VCU Libraries hosts medical librarians meeting in Richmond
The annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association (MAC/MLA) was convened at the Omni Hotel in downtown Richmond from October 23-25, 2022. This was the eighth time MAC/MLA has met in Richmond during the past 70 years. This was the first in-person meeting for MAC/MLA since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Program co-chairs from VCU Libraries, Emily Hurst, deputy director and head of the Research and Education Department at the Health Sciences Library, and Steve Barkeley, head, health sciences Operations, developed programming with the theme “Choose Your Adventure” that attracted 58 attendees to the meeting. Hurst and Barkely were supported by a programming committee of 22 members who assisted with numerous tasks, including soliciting sponsor support, continuing education programs and scholarly content; compiling information about local attractions; and promoting the meeting. Notably, Karen Gau, health sciences collections librarian, garnered financial support from 18 sponsoring organizations. Meeting highlights included:
Sunday, October 23
- Networking: New MAC/MLA members and first-time conference attendees enjoyed a special pre-meeting reception. All attendees enjoyed the opening dinner reception with jazz music by Richmond-based Michael Hawkins and the Brotherhood.
Monday, October 24
- Opening keynote: The epidemiology branch chief of the National Park Services’ Office of Public Health and a US Public Health Service Officer, Captain Maria Said, M.D., M.H.S., presented “Health, Information, and the National Park Service.” Said shared how the National Park Services implements the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention’s One Health perspective that optimal health is achieved through recognizing the connections among wildlife, humans, and the environment that interact to influence health.
- Panel discussion on LGBTQIA+ health: Sponsored by the MAC/MLA Diversity and Inclusion committee, this session provided an opportunity for caregivers from different background to share their perspectives and experiences as well as information on a variety of resources relevant to LGBTQIA+ health for librarians such as Fenway Health and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, both of which can be found on VCU Libraries’ resource guide for LGBTQIA+ Health. The session was moderated by April Wright, MLS, and panel participants included:
- Katie Bekkeli, Psy. D, L.C.P., A.B.P.P., from University Counseling Services at VCU. Katie is a licensed clinical psychologist focused on the mental health of college students, with a passion for counseling students identifying as LGBTQIA+ and providing Safe Zone training to faculty and staff,
- Amy Coffin, a third year medical student at VCU and a leader of VCU’s chapter of Medicine with Pride
- Steve Crossman, M.D., a white, cis-gender, gay male family physician practicing in Richmond, and
- Ted Heck, B.A., M.S., a Transgender Health Services Specialist in the Division of Disease Prevention at the Virginia Department of Health who provides training and technical assistance to providers on transgender health topics.
- Contributed content: Seven lightning talks and 11 posters included presentations from VCU Libraries’ Roy Brown, John Cyrus, Jackson Hoch, and Emily Hurst on topics including: interim library leadership roles during the pandemic, health sciences library participation in the university’s Common Book Program, development and implementing a library internship program, and the process of reimagining reports to highlight library services utilization and resources available to health sciences schools.
- Networking: VCU Libraries’ Erica Brody led a speed-dating style networking session that allowed attendees to get (re)acquainted following a three-year period without an in-person meeting.
Tuesday, October 25
- MAC business meeting: A hybrid meeting provided an opportunity to express gratitude for outgoing officers and a warm welcome to incoming MAC/MLA officers. The recipients of the MAC/MLA Research and Assessment grant and the Professional Excellence by a Health Sciences Librarian award were also recognized.
- MLA update: Former head of the VCU Libraries Research and Education Department, and current Director of Libraries for the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston Shannon Jones, M.L.S., M.Ed., AHIP, returned to Richmond in her role as MLA President. She updated attendees on MLA caucus activities, wellness programming, and next year’s joint meeting with the Special Library Association in Detroit, Michigan.
- Closing keynote: Marcie S Wright, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor in VCU’s Department of Health Behavior and Policy and associate director of the VCU Center on Health Disparities highlighted the ways libraries can serve as a “meso” or mid-level resource in the ecology of community-engaged work to leverage social determinants of health to eliminate health disparities.
- Raffle for MAC.MLA scholarship fund: Seventeen winners received prizes in a raffle that raised more than $550 for the MAC/MLA scholarship fund.