisms involved in torpor use and ageing processes in individuals facing contrasted environmental conditions during their early life.”

Further good news: there may be a drug out there on the horizon that will help you achieve a state of torpor if for some reason you can’t make yourself drop into hyper-relaxation.  In “Induction of torpor: mimicking natural metabolic suppression for biomedical applications,” in the Journal of Cell Biology in 2012, H.R. Bouma and others from the Netherlands examine “efforts to induce torpor-like states in non-hibernating species using pharmacological compounds.”

In a country where each year millions of devices are sold which allow you track your number of steps per day, your mileage, your heart rate, sleep time and quality, and just about anything else you’d care to quantify, we may be overlooking a simpler tool.

This would indicate that Joseph Heller’s character Orr in Catch-22–Yossarian’s tent matewas onto something.  It was his belief that since we all have noted that time seems to go more slowly when we are in a situation that is mind-numbingly boring (such as reading this, and you’re welcome).  In the interest of living longer, he worked very hard at staying bored.  How hard is that, really?  Look around.

A real world example of how effective torpor can be is out there in northern California.  A ride down the Avenue of the Giants will find you surrounded by massive Redwoods, many of them hundreds or even thousands of years old.  Stop the car.  Turn off the engine.  Hear anything?  Of course not.  They’re just standing there.  They don’t need to exercise or watch their diets or do much of anything except photosynthesize and drink a little. If they had televisions they would probably watch (but only public television and the news, of course). No guilt at all.

Posted in fyi, musings by maxwell | Leave a Comment »


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