Yale University Awarded National Grant to Establish a Central Consumer Health Information Center at the New Haven Free Public Library

Yale University and the New Haven Free Public Library recently received a $43,885 grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine to establish a central New Haven Consumer Health Information Center at the Free Public Library.

Yale University and the New Haven Free Public Library recently received a $43,885 grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine to establish a central New Haven Consumer Health Information Center at the Free Public Library.

This collaborative project will bring accurate, current and extensive health information to the New Haven community, including traditionally underserved groups. The public library is a convenient community site and will play an essential role in the dissemination of health information with support from the Yale School of Medicine, the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library (CWML) and the Epidemiology and Public Health Library.

“The School of Medicine and the Medical and EPH libraries are proud to cooperate with the New Haven Free Public Library to make health information available to the citizens of New Haven,” said Dr. David Kessler, dean of the Yale School of Medicine. “It is important for people to be health conscious consumers and to make decisions that lead to healthy lifestyles. We are pleased to support the National Library of Medicine’s initiative to increase public awareness of and improve access to health information through the Internet. Partnerships such as this one between Yale University and New Haven Free Pubic Library help the general health of citizens.”

City Librarian James Welbourne added, “Health is a major concern of our public, many of whom have limited access to health care. With four branches, 248 service hours including Sunday hours in the downtown branch, and information specialists trained and available to help the public utilize the Consumer Health Center resources, the New Haven Free Public Library is a logical partner to be working with the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library and the Fair Haven and Hill Health Clinics to provide current health information.”

Last year, the New Haven Free Public Library answered well over 500 medical questions with 35% of the questions coming from the minority populations of New Haven. Several smaller centers will also be located at the branch libraries.

The project’s goal is to improve public access to health information and help people make informed decisions about their health care. The focus will be to increase access to electronic health resources, provide consumer health books and teach effective searching skills. An area focused on consumer health will be created at the main branch of the New Haven Free Public Library and its three branch libraries.

Four facilities will provide the institutional support: the New Haven Free Public Library, including the Fair Haven branch, the Stetson branch and the Mitchell branch libraries; the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library; the Epidemiology and Public Health Library at Yale University, and the Yale School of Medicine. The project will be staffed by the Medical Library, the Epidemiology and Public Health Library and the New Haven Free Public Library. These three partners will be involved in creating and maintaining the Consumer Health Center and the consumer health Web site, assisting in teaching classes and promoting the service and resources to the public. Library staff will also provide support and training to the community health staff at the Fair Haven Community Health Clinic and the Hill Health Center.

This public health partnership continues Yale University’s contributions to the New Haven Free Public Library as part of its community investment program. Yale University is a co-founder of the NHFPL’s neighborhood Technology Access Centers. Through this program, Yale has donated more than 100 computers for public and staff use in the libraries. In addition, on an annual basis, Yale makes available to the library free copies of all titles published by the Yale University Press.

The URL for New Haven Free Public Libraries is:
http://www.nhfpl.lib.ct.us/

The URL for the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library is:
http://www.info.med.yale.edu/library

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