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PH/HA News
Public Health/Health Administration Section Newsletter
Spring 2002Kristine M. Alpi, Editor


PH/HA Updates and Projects
* From the Editor
* From the Chair
* PH/HA @ MLA2002
* Congratulations to the New Officers
* Electronic Journal Club: Evidence Based Public Health
* Member News
Columns (Edited by Kathy Kerdolff, Assistant Editor
* CDC Column: New CDC Information Center Facility is Underway
* GIS Column: Interview with a GIS Student--GIS Uses, Challenges & Library Relationship
* Grey Literature Column: Sources of Grey Literature: Federal Health Information Centers and Clearinghouses
Contributed Articles
* In the Literature
* Managing Your Professional Life with a Personal Digital Assistant: Part 3
New Resources
* Aging Activities: Trends in Health and Aging
* America's Literacy Directory
* American Public Human Services Association
* A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at US Colleges
* CDC Reports
* Chemical Diversion and Synthetic Drug Manufacture Report
* Congress Online: Assessing and Improving Capitol Hill websites
* Data Development Initiatives for Research on Food Assistance and Nutrition Programs
* Data Skills Online at UNC
* Delivering on the Promise: Preliminary Report
* Directory of Development Organizations 2002
* Directory of Training Programs in Health Services and Health Policy Research
* Distance Education
* Documenting Public Health Leadership Video Project
* ECOTOX Database System
* Electronic Delivery of Government Reports via NTIS
* Finding Court Opinions On The Web
* Focus on Basics: Health Literacy
* Focus on Tuberculosis: Ancient Enemy, Present Threat
* Free GIS On-line Support
* GIS Files
* Guide to Community Preventive Services: Systematic Reviews and Evidence-Based Recommendations
* Health Passport Project
* Health Services & Sciences Research Resources
* Information for Health
* Injury Maps
* Legacy Tobacco Documents Library
* Margaret Sanger Papers Project
* Medicare: Nursing Home Compare
* Mesothelioma Information: The Asbestos Cancer Resource
* National Assessment of Adult Literacy
* National Children's Study
* NIH Draft Statement on Sharing Research Data
* Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
* Obesity and Genetics: A Public Health Perspective
* Parasites and Parasitological Resources
* Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council White Papers
* PERISTATS: Interactive web-based perinatal data resource
* Population Profile of the United States: 2000
* Principles for Managing Contaminated Sediment Risks
* Public Health GIS Users
* Scientists & Non-Profits' Ties to Industry
* Southeast Public Health Training Center Interactive Database
* State Resource Center
* Statistical Abstract of the United States 2001 is Available
* Surgeon General Reports on the Web
* Technology Watch! "We Know Our Audience, Now What?
* Toxicological Profile Information Sheet
* UCLA publishes Encyclopedia of Public Health
* UIC launches Online MPH in Public Health Informatics
* Understanding the Fundamentals of Epidemiology
* Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health
* VirOligo Compilation Lab

PH/HA Updates and Projects

From the Editor

Hi everyone. Welcome to the much delayed Spring issue of the PH/HA Newsletter! Thanks to all the contributers for this issue. This issue is on a white background due to problems with contrast on the blue background. We will be extending the summer issue deadline to give a little more time between issues. Hope to see you all at MLA!

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From the Chair

Here are the results of some Section Council votes: The motion for a name change for the Clinical Librarians SIG to the Clinical Librarians and Evidence-based Health Care SIG has been approved (14 approved-4 did not approve) by Council. The motion to waive Section website hosting fees has been approved by Council (18 approved-2 did not approve) and will now be taken to the winter Board meeting for a vote.

We are involved in some great programs at the upcoming conference this year. Below is the schedule for PH/HA programming at MLA2002. We hope to see you at the conference, particularly at the business meeting and the More to Life than MLA session. The business meeting is a great opportunity to see many other PH/HA members, and to see what is going on in the section. You attendance at the More to Life than MLA session will help ensure a good turnout for what looks to be a great session.

If you are doing anything with PDAs or other digital devices, I would also invite you come by the Digital Devices To Go Roundtable that we are co-sponsoring, or to serve as one of our conversation starters at the event. We envision that we'd open with brief introductions of resource folks/discussion facilitators and then have tables that people could congregate at to talk about various topics and to share ideas. Very informal and fun. If you are interested, please let me know.

See you all at the conference.

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PH/HA @ MLA2002

Digital Devices To Go Roundtable
SUN, 5/19/02, 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Sponsor: Educational Media and Technologies Section
Co-Sponsor: PublicHealth/Health Administration Section and Internet SIG
Description: Participate in a lively and informal discussion of issues currently facing health sciences librarians. Possible topic tables include wireless technology, personal digital assistants (PDAs), infrared synching stations, and other handheld devices. This is an opportunity to meet colleagues who are dealing with these issues, share experiences and accomplishments, and enjoy hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.

Diversity, Demographics, and Disparities in Accessing and Delivering Health Information and Health Care: Part I
SUN, 5/19/02, 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Sponsor: Chiropractic Libraries Section
Co-Sponsors: Relevant Issues, Consumer and Patient Health Information, Public Health/Health Administration Sections and Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Mental Health, Osteopathic, African American, and Outreach SIGS
Description: Interest in the use of alternative and complementary therapies (broadly defined to include everything from herbals to touch therapies to indigenous health care systems) has grown from the trendy to the scientific. What is less clear is whether consumer access to information about or access to these therapies, is limited by age, gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, geography, or economic status. Papers should address issues of diversity and demographics as they relate to these "other" therapies.

AIDS in Africa
MON, 5/20/02, 10:30AM - 12:00PM
Sponsor: International Cooperation Section
Co-Sponsors: Public Health/Health Administration, Medical Library Education Sections, and African American SIG
The spreading of HIV/AIDS in Africa greatly limits the continent's human, social, and economic development. This session will discuss ways to combat the epidemic, such as strategic plans, international partnerships, financial and technical support, care for Africans living with AIDS, community education on HIV, information access, and librarians' roles in fighting HIV/AIDS.

Diversity, Demographics, and Disparities in Accessing and Delivering Health Information and Health Care: Part II
MON, 5/20/02, 10:30AM - 12:00PM
Sponsor: Chiropractic Libraries Section
Co-Sponsors: Relevant Issues, Consumer and Patient Health Information and Public Health/Health Administration Sections and Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Mental Health, Osteopathic, African American, and Outreach SIGS
Description: The ability to access quality health care may be viewed as a "health parity" issue. Particularly in the areas of mental health, chronic illness, HIV, diseases that affect specific populations, and for the underserved and underinsured, the lack of parity exacts social, economic, and personal costs. In some cases, managed care has only added to this disparity. Papers should examine ways that obstacles to parity are being addressed.

PH/HA Business Meeting
TUE, 5/21/02, 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Sponsor: this is the PH/HA business meeting, PH/HA is sponsoring it
Description: Section business, news, information, gossip, and general mayhem, as well as discussion of the core journal project.

More To Life Than MLA: Outreach to other professional associations
WED, 5/22/02, 9:00AM - 10:30AM
Sponsor: Public Health/Health Administration Section
Co-Sponsor: Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section
Description: This session will feature reports on outreach to other professional associations, particularly those of a library or information center's primary clientele. Topics will also include reports of teaching continuing education or the benefits and knowledge gained from serving on committees for groups beyond typical library-related associations.

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Congratulations to the Newly Elected PH/HA Officers

Marie Ascher is the new Chair-Elect and Kathy Kerdolff is the new Secretary/Treasurer. Thank you to all who participated in the elections, both those that were willing to serve and those that voted. We had substantial interest in elections this year.

Reported by Will Olmstadt, PH/HA Chair-Elect

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New Electronic Journal Club: Evidence Based Public Health

PH/HA will be sponsoring an electronic journal club on the topic of Evidence Based Public Health. We'll be looking for some partnering sections. Earn 7.5 Academy points/CE credits by reading and discussing 6-12 articles. The proposed bibliography will be available on the web and announced to the PH/HA list after MLA. The club will begin in June and run through November. Those interested in participating should contact Kristine Alpi at by May 25.

MLA's Journal Club Guidelines are available at

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Member News

Stephanie Normann, after more than thirty years as Library Director and a brief stint as Administrator for Information Services at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, has opted for the busy life of retirement. She will be working with community based organizations in Houston, some of which are part of the Houston AIDS Information Link (HAIL), in an effort to help their clients and staff improve their skills and success in finding health information on the Internet. Part time work is a possiblity and some travel is a certainty. Stephanie also continues as an active member of PH/HA and is coordinating the Core Journals Project.

New contact information: Stephanie L. Normann, 3815 Sun Valley, Houston, TX 77025-4138, 713-666-2540,

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CDC Column: New CDC Information Center Facility is Underway

Submitted by Jocelyn Rankin, CDC Information Center

Groundbreaking for a new CDC Global Communications and Training Facility is scheduled for this fall (2002), with building completion scheduled for early 2005. Currently, the Information Center occupies vintage “library” space on the Roybal campus in Atlanta, GA. But, not for long!

The Global Communications and Training Facility will serve as the CDC's flagship Public Health building. It will provide both a safe and secure environment and a Public Health “knowledge” facility open to the public. The CDC's broad mission of outreach and collaboration with partners throughout the nation and world will be reflected. The building is designed to be a state-of-the-art training facility conducive to information exchange among the public health community, as well as a technological center to facilitate communication among CDC employees around the globe from Anchorage to Zimbabwe.

CDC Centers/Programs to be housed in the new facility are:

The new CDC Information Center is planned as a knowledge center and learning environment to support both internal and external audiences. Features will include:

The design of the new CDC Information Center emphasizes CDC's desire to develop a comprehensive public health resource with growing digital collections and services. For further information, contact Jocelyn Rankin at

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GIS Column: Interview with a GIS Student--GIS Uses, Challenges & Library Relationship

Contributed by Will Olmstadt, Medical Sciences Library, Texas A&M University (

This month's GIS column features an interview with a Texas A&M University student. J.D. McRae is an A&M senior, who will receive his B.S. in geography in May 2002. In the fall of 2001, J.D. completed Thematic Cartography (GEOG 332), a required course. The course covered using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to create maps. Most assignments were completed using ArcView®, GIS desktop mapping software. J.D. was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to explain the educational aspects of GIS, as well as some of the challenges in learning how to use the GIS software to create maps. He also provides insight into the relationship between GIS users and library resources/services.

Tell me about the health-related assignment you completed for GEOG 332.
I chose to map the 25 most obese cities in the United States using ArcView. Since this information was not already part of the ArcView dataset, I had to search for it. I used Google to find a list of the most obese cities in 2001, and input that data in Excel. Then I imported it into ArcView to create the map.

What was the most challenging part of learning GIS last semester?
Like most of my classmates, I had never been exposed to GIS in the other courses for our major. I think there are two big challenges. First, most of us approached ArcView and other GIS products as though they were Microsoft Office products - user-friendly and powerful. GIS software is powerful, but not especially user-friendly, and it's intimidating at first. Second, GIS software is resource-intensive, and our computers regularly crashed while completing assignments. The intimidation and the amount of troubleshooting we had to do were the two biggest challenges in learning GIS last year.

Do you perceive any limitations for GIS after completing your course?
Not really. Professional cartographers who use GIS can create a mind-boggling array of maps for almost any dataset you can imagine. However, I certainly think GIS software has room for improvement, particularly in their capacity for displaying graphics.

Would it benefit you if libraries supported GIS teaching and learning? What about by providing data repositories or dedicated GIS workstations?
I think any institution that wants to support GIS would further professional development in geography. It would encourage students to join the field. However, cartography is not necessarily something one sits down and does for fun, so there would probably be ongoing challenges in promoting such services.

One of the biggest problems last semester was the mysterious and constant corruption of datasets mounted on public servers in the geography computer lab. If a library could guarantee us fewer errors like these and provide a user-friendlier environment in which to work, I think it would be an inviting environment in which to learn. Predetermined datasets would be nice, especially if they were protected from corruption, and in a variety of formats. Without question, the most time-consuming part of starting a GIS project or completing an assignment is the data collection, and if a library could act as a data repository without the user having to do a lot of initial work, it would be great.

[Editor note: For more on GIS check out David Dorman's article "GIS Provides a New Way of Seeing Service Areas" in the February 2002 issue of American Libraries on page 62. It discusses LibraryDecision, a GIS application designed explicitly for libraries from Civil Technologies [].

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Grey Literature Column: Sources of Grey Literature: Federal Health Information Centers and Clearinghouses

Contributed by Marie Ascher, New York Medical College (

One of the most frequently asked questions I've heard over the years I've been working closely with the grey literature in health policy and public health has been, "Where do you find this stuff?" Generally, there is no one simple answer to that. Anyone who collects grey literature knows, you find it wherever you can. Most often you have to go directly to the source, and you have to know where to go. Over the next years, we will dedicate several columns to identifying some of these sources of grey literature, including profiling some individual organizations. First up is this column on federal health information centers and clearinghouses where one might go to find health publications.

What's a clearinghouse? Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines a clearinghouse in its second definition as “a central agency for the collection, classification, and distribution especially of information.” As we know, there is no one source that does this as well as we might like, no one clearinghouse that captures all of the information available on a topic.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) goes a long way by maintaining the Federal Health Information Centers and Clearinghouses site at This site links to many governmental health information clearinghouses and websites where consumers and researchers alike might go for health information. Some of these sites that have been found to be particularly useful include:

And so many more on all aspects of health and health care. One notable clearinghouse which is missing from the Federal Health Information Centers and Clearinghouses list is probably one of the most useful and largest is the HRSA Information Center ( which includes publications from the National Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Bureau of Primary Health Care and other HRSA agencies.

Federal Health Information Centers and Clearinghouses is a tremendously useful site which could be improved by one basic (but extremely difficult) improvement. It would be extremely useful and time-saving if there was a way to search across the publications available through all of the various clearinghouses, especially since most of them are products of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As it is, you must go into each clearinghouse separately. Which of course reminds me of my previous column on collaboration. But I digress.

Announcement: I am no longer at The New York Academy of Medicine. In leaving NYAM, I have passed on the editorship of the Grey Literature Report and the collaboration with NLM, to my worthy colleagues Lea Myohanen and Elizabeth Taylor. I can now be reached at New York Medical College at If you have suggestions for future columns or would like to guest edit a column, please feel free to contact me.

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Contibuted Articles

In the Literature

Schulte PA. Approaches to sharing occupational safety and health information on a global scale. Am J Ind Med. 2002 Mar;41(3):210-6. This paper comes from the Education and Information Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read the abstract online.

Extramurally Speaking: Earth Science Information for Protecting Public Health. Environ Health Perspect 2001 Dec;109(12):601. Read the full text online.

Special issue (part II) on digital information and tools. Toxicology. 2002 Apr 25;173(1-2) Issue Table of Contents.

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Managing Your Professional Life with a Personal Digital Assistant: A Look at Some Productivity Applications. Part III.

Contributed by Laura Larsson, NLM Informatics Fellow, Oregon Health & Sciences University (

In this third part, we continue the search for productivity-increasing software tools that can be used on Palm PDAs. Here described is software that will help you author your own dictionary, encyclopedia or other reference tool, write an article, reconcile the edited version with MS Word (or print it out from your handheld), review a PowerPoint presentation, create a spreadsheet and analyze the data, and capture survey data. We will cover currently available keyboards so that you can type instead of using graffiti [digital shorthand] or the onboard keyboard to enter information, as well as an application that makes it easy to hotsync just one application or PDB file onto your device instead of refreshing all the data on your device. In the sidebar of this article, see links to Palm applications for health educators and public health veterinarians.

Go on to the full text of this article [Ed note: Link no longer active, 3/17/04].

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New Resources

Aging Activities: Trends in Health and Aging

The National Center for Health Statistics has released the Data Warehouse on Trends in Health and Aging. The warehouse shows trends in health-related behaviors, health status, health care utilization, and health care costs of the older population.

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America's Literacy Directory

A service of the National Institute for Literacy and Partners, America's Literacy Directory is an online national database of literacy programs that connects employers, learners, volunteers, social service providers, and others to current information about literacy programs in all 50 states and US territories. The site offers program information for children, people with learning disabilities, and those users interested in the GED and other high school programs, as well as students who need help with reading, writing, and math. In addition, the site also lists programs for those interested in learning English as a second language. Users merely enter their zip code, city, and state; and the site will list the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of program facilities within 5 to 100 miles of your location. [From the Scout Report]

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American Public Human Services Association

The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), a nonprofit, bipartisan organization, represents fifty state human services administrators, hundreds of local administrators, and thousands of human services professionals. Their mission is "to develop, promote, and implement public human services policies that improve the health and well-being of families, children, and adults." Their site offers not only valuable human services related information, like relevant links and policy resolutions, but also papers that discuss state perspectives, establish the background of specific policy issues, and present APHSA's policy stances. Even though nearly all information deals mostly with APHSA and their viewpoints, researchers and users interested in human services policy will find the site worthwhile. [From the Scout Report]

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A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at US Colleges

The Task Force of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has released this report highlighting and responding to the growing epidemic of college drinking. Unfortunately, in recent years, attention to college drinking has focused on the consequences of excessive drinking rather than the drinking itself. Conversely, this report brings attention to the problem of college drinking and also provides suggestions and recommended strategies to combat this problem. According to the report, "at least 1,400 college student deaths a year are linked to alcohol." Furthermore, students who drink excessively have "higher rates of injuries, assaults, academic problems, arrests, vandalism, and other health and social problems, compared with their non-drinking counterparts." As the report reveals, this is not just a student problem, and it requires more than a student-level solution. Solutions involve everyone within the campus and local communities, including campus administrators, professors, health educators, policy makers, and parents. [From the Scout Report]

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CDC Reports

Recent Trends in Mortality Rates for Four Major Cancers, by Sex and Race/Ethnicity -- United States, 1990-1998

Tobacco Control State Highlights 2002: Impact and Opportunity

Trends in Racial and Ethnic-Specific Rates for the Health Status Indicators: United States, 1990-1998

Births: Final Data for 2000

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Chemical Diversion and Synthetic Drug Manufacture Report

The Chemical Diversion and Synthetic Drug Manufacture Report traces the production, dispersal, and consumption routes of illegal synthetic drugs manufactured through the acquisition of legal "precursor" chemicals and compounds. The principal focus of the study is tracking efforts put in place by local, national, and international law enforcement agencies. Other highlights of the report outline international treaties signed by the US and other countries, as well as the success of such treaties and their impact on those involved in illegal drug production and distribution. Written from the US perspective, the report focuses principally on drug routes leading to rather than from the United States. Another interesting aspect of the report is its historical presentation of the major synthetic drugs prevalent today and their most common consumption venues and markets. [From the Scout Report]

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Congress Online: Assessing and Improving Capitol Hill Websites

The Congress Online Project is a two-year project to study Congress' use of the Internet and to help congressional offices use Internet technologies to inform and communicate with constituents, reporters, and the engaged public more effectively. According to the report, there is a gap between what Web audiences want and what most Capitol Hill offices are providing on their websites. Instead of providing basic legislative information such as position statements, rationales for key votes, status of pending legislation, and educational material about Congress, offices are using websites primarily as promotional tools - posting press releases, descriptions of the member's accomplishments, and photos of the members at events. As a result, this report provides substantial data on the five essential building blocks of an effective website --audience, content, interactivity, usability, and innovations. This information is useful not only for Congressional sites but also for any website in general. Therefore, anyone interested in building his/her own website should definitely investigate further. [From the Scout Report]

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Data Development Initiatives for Research on Food Assistance and Nutrition Programs, Phase I: Ten Potential Data Initiatives

The Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service report on Data Development Initiatives issues the findings of a study commissioned to establish and/or improve methods of data collection used to assess the effectiveness of government-sponsored food assistance programs like the Food Stamp and WIC programs (among others). Resources considered by the study are an array of new technologies (e.g., GIS and POS monitors) and older ones that could be linked to already existing databases of food assistance recipients (e.g., linking WIC and food stamp databases to Medicaid and vital statistics logs to ensure benefits remain in the hands of their intended recipients). [From the Scout Report]

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Data Skills Online at UNC

Now in its second year, the Data Skills Online project in the Department of Maternal and Child Health in the School of Public Health, UNC, has updated its website. They have upgraded their Web Course Tools (WebCT or Tool) enhancing the site's capacity to provide web accessibility for persons with disabilities. A simplified log-in and access, and 11 self-instructional distance learning tools are available to assist MCH professionals with day-to-day tasks. WebCTs take an average of three hours each to complete, and can be accessed from any Internet connection. A "resume" function allows users to return to a Tool at any time.

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Delivering on the Promise: Preliminary Report of Federal Agencies' Actions to Eliminate Barriers and Promote Community Integration

As one of his first acts in office, President George W. Bush unveiled the New Freedom Initiative to carry out his plan to tear down remaining barriers to equality for the "54 million Americans with disabilities." The President then acted on this plan with Executive Order 13217: Community-Based Alternatives for Individuals with Disabilities, asking federal agencies to work together to identify and address barriers to community integration. As a result, this status report was submitted to the President by Tommy G. Thompson, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in an effort to meet the charge of "delivering on the promise." According to Thompson, this report "establishes a blueprint for action that will make a measurable impact on the lives of people with disabilities as they work to secure appropriate health care, housing, transportation, employment, education and other opportunities in their communities." [From the Scout Report]

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Directory of Development Organizations 2002

The Directory of Development Organizations lists 25,000 contacts of organizations that offer "(non-) financial support, market access, information and advice to the enterprise and poverty-reducing sectors in low-income countries." Contact details include the organization's mail and street address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail and Web page address (if available). This Directory is intended to provide a comprehensive source of reference for development practitioners, researchers, donor employees, and policy makers who are interested in private sector development and poverty alleviation, particularly in low-income countries. From the Scout Report]

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Directory of Training Programs in Health Services and Health Policy Research [Ed. note: Updated link 3/17/04]

The Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy has developed a Directory of Training Programs in Health Services and Health Policy Research. This Directory responds to a growing interest in health services research and health policy research and increasing demand for information about Post Baccalaureate certificates, Master's programs, Doctoral programs, and Postdoctoral programs in these fields. It has been expanded to include health policy research programs and the health policy tracks in public policy programs as well as the core health services research programs included in our two earlier editions-1997 and 1992. Additionally, when possible, we have included more descriptive information about the programs. Currently, we have 110 programs profiled. The online, searchable edition is accessible to all; the print Directory can be purchased ($35 for members/$50 for nonmembers).

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Distance Education

Many Schools of Public Health now offer degree programs at a distance and all schools use technologies to provide education and training to students and other members of the public health workforce. This site is an update on several of the distance learning projects in which ASPH is currently involved. See also the Technology Watch which is the bi-monthly publication from the Distance Education section of ASPH.

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Documenting Public Health Leadership Video Project

One new project that Association of Schools of Public Health is proud to announce is a collection of videos documenting the life of an accomplished public health leader. Through this project, funded through the ASPH/HRSA cooperative agreement, each of five SPHs (Columbia, JUH, Michigan, Minnesota, and UT-Houston) have developed and produced a brief video documenting the life of an accomplished public health academician or senior faculty-one who might be considered a "leader" in public health. These videos may become available through

Each video focuses on the challenges, accomplishments, lessons learned and contributions to public health of one of these leaders in public health-with the intent of highlighting this person as a role model who will be inspirational to those considering entering the field of public health as a career. The five videos form an initial set of videohistories that can be used to assist with student recruitment and retention in public health, in order to ensure that people going into this field will continue to improve in quality and increase in numbers.

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ECOTOX Database System

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides this database of chemical toxicity. Three individual EPA databases are combined to provide information on chemical-specific toxicity values for aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. Users can search for research reports by chemical name, species name, or environmental effect. The site has informative help files and browse features. This website is useful for evaluating industrial chemicals or for environmental assessment research. [From the Scout Report]

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Electronic Delivery of Government Reports via NTIS

Coming early 2002, NTIS' updated website will provide electronic access to hundreds of thousands of documents. NTIS is redesigning its website to:

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Finding Court Opinions On The Web

Presented by the National Law Journal, this resource is a boon to anyone who has ever rummaged around in search of information on specific litigation and/or legal decisions. Adapted from The Best and Worst Legal Sites on the Web, a book written by Robert J. Ambrogi, the site is a great one-stop resource for those requiring direct access to credible information now. Constructed logically and solidly, the site serves as a gateway to resources on Supreme, circuit, and district court links, as well as presents courts and cases on a state-by-state basis. For legal students, scholars, jurists and other law enthusiasts, the page also highlights top decisions and major monetary judgments for the year in progress. Beyond that, the site also notes cases to watch, as well as recent court decisions and their potential impact on legal practice and legislation. [From the Scout Report]

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Focus on Basics: Health Literacy

Focus on Basics is the quarterly publication of the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL). Each issue focuses on a specific topic. The February 02 Issue C focuses on Health Literacy.

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Focus On Tuberculosis: Ancient Enemy, Present Threat

With March 24, 2002, as World Tuberculosis Day, this website from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is focused on the fight against this deadly infection. About 6,000 people worldwide die each day from tuberculosis, many in less developed countries. This website details the disease throughout history, the present threat, and medical research focused on various strategies for fighting tuberculosis. [From the Scout Report]

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Free GIS On-line Support

Free GIS On-line Support, administered by the New York State Office For Technology and sponsored by the New York State GIS Coordination Program is a web-based application intended to provide support for both general GIS questions and specific questions regarding the technical use of GIS software products. Visitors can search the on-line Knowledge Base ( to view previously submitted questions and answers. The "Frequently Asked Questions" are grouped by product.

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The GIS Files

The GIS Files, operated by Britain's national mapping agency, is a site that gives a good introduction to the basic concepts of GIS. A sequence of seven tutorials explain how the technology came about and how it works. The last chapter provides insight into what might be possible in the future. After looking over the GIS Files, readers should have a reasonable understanding of computer mapping processes and its benefits. [From the Scout Report]
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Guide to Community Preventive Services: Systematic Reviews and Evidence-Based Recommendations

The Task Force on Community Preventive Services has just completed its systematic reviews of early childhood development interventions and family housing interventions. The reviews focus on an assessment of the effectiveness of interventions in addressing sociocultural factors that influence overall health (

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The Health Passport Project: Assessment and Recommendations

The Health Passport Project: Assessment and Recommendations executive summary and final report from December 2001 provides information on statewide implementation and guidance to other states that are considering implementing similar programs.

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Health Services and Sciences Research Resources

Health Services and Sciences Research Resources is a searchable database of information about research datasets and instruments/indices created by the National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology. Users may examine and compare characteristics of some of the resources employed in Health Services Research, and the Behavioral and Social Sciences. The database includes brief descriptions of research resources and links to PubMed. It also includes URLs of providers for additional information or access to the resources.

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Information for Health: A Strategy for Building the National Health Information Infrastructure

The report Information for Health: A Strategy for Building the National Health Information Infrastructure is now available. It provides recommendations from the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, which advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services on health information policy, is the result of extensive input from individuals and organizations around the country. Recent events have underscored the need for an effective health information infrastructure linking the public, healthcare providers, and public health professionals. This report is intended to stimulate collaborative action toward that goal.

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Injury Maps

To help researchers in injury prevention efforts, CDC's NCIPC has released a new interactive mapping system called Injury Maps. It helps identify and communicate the impact of injury deaths by county, state, region, or the entire US. The system provides the geographic distribution of injury-related mortality rates and allows you to use the mortality rates to form maps. You can create and print county-level and state-level maps of age-adjusted injury mortality rates for the entire nation or individual states. [From the ASPH Friday Letter]

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Legacy Tobacco Documents Library

The University of California, San Francisco Library and the American Legacy Foundation recently released the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (LTDL), a collection of more than 20 million previously private documents from tobacco industry files. Ranging from approximately the 1950s to recent years, LTDL offers searching, viewing, and downloading of documents, covering projects central to the tobacco industry like marketing, research and development, cigarette analysis and design, as well as industry efforts to establish business in developing countries. Within the next 18 months, more documents will be added to the already extensive collection. Currently, viewers may perform simple or advanced searches; view documents in PDF, TIFF or a page-by-page option to view GIF images within the browser. [From the Scout Report]

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Margaret Sanger Papers Project

The Margaret Sanger Papers Project is a historical editing project sponsored by the Department of History at New York University. The Project was formed in 1985 to "locate, arrange, edit, research, and publish" the papers of Margaret Sanger. This user-friendly site includes a biographical sketch, selected microfilm and electronic editions of her letters and writings, the project's newsletter, photos courtesy of the Sophia Smith Collection, available project internships, and links to related sites. It is an excellent place to start for research and/or general information on the founder of the birth control movement. [From the Scout Report]

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Medicare: Nursing Home Compare

Allowing users to compare and contrast nursing homes based on a wide range of information, this site provides a number of useful (and often enlightening) tools. After choosing a state, county, or zip code, a list of matching nursing homes are displayed for review. Check boxes allow for very narrow or wide comparisons of everything from behavior problems of residents to problems reported in the last state inspection. Also of great help are tools like the Nursing Home Checklist, which provides a four-page printable checklist for use in evaluating and comparing nursing homes. [From the Scout Report]

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Mesothelioma Information: The Asbestos Cancer Resource

This website is a comprehensive resource on mesothelioma, usually caused by exposure to asbestos. The site addresses what mesothelioma is, the various types of mesothelioma, and the risk factors. A brief overview of asbestos and some types of workers who are often exposed to it is also included. Other information includes medical treatment options, frequently asked questions about legal issues surrounding asbestos cancer, and links to additional resources. This site does not provide in-depth information on any of the topics addressed; rather, it serves as a broad overview of asbestos cancer. [From the Scout Report]

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National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) site includes information about findings from the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey. NAAL will be administered beginning next winter. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. The design, item development, analysis, and reporting components is being conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). NAAL will include a block of assessment items that will enable a national health literacy score to be reported for the first time. The background questionnaire will also include questions related to health status, insurance status, and prevention activities.

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The National Children's Study

The National Children's Study is an ongoing study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the US Environmental Protection Agency. This new website provides comprehensive information about the study, including background, an overview of the study, information from previous meetings, and a list of people involved in coordinating and conducting the study. [From the Scout Report]

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NIH released its Draft Statement on Sharing Research Data

The new statement reflects NIH's expectation of, and support for, the timely release and sharing of final research data from NIH-supported studies. Data sharing, NIH explains, is consistent with its overall research goals. Data sharing reinforces open scientific inquiry, promotes new research, permits the creation of new data sets from multiple sources and avoids duplication of expensive data collection activities. Sharing is particularly important when research generates what NIH describes as "unique data that cannot be readily replicated." Select Draft Data Sharing Workbook to access text. The actual text is located at:

Ronald Abeles, Ph.D., special assistant to the director at NIH's Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, explains that "The new statement is a logical extension of existing NIH policies. There have been sharing requirements in some areas of biological research. Also, specific RFAs in the past have had data sharing requirements." Release of the final policy statement is expected on Aug. 1, 2002, with a proposed effective date of Jan. 1, 2003.

Once the final statement goes into effect, NIH notes, "Investigators submitting an NIH application will be required to include a plan for data sharing or to state why data sharing is not possible. This statement will apply to extramural scientists seeking grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts as well as intramural investigators." Until the effective date, Abeles says, "It certainly won't hurt applicants to address data sharing issues. Indeed, it could be a plus; some study sections do look for sharing plans." Written comments on the draft must be received no later than June 1, 2002.

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Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

A recent addition to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agriculture Research Service's Nutrient Database for Standard Reference is a report of nutrient lists. For each of the 30 nutrients, a list is provided, both sorted alphabetically and by nutrient content, of the amount of that nutrient found in each of 1,147 selected food items. What makes these lists particularly helpful is that the nutrient content data is provided in common portion measures. This is a great source of information, presented in an easy-to-use format. Anyone interested in increasing their intake of a certain nutrient can search these lists to assist their food choices. [From the Scout Report]

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Obesity and Genetics: A Public Health Perspective

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office of Genetics and Disease Prevention and Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, this websiteis a collection of information on the relationship between obesity and genetics. It offers links to a variety of sources of information, including Web resources and journal articles on the problem of obesity, the relationship between genetics and obesity, and preventing obesity. [From the Scout Report]

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Parasites and Parasitological Resources

The Ohio State University College of Biological Sciences maintains this website, which contains images and information on over 180 species of parasites. Images and information about the life cycle and host are available for many of the species. Species can be selected from an alphabetical (by scientific and common name) or taxonomic list. An interesting part of the site answers questions about parasites affecting pets, some of which can also infect humans. The site is well organized and contains considerable information for anyone with an interest in parasites. [From the Scout Report]

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Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council White Papers: PHC4 FYI

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) is a small independent agency of PA state government which offers data and information on the comparative costs and risk-adjusted outcomes of various hospital procedures, analysis of hospitals' finances, managed care data, and other information that is important to purchasers and consumers of health care. Once a month, the Council issues a white paper designed to communicate about a topic of interest to purchasers and others in the health care community. It is not a position paper, nor is it a vehicle for PHC4 opinions. Rather it is intended to be informative on current health care topics.

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PERISTATS: Interactive Perinatal Data Resource

PeriStats, launched last fall by the March of Dimes, provides quick access to maternal, infant and child health-related data at the state-level and for many indicators at the county-level. Data are also available for Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the US. Users can request recent statistics on topics such as infant mortality, low birthweight, preterm birth, tobacco, alcohol and illicit substance use, cesarean section rates, and health insurance coverage. Detailed information by race, ethnicity, and maternal age for many indicators is also available. PeriStats users can select the output format for this information including useful graphs and tables, which can be printed or copied and pasted into reports and presentations. Contact Michael Davidoff ( at the National Office of the March of Dimes for more information.

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Population Profile of the United States: 2000

The Population Profile of the United States: 2000 is the first Internet-only version of this US Census Bureau product. It includes data from surveys conducted in the year 2000 and earlier, as well as some limited Census 2000 data. This report attempts to provide the public with updated information in the years in which a printed version has not been issued. Chapters include population dynamics, households and housing, social characteristics, household economics, and the facets of diversity. Primary sources for this report come from the Census Bureau's Decennial Census of Population and Housing, the Current Population Survey (CPS), the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and the American Housing Survey (AHS). [From the Scout Report]

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Principles for Managing Contaminated Sediment Risks at Hazardous Waste Sites

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an eleven-page memorandum entitled Principles for Managing Contaminated Sediment Risks at Hazardous Waste Sites. Eleven risk management principles are presented, such as "control sources early" and "involve the community." The memo is intended to help guide Superfund National Policy Managers make "scientifically sound and nationally consistent risk management decisions at contaminated sediment sites," while giving an interesting look into governmental policies regarding the nation's most dangerous hazardous waste sites. [From the Scout Report]

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Public Health GIS Users

The Public Health GIS web has more than 4600 online Public Health GIS Users. This report includes information on:

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Scientists & Non-Profits' Ties to Industry

The Integrity in Science project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest has developed a database of scientists and nonprofit organizations with ties to industry. Data is provided "mostly in the fields of nutrition, environment, toxicology and medicine." Searches can be performed by categories, such as name, topic, or university. A brief description of the type of corporate support, along with reference, is given for each listed researcher and organization. This list is intended only as public awareness. It is not a comprehensive list, and inclusion does not imply improper or unethical behavior. [From the Scout Report]

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Southeast Public Health Training Center Interactive Database

The Southeast Public Health Training Center (SPHTC) has launched an interactive database that will allow you to submit, update, search or browse through listings of public health training programs and resources. The database includes distance learning curricula and resources as well as live trainings offered in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. An item of particular interest is the "Trainer Resources" section, which houses instructional materials, such as modules, curricula multimedia, web courses, manuals, etc. that have already been created and are accessible to other trainers. [Ed. note: see also from the Public Health Foundation.]
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State Resource Center

The State Resource Center is one of the categories of LexisOne's free Legal Internet guide, a collection of 20,000 links organized into 32 categories, up from 24 categories in July, 2000. For each of the fifty states, the State Resource Center provides extensive lists of links to statewide offices, the state's legal branches, its counties, its rules of court, important legal forms, and more. The site remedies the maze of many state government websites, making it easier to find legal materials. The site will also be useful for other users who want to find information on state legal systems. [From the Scout Report]

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Statistical Abstract of the United States 2001 is Available

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Surgeon General Reports on the Web

The National Library of Medicine has made available some 70 digitized reports issued by the US Public Health Service Surgeon General. The collection includes Reports, Proceedings, and Workshops from 1964-2000, as well as Reports, Conference Reports and Proceedings, and Calls to ction since 2000. (These latter materials are also available in NLM's HSTAT at

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Technology Watch! "We Know Our Audience, Now What?...Determining Priorities."

Technology Watch! is a bi-monthly feature that focuses on the latest issues and challenges in distance education. Topics will range from course development to an examination of the latest technology.

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Toxicological Profile Information Sheet

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is continually assembling toxicological profiles for hazardous substances. This site contains 256 online profiles listed alphabetically by chemical name. Each profile begins with a non-technical public health statement discussing the chemical, its environmental and health effects, and risk of human exposure. A more technical version of this information can also be downloaded in Adobe Acrobat format. [From the Scout Report]

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UCLA publishes Encyclopedia of Public Health

The first-ever Encyclopedia of Public Health, edited by Lester Breslow of the UCLA School of Public Health, is now available from MacMillan Reference USA. The four-volume encyclopedia set, written especially for lay readers, will serve as a valuable reference for high schools, community colleges, and public libraries as well as professionals in public health and related fields. The encyclopedia's 900 entries were written by subject experts and range in length from one hundred to several thousand words. The encyclopedia also contains a collection of some of the most essential writings and statements about public health and an annotated bibliography. The encyclopedia can be ordered via e-mail: or by calling 1-800-877-GALE.

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UIC launches Online MPH in Public Health Informatics

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health (SPH) is offering a MPH degree specializing in public health informatics (PHI) in a program focusing on the study of information management techniques to improve the practice of public health. All courses in the program are delivered via the internet. A cooperative effort between the UIC SPH and the School of Biomedical and Health Information Sciences, the three-year program will provide core competencies in public health information systems and management and consists of 14 didactic courses plus field and capstone experiences mentored over the Internet. Target audiences include public health officials and administrators, health information professionals, and managed care organization analysts.

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Understanding the Fundamentals of Epidemiology - an Evolving Text

This website is the new home for Understanding the Fundamentals of Epidemiology - an Evolving Text.

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Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care

Presented by the National Academy Press, this in-depth report examines healthcare disparities between racial minorities and whites. Although those categorized as minorities make up more than half the US population, they still receive a lower quality of healthcare than whites even when insurance status and income are compatible. According to the report, sources of this incongruence is rooted in historic and contemporary inequities and involve many participants at several levels. The study committee focused part of its analysis on the patient/system level factor and the clinical encounter factor. For those interested in learning about these healthcare disparities as well as systematic multi-leveled strategies to counteract them, the information is merely a click away. [From the Scout Report]

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VirOligo Compilation Lab

Coordinated through the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Oklahoma State University, this database project "collects virus-specific oligonucleotides for viral detection from published literature." The database includes a large number of viruses. Most recently, the Influenza virus, Foot-and-Mouth disease virus, smallpox, and cowpox viruses were added. Each virus record contains publication data and a variety of other information about the different strains. [From the Scout Report]

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Copyright Internet Scout Project, 1994-2001. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the Scout Report provided the copyright notice and this paragraph is preserved on all copies. The InterNIC provides information about the Internet to the US research and education community under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation: NCR-9218742. The Government has certain rights in this material.

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Updated: 26 April 2002
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