Kornhauser libraries host KMLA’s first conference virtually

Kentucky Medical Library Association President Rebecca Morgan, Kornhauser clinical librarian and Tiffney Gipson, KMLA secretary and Kornhauser collections director, launched KMLA’s first conference virtually at the end of July, complete with lightning talks, presentations, and roundtable discussions. 

“Initially there was nothing planned, in fact KMLA has never had a conference,” said Gipson. “We usually just hold meetings once a quarter, we just thought it might be nice to offer the conference as an option because so many have missed out on chances to present due to COVID.”

The virtual conference had 16 attendees from various Kentucky libraries, including Kornhauser, Rowntree Medical Library, University of Kentucky, University of Pikeville, and Sullivan University.  A few UK library students were also invited to attend and present. 

Kornhauser librarians  Riley Sumner and Jessica Petrey gave presentations, and Rebecca Morgan and Mary K. Marlatt presented lightning talks and posters.

“Bekki and I worked on this with our other executive board member and former Kornhauser employee, Lauren Robinson” who is KMLA’s treasurer, said Gipson. 

Typically, Kornhauser librarians attend about 2-4 conference a year – Kentucky Library Association Joint Spring Conference, Medical Library Association Conference, Midwest Medical Library Association Conference, and maybe the American Library Association Conference. However, most were scheduled to occur after the pandemic canceled events across the globe.

“Just about all of those took place after March of this year and while some are still happening virtually, we wanted to take some initiative and create our own conference within KMLA and provide our colleagues with a chance to present and share,“ Gipson said.

The conference was recorded for KMLA members. KMLA is part of a greater, national organization, National Network of the Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region https://nnlm.gov/gmr.


Clinical Librarians: Behind the Front Lines

While the medical community grapples with the fallout from COVID-19, UofL doctors are depending upon a hidden asset to fight the virus: clinical librarians.

These invisible partners work behind the scenes make sure physicians, medical staff and students have relevant, timely information to complete their missions. Providing library support at clinical meetings, conducting literature searches, and creating online resource guides are the daily regimen for Kornhauser’s librarians.

“I simply could not function at full potential without a dedicated librarian.”

– Dr. Martin Huecker, research director for UofL’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

While clinical librarians help clinicians use verifiable best practices and evidence-based research throughout the year, they are now arguably more important than ever.

Jessica Petrey at COVID19 Outreach center

For example, Jessica Petrey, Kornhauser’s Associate Director of Clinical Services, works with UofL physicians and staff in six practice areas, including infectious diseases and emergency medicine, programs that are particularly active now. She attends weekly meetings – virtually and in person, practicing physical distancing – to help medical personnel work effectively as the pandemic rages locally. It’s all part of her ordinary job that has just become extraordinary.

“Our physicians have been deeply supportive of Petrey’s work and she is highly regarded by some world-renown experts,” said Kornhauser Director Vida Vaughn. “So many of our library personnel are invaluable to the medical community.”

In a testimonial email, Dr. Martin Huecker, research director for UofL’s Department of Emergency Medicine, says that he “simply could not function at full potential without a dedicated librarian.” In praise of Petrey, he notes “many instances of communicating via email during an actual ER shift, and receiving responses from Jessica that affected patient care.”

I rely on [Petrey’s] support for literature searches, content management related to point of care / real time clinical decision-making tools, and troubleshooting / access to those tools (clinical key, up-to-date, etc.). Emergency medicine is a specialty that relies particularly heavily on rapid availability of resources. Jessica answers emails with uncanny promptness.

Likewise, Ruth Carrico, Professor in the Infectious Diseases department, writes

The long-standing relationship the Division of Infectious Diseases has with the UofL Libraries has been one of tremendous value for our teaching, service, and research activities. Each week, Jessica Petrey, Association Director Clinical Services participates in our faculty meetings. During these meetings she provides insight and expertise in existing literature and research reports that address clinical questions as well as opportunities for additional research. As part of the COVID-19 response, Jessica worked with us to develop repositories for publications that helped us with development of new manuscripts for submission. In addition, the UofL Libraries have been instrumental in helping us maintain two peer-review journals that continue to grow in interest and impact.

“Our role is to make sure we’re facilitating access to information, sometimes in real time” said Petrey. “That is a more proactive role now with the volume of information coming out. People need a bit more help navigating it, and might not have time to ask.”

Published studies are also more readily available to the public now, as many proprietary scientific journals make COVID-19 research freely available to support a unified front against the current health crisis.

Helping clinicians and researchers stay on top of the information within a subject domain, even when it comes at a frenzied pace, is simply part of a clinical librarian’s job, says Vaughn.

“So many of our library personnel are invaluable to the medical community.”

— Kornhauser Director Vida Vaughn

“When you’re an embedded librarian no matter what the subject area – gastroenterology, family medicine or pediatrics – you have to stay on top of information. You’re always looking at the newest articles on the topic that are constantly coming out. We set alerts for research in subject areas and are pushing out evidence-based scholarship to the doctors we serve.”

After Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear suspended elective surgeries in March, all clinics and most research activity were canceled, after which Kornhauser faculty and staff saw a slight drop in requests for information. But after a few weeks, requests for assistance accelerated again.

“It started to sink in that normal is not something that’s going to happen any time soon, so they need to keep going with whatever research they can,” said Petrey. “So we’re starting to see requests picking back up again, and we’re even exceeding our normal workloads.”

After the University issued its work-from-home order, Kornhauser remained open for several weeks, but eventually closed its building to protect users and the Library’s workers, allowing personnel to work remotely. The closure hasn’t limited the Library’s instruction and service model since “nearly everything we do is online, with access to resources and collections there,” says Vaughn.

However, “the Health Sciences Campus is primarily comprised of professional students with jobs and families, and Kornhauser Library is a refuge-like study space away from home. So the library closure was something of a shock to our community,” Vaughn continued. “We are directing them to Ekstrom Library for study space, or the Student Activity Center during Intersession when Ekstrom is closed.”

Throughout the coming months as the medical community continues to grapple with the ramifications of COVID-19’s spread, Kornhauser librarians and staff will continue to serve them as always, behind the scenes, working diligently. And their work will continue to be appreciated. From Dr. Huecker’s testimonial:

I extend sincere gratitude to Jessica Petrey (along with John Chenault, Rachel Howard, and the UofL Libraries in general) for allowing me to practice efficient, evidence-based, up to date clinical emergency medicine while maintaining an active focus on scholarship.

Visit Kornhauser Library for more information.


Kornhauser Health Sciences Library Promotions: New Director and Assistant Directors

Kornhauser Health Sciences Library Clinical Librarian Vida Vaughn has assumed the role of director following the retirement of Neal Nixon, who served for 19 years as KHSL director and worked 38 years for the University Libraries.

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Vida Vaughn, new Director of Kornhauser Library

“Neal has been a tireless advocate for the library and devoted to ensuring its success,” said Vaughn. “His engaging personality made him especially adept at building mutually beneficial relationships within university and library communities and we are deeply grateful for his contributions and mentorship.”

 

As KHSL director, Vaughn’s goals include collaborating with Health Science Campus schools to improve student outcomes by leveraging new education technologies. She also hopes to develop online or digital teaching methods to expand access to evidence-based instruction.

“I am extremely proud of KHSL’s excellent service model. Working harmoniously together, our staff and faculty have gained a well-earned reputation for providing efficient, reliable and evidence-based support to the numerous populations we serve,” Vaughn said.

Additionally, Two KHSL faculty members will assume associate director positions: Tiffney A. Gipson is now Associate Director, Collections and Development, and  Jessica Petrey is Associate Director of Clinical Services.

Jessica Petrey (l) and Tiffney Gipson (r)

Formerly Head of Collections and Development, Gipson is responsible for maintaining resource collections for the library, purchasing resources (books, eBooks, databases, and journals), monitoring cost and usage stats, and negotiating contracts with vendors. She also manages the technical services department. In addition to her collection duties, she maintains the medical mobile resources and is the coordinator for KHSL’s internal marketing.

Jessica Petrey, Associate Director, Clinical Services, is responsible for providing embedded research and instruction library support to clinical departments, through both supervision of KHSL’s team of clinical and reference librarians and serving several departments directly. She also coordinates orientation programming, exhibits, and KHSL’s outreach efforts as a Partner Outreach Library with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. In addition, she also manages the KHSL LGBT Initiative and serves as the co-chair of the Libraries Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group. She supports multiple Open Access scholarly journals, published by her departments and hosted in the ThinkIR, and also serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Wellness.


Kornhauser Librarian Earns LGBT Health Competency Certificate

Ranked one of the most LGBT-friendly universities in the south, the University of Louisville provides a variety of supportive services for the LGBT community, and also training for those who serve or interact with these individuals.  One such program targets future doctors, dentists, nurses and health care workers and culminates in a LGBT Health Competency certificate.

Over the 2016-2017 academic year, Kornhauser librarian Jessica Petrey availed herself of this training, and recently earned her certificate by attending seven live and one online sessions.

The coursework aims to develop awareness and compassion for LGBT patients, and includes an overview of LGBT health; medical and legal disparities affecting LGBT patients; medical implications of prolonged cross-sex hormone therapy; how to create a welcoming environment to improve health outcomes, and other classes.

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UofL health care personnel who recently earned their LGBT Health Competency certificate. (Petrey is in the front row, third from the right, in a pink sweater.)

We caught up with Petrey to ask a few questions about her experience:

Q. How does this training augment your work as a clinical librarian?

A. Most people attending these trainings are either current or future healthcare providers, so my benefits as a librarian were a little different than the average attendee. In addition to the health information and clinical training we all received, I was able to pay attention to the kinds of questions other attendees were asking and make note of resources we could gather and make available to our patrons. It also gave me the opportunity to network with faculty and students and promote not only the electronic resource guides I have created for them as part of Kornhauser’s LGBT initiative but also my literature searching services on LGBT reference questions.

Q. What was the most difficult part of the training?

A. Stories of disparities, stigma, and discrimination are always the hardest—but perhaps most important—part of these kinds of discussions. Even for those of us who are at least somewhat aware in the abstract of statistics regarding violence, discrimination, and barriers to care, it’s entirely different and much more real hearing the personal accounts of people who have had and continue to have these experiences. The sensitivity to those experiences is so much more important in empowering attendees in providing competent care than any information a textbook could provide.

Q. What was the most surprising aspect of these sessions?  

A. I come from a very conservative area, so I was continually (and positively!) surprised at how well attended and supported each session was. It’s so great knowing that our university is working intentionally to reduce those disparities, and having buy-in from students and faculty from all four professional schools, campus offices, and the broader community is integral to that work being successful.

Q. Did you have a favorite session?

A. The variety of session structures and topics was one of the most positive aspects of the series, but my personal favorite session was the one with Dr. Koch. She is a trans woman who transitioned later in life, and was able to speak to both the technical clinical information about the transition process from a provider perspective and share her more personal experiences as a trans woman and patient. It was a privilege to listen to someone who could provide such a complete, enlightening picture of the whole process.

JessicaPetrey

Q. Biggest lesson learned?

A. Probably leaving space for people to assert their own identities, rather than making assumptions. For healthcare providers with patients in particular, maybe that means introducing yourself and mentioning your own pronouns to ask for someone else’s, asking people what an identifier means to them, providing blank space on intake forms to write in orientation and gender rather than checking boxes, mirroring a person’s own language when referring to partners and identities, or some other tangible step you can take to establish a rapport of acceptance and understanding with an individual. Even though the focus of this course was to train healthcare providers, I think curating an approach of understanding and acceptance is a skill that can and should translate to our personal lives as well.