Fellowship program selects GW medical library as a host

GW recently was designated a host institution in the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Associate Fellowship Program, which will match the Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library with an associate from the program.

“The Himmelfarb Library staff is excited about the prospect of working with an NLM associate here at GW,” said Patricia Wilson, Himmelfarb’s assistant director of outreach services.

“These are some of the best and brightest in the field of health sciences librarianship,” Wilson said. “We look forward to learning from their insights as they learn about today’s health care environment.”

Anne Linton, associate director of information services, said the fellowship program is a mutual effort because “there has to be a match between the University and the fellow.”

The move to expand NLM’s current one-year program to a two-year sequence was announced last fall. Universities nationwide were encouraged to submit proposals by Jan. 15 to become host institutions.

While the process of writing the proposal was a team effort by Himmelfarb staff members, the primary authors were Wilson, Mary Ryan, senior reference librarian, and catalog librarian Polly Khater, library officials said.

“They selected the best,” said Linton, referring to the honor with a grin on her face.

Wilson said the two-phase program the Himmelfarb team designed is unique.

“We are confident that we have designed a successful and challenging fellowship program,” Wilson said. “Time will measure just how successful we have been.”

The first phase of the program entails an extensive two-month survey which, according to the proposal, will “orient the fellow to the realities of the current healthcare environment.”

Wilson said his vision is for the fellow to “take what they have learned through the survey phase and use it in the second phase to make an impact on the University and community at large.”

The second phase of the program, which lasts 10 months, focuses on various projects of the fellow’s choosing that will enhance aspects of the University’s current resources.

“The projects have the objective of answering questions such as what kind of information is needed to support clinical care and what is the best way to deliver that information, electronically or in print,” Linton said.

Shelley Bader, associate vice president for educational resources, will act as the fellow’s preceptor, supervising projects which may include a library Web page project, developing a proposal for conversion to an electronic reserve system or an original project designed by the fellow. The fellowship begins in September 1999 and ends in August 2000.

“The NLM associate fellowship program is essentially aimed at producing leaders for our health sciences libraries nationally,” Linton said. “One of the strengths of GW’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and School of Public Health and Health Services is that these two schools work very closely together, which will give the second year NLM fellow a truly unique and valuable perspective.”

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