Category Archives: Work

A Glimpse Into My Job

I have a very interesting job.  And, trying to explain what I do is not always easy.

By training, I am a medical librarian and work at a major academic medical center. I also have a degree in public health.  My official title is Health Knowledge Information Specialist. I relish in the fact that I have the opportunity to be involved in so many different types of projects at my job and the bulk of what I do on a day-to-day basis is project-based work.  There are so many ways to to provide information science and knowledge management in a health sciences environment and we do many interesting and innovative activities – including conducting major research initiatives. Conventional, we are not. :-)

We have a recently published paper in the Journal of the Medical Library Association that describes how we strategically align our work to the core missions of our medical center. I love this mandala my Director created that visually shows how we focus our work around what the medical center is striving to accomplish.  Click on the image to see it larger.

mandala

 You can read the article online at PubMed Central for more details.  #lovewhatido

 

 

Aloha – Days 3 & 4

I’m writing this post after having returned home, but I wanted to chronicle my 3rd day in Hawaii, Monday, May 18th. We went to Pearl Harbor to visit the USS Arizona Memorial and that took most of the morning, so I wanted to blog about the trip. I desperately wanted to visit Pearl Harbor because one of my great-uncles served in WWII during this time and spent time there. He was only two days off from actually having been there during the attack and was on several navy ships involved in the campaigns subsequent to the Pearl Harbor attack. I have more about it on my genealogy blog for those who may be interested.

Our trip to the memorial went smoothly.  We took the bus from the hotel there, a trip that lasted a little more than an hour.  It was nice to take the bus though because we were able to see some of the city.  We arrived at 8:45 and got tickets for the 9:45 tour.  While waiting we spent time looking at the exhibits on site – there were all kinds of displays up that help in understanding the events of that day.  From the visitor’s center, you can see the USS Arizona memorial across the water.

     

 

From Hawaii 2009

At the start of the tour, we watched a documentary that was about 25 minutes long. It was highly interesting and informative and I want to see if I can buy the documentary.  Then, we were taken on a ferry across the water out to the memorial.

From Hawaii 2009

 The memorial was well set up and very respectful in setting.  It astounds me to think that more than 1100 men died almost instaneously as the ship was struck and sunk.   The memorial is positioned over the sunken ship but parts of the ship appear above water.  This is a picture of one of the gun torrents that is above the water.

From Hawaii 2009

 I am glad that I visited, it was a moving experience for me.  Now, after leaving the memorial, they ferry you back over to the visitor’s center.  We were short on time, so I did not stop back in the bookstore, but when I’d browsed earlier, there were a couple of books that I thought I may be interested in getting, so I’ll be sure to look them up. 

After getting back to the hotel, I was off to the conference for some official work stuff, and then in the afternoon did some school work.  For dinner though, we trekked to a hotel further down Wakiki Beach for Korean.  

The street we walked down, Kalakaua Avenue , to get there was crazy – one of my co-workers mentioned it was like Rodeo drive.  There were all kind of name brand shops as well as other interesting places like an International Market. We ended up at the Waikiki Resort Hotel for dinner at Seoul Jung Restaurant.

From Hawaii 2009

One of my coworkers is 1/4 Korean so she was able to explain the various dishes to us. I selected Kalbi Jjim for dinner, which was like a pot roast stew – it was good and it was hot!  It was boiling when they brought it out – I had to take a video of it.  Play the video clip to see it boiling.

   

After dinner, it was then time to head back to the hotel room and prepare for the presentation I had to do on Tuesday.  The presentation described some of the iniatives we have ongoing at my library and I shared with the attendees specifically our work on integrating our information resources into our informatics tools and systems.  Feedback was good I understand though I had to leave right away to catch my flight.  But, on the official MLA blog, a very positive post was made about our presentation that you can read here

So, after the presentation I came home – my flight was long and up until the end was good.  Towards the end of the first leg my ears refused to pop so pressure started to build up.  Between legs it started to subside, but started again with my last leg back to Nashville.  Have you ever had sustained pressure build up over several hours of flying? It is a horrible, horrible experience.   Even after getting off the plane the pressure was still pretty intense and it made me sick to my stomach.  I had to come home and sleep the pressure and pain was so bad.  

Overall though, the trip was good and I’m grateful for the chance to have gone and participated in the conference and see some of Hawaii.  Next month I’m off to Portland, Oregan for another business trip, and hopefully a side trip to San Francisco to visit a friend.

Aloha – Day 2

 

It is almost noon on Monday, May 18th as I write this blog post, but here in lovely Hawaii, it is only 6:40am.  Yesterday was my 2nd day here and the fun continued!

I spent most of the morning working on school work. I am a full-time student after all, so being in Hawaii doesn’t even release me from my student responsibilities :-).  For lunch, I joined my coworkers at a nearby restaurant for dim sum.  I’m not sure exactly what I ate, but it was all good.  On the way to the restaurant, I passed this statue in front of the convention center

From Hawaii 2009

 

The statue represents the welcoming spirit of the Hawaiin people.  After lunch I headed to the convention center to look through the exhibits some more, and then had a massage courtesy of one of the vendors.  I so needed that massage – it felt great.  It was a little painful and my coworker tells me that is b/c I have a lot of tension that needs releasing. I agree :-) I must figure out a way to get another one. 

In the afternoon it was back to more school work but along the way back to the hotel I took more pictures.  The hotel has a village feel w/ a lot of open areas and spaces, so there is plenty to take pictures of.

From Hawaii 2009

  After getting more accomplished, it was time to head to the luau hosted by one of our vendors, OVID.  When I stopped by my coworkers room, I had to take a picture of their view of the ocean.  Absolutely gorgeous!

From Hawaii 2009  

  Then, we headed over to the luau.  They gave us leis made of fresh flowers too.

From Hawaii 2009

  The luau itself was fun – the food was good. I even ate a Hawaiin Purple Sweet Potato.  The purple sweet potatoes are native to Okinawa and in Hawaii are known as ‘uala. It was very good.  You can see what they look like by going here.  Entertainment for the evening was by way of a group of Polynesian dancers then a band performed several songs too.  I took  some video clips — one of the group dancing and then one of the guy w/ fire they also had.   Here is the group of polynesian dancers – I’ll put the fire guy up later.

Then, afterwards, came back and went to bed. I as pooped!  This morning however, we are going over to see Pearl Harbor, which I am very much looking forward to for family/genealogy reasons.  I will share more on that later.  I did add more pictures to my photo album, so if you looked once, look again! You can see them here.

Aloha! Day 1

From Hawaii 2009

Aloha! I am in the lovely state of Hawaii for a professional conference and so far so good :-).  By central time, I have been awake for almost 24 hours now. By Hawaii time, it is only midnight. 

I flew in to Denver, then to Honolulu.  Total flight time – about 11 hours. So, by the time it was all said in done, when I arrived at the hotel it was about 9pm at home (central time). I’d left the Nashville airport at 8am Central Time.  The flights themselves were okay. I slept most of the way, but got in quite a bit of reading of a medical/political thriller book I picked up in the aiport, Michael Palmer’s First Patient.  I also purchased James McBride’s latest book, Song Yet Sung,  though I don’t expect to read it right away. 

Once at the hotel, the Hawaii Hilton, I checked in, got settled and waited for my bag. Yes, my bag did not make it all the way with me, but it got oh so close!  Turned out that a person took my bag mistakenly at the 1st hotel that the hotel shuttle stopped at.  My hotel was the 2nd.  The guy who took my suitcase called and let them know, so they were able to go back to get it and bring it back to me (directly to my hotel room) within about 90 minutes.  I’d much prefer this situation rather than my bag not making it with me to Honolulu.  :-)

After a quick visit over to the convention center to register and attend the welcome reception, my coworkers and I began to get ready for the dinner cruise one of the vendors was hosting.  Buffett dinner on a cruise ship w/ live entertainment (singers & hula dancers)- it was fun!

I’ve got some pics of views from my hotel room window & some of the hula dancers from tonight.  TO SEE MORE PICTURES, VISIT MY ONLINE PHOTO ALB UM. I expect to be adding more pics as the days continue. 

Ta ta for now!

Another Informatics Post

Check out this video that News & Public Affairs posted to the VUMC YouTube Channel last week.  It highlights a project here at the medical center that leverages work done by the Informatics Center for which I work.  I’ve not been involved in this project personally, but it is a great demonstration of the ways in which we help with patient care.  And, I have been a patient in our emergency rooms a few times (as has Kaleya), so I’ve seen my own data on it. Cool. If you want to learn more about medical informatics in general, hit up Wikipedia.  :-)

What I Do At Work

Shameless plug for my library! Our medical center has a YouTube channel, and recently posted this video about our website, MyHealthAtVanderbilt (MHAV). MHAV allows you, if you are a patient at Vanderbilt, to log into the site and access parts of your medical record (such as lab test results, immunization data) and you can send messages to your physician, access your appointment and billing data and more.

One of my responsibilities at work is working with my colleagues to integrate links to consumer health information throughout the MHAV website. This means for example, that if you are looking at your lab results and don’t understand what they mean, our library provides links to websites that help explain the lab test procedure and what the results mean. We also link to and create a variety of information resources to help patients undertand their health data. This is a very rewarding project to be involved in.

This week in fact, I have been working with some co-workers in putting together a poster to present at our professional annual meeting this coming week about our work to add information targeted to kids through MHAV.

So, without further ado here is a video about the site and how it works. Just a small glimpse into a little bit more about what I do at work!

Cholera & Nashville

This map (which I found from an online exhibit from the National Library of Medicine), is of Nashville in 1873 that shows a Cholera outbreak. Why do I post this? Because today I had a history lesson on Cholera in Nashville.

Today, a group of coworkers and I went to Traveller’s Rest, a plantation/museum here in town that was the home of Judge John Overton, a prominent figure in Nashville history. His home was also a base of operations during the last campaigns around the Battle of Nashville. I won’t go into the history of the battle, but I learned quite a bit about that today as well.

The reason for our visit was to see the Disease & Medicine exhibit they are currently hosting. Our library helped provide some of the information for the exhibit, so we received a few free passes. The group of us that went won them as a result of a drawing.

It was quite interesting. Apparently, cholera outbreaks in Nashville were very common throughout the entire 19th century and at one point, Nashville was the most dangerous city to live in because of these outbreaks. More dangerous than Calcutta, more dangerous than NYC. The outbreaks were so bad b/c of the very rapid growth of Nashville during this time which resulted in thousands of people living in very close quarters, disposal of wastes into alleyways, and germs being absorbed into the ground and eventually tainting the city’s water supply – the Cumberland River. Because medicine did not really understand bacteria at the time, it would just continue. The cure for cholera is rehydration but of course they were rehydrating with tainted water. Not good.

Overall, I’m glad I went. While I was there, they had a book in the gift shop that I almost purchased, but decided to hold off. It was a book that had many images representative of the history of blacks in Nashville. My interests in Nashville history are growing and I even found a connection with someone whom I’m helping in her genealogy research of ancestors from Nashville.

Experimenting With Second Life

I finally signed up for Second Life yesterday. Though I’ve been reading about Second Life for more than a year now, I had not yet explored it. So, in order to learn more I signed up. It is very interesting.

My avatar it Taneya Kumaki and I’m still learning how to do things like change appearance, even move around properly. I still have not yet learned how to fly. I took a visit to some of the health/medical locations that I knew of as a beginning.

I visited the HealthInfo Island Consumer Medical Library and the Medical Library on the same island. I also visited the Ann Myers Medical Center. I am eager to learn how to build areas next, but overall, my couple of hours of experimentation last night was productive!

Some screenshots:

You can see my other Second Life “snapshots” here.

Business Trip

I’m in Philadelphia this weekend on a business trip. It is that time of year again – time for the annual conference of the Medical Library Association! This is an annual conference that I tend to attend fairly often. Kalonji’s holding the fort down and taking care of Kaleya.

Yesterday upon arrival, we had lunch at Reading Terminal Market and while I don’t usually eat Philly cheese steaks – when in Rome, do as! So, I had one and it was quite tasty.

Today, some of my co-workers and I taught a continuing education class on filtering the medical literature, and this evening I spent time visiting the exhibits area. The next couple of days are more conference activities and I head back home Monday.

A Work Project – MHAV

Would you like to know what I do at work? A paper we wrote was just published this month in our association journal. One of my projects at work is described. Essentially, Vanderbilt has an online website that patients can use to interact with their healthcare providers and within that site, our library provides links to consumer health information.

See – librarians don’t just sit and read all day :-)