Date: 12/21/2011

Librarian to serve on National Committee

Community Hospital Medical Librarian Joan Zivich, MLIS, has been selected to serve on the Project Advisory Committee for the National Library of Medicine and American Academy of Pediatrics.

Community Hospital Medical Librarian Joan V. Zivich, MLIS, is one of three librarians chosen to be part of the Project Advisory Committee for the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Other recently appointed librarian members are Michele Spatz of Planetree, Inc. and Janna Lawrence of the University of Iowa Health Sciences Library.

The advisory committee was formed to improve access of public health information and use of medicine during a national crisis to better meet the needs of children.

Co-chairing the Project Advisory Committee is Sarita Chung, M.D., FAAP, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School. In the aftermath of 911, Hurricane Katrina and H1N1, Dr. Chung has published important papers on key issues of pediatric disaster preparedness, including the role of hospital preparation for disasters involving children; reunification of children separated from their parents after a disaster and school preparedness.

“In the past year alone, the U.S. has experienced numerous natural and man-made disasters (oil spills, floods, earthquakes, tornados, etc.) affecting thousands of children and their families,” according to Chung.

Following a disaster, pediatricians can be advocates for the unique needs of children, but may face challenges in distributing credible information on the ‘internet highway,’ said Chung. And while librarians possess optimal skills regarding information management and dissemination, they may not be aware of pediatric disaster preparedness and response practices, she said.

This unique collaboration will ultimately improve the capacity of both pediatricians and librarians to provide accurate health information to families in disaster situations; avoid overloading parents/guardians with information and enhance the process for sharing quality health information, she said.

A committee initiative being coordinated by the AAP and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Library of the Health Sciences is the "Disaster Outreach and Collaboration for Kids Project."

Funded by the NLM, the kids’ project has pediatricians and librarians working together to provide greater access to medicine and health information in times of emergency. Parts of the project include conducting a survey, creating new web pages and providing a summary of best practices.

Zivich, a Hammond native, has been the medical librarian at Community Hospital in Munster since 1987. She was recognized by the Hospital Library Section of the Medical Library Association as providing exemplary service in a hospital library.

She was asked to be part of the Project Advisory Committee by the (Chicago office) Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), which is part of the NLM.

She previously had served on the NN/LM/Greater Midwest Emergency Preparedness & Response Project following Hurricane Katrina, which was a committee formed to help medical librarians better prepare for disasters.

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