UB Librarians to Link 700 Public-Health Workers In Region to National Health-Information Network

Release Date: October 9, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Health Sciences Library has received a $50,000 information-access project grant from the National Institutes of Health and other federal funding agencies. It will be used to help more than 700 public-health professionals in rural upstate communities hook up to the Internet and acquire access to a broad range of health information now available online through the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and its affiliated medical libraries.

The UB project will serve the 17 counties of Western and Central New York, their county health departments and the regional office of the state Department of Health.

The grant was awarded through a program called "Partners in Information Access" funded by the NLM and its National Network of Libraries of Medicine, of which the UB Health Sciences Library is a member. Other funding agencies are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

Sharon A. Gray, UB project director, senior assistant librarian and head of reference and education services for the UB Health Sciences Library, said the program is designed to increase awareness of the services offered by the agencies involved.

"UB librarians," she said, "will use our expertise to organize Internet resources on public health and to teach health-department staff to search these sources effectively."

She said the UB project has targeted more than 700 public-health professionals for training though workshops, including epidemiologists, physicians, nurses, dentists, social workers, sanitarians and administrators. A Web site linking various information sites will be developed, Gray said, and county health department program managers, county health commissioners and the Western New York Public Health Coalition will collaborate on the project.

NLM Director Donald A. B. Lindberg said the projects funded will make it possible for public-health agencies to address a variety of community health problems and special populations.

They then will be able to respond more effectively to disease outbreaks and environmental health risks that affect the health and well-being of entire communities, he said.

The UB project was designed by Gray; Maurizio Trevisan, professor and chair of the UB Department of Social and Preventive Medicine; Robert O'Shea, emeritus professor of social and preventive medicine, and two of the department's adjunct professors, Erie County Health Commissioner Arnold Lubin and Jacques Berlin of the state health department.

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