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IUPUI Librarians Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic

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While our IUPUI Libraries may be physically closed, our librarians are still working hard to support our institution and taking on additional responsibilities during the current pandemic. Librarians are providing quick evidence-based information to health care workers, sharing information on 3D printing models, supporting the move to online education, expanding Library Chat, extending due dates, and filling article requests.

One of the skills that medical librarians have is the ability to quickly locate evidence-based information to answer clinical questions. That skill is being put to work for Indiana during the current pandemic. Sarah Wiehe, Director and Emily Hardwick, Operations Director for the Indiana Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute (Indiana CTSI) Monon Collaborative together with Amy Gilbert, the Family and Social Services Administration of Indiana (FSSA) Chief Science Officer, have been partnering to coordinate and facilitate a COVID-19 Evidence Based Rapid Response Team (EBM RRT) to answer questions from state leadership, known as COVID-19 Expert Responses to Key Questions.

Amy Blevins, Associate Director for Public Services at the Ruth Lilly Medical Library (RLML), leads a team of librarians to assist with gathering evidence, in the form of annotated bibliographies, to answer the questions. The team of librarians includes Hannah Craven, Research & Scholarly Communications Librarian at RLML; Rachel Hinrichs, Health Sciences Librarian at University Library; Caitlin Pike, Nursing, Medical Humanities and Health Studies Librarian at University Library; Sean Stone, Director at the Dentistry Library; and Miriam Murphy, Director & Senior Lecturer in Law at the Ruth Lilly Law Library. They research a wide range of questions from medical and public health, to  law and bioethical concerns. Once the annotated bibliographies are complete, they are sent off to research experts who review and summarize the evidence before the answers are sent off to state leadership. In addition, the COVID-19 EBM RRT has led to a Daily Digest and an Expert Review of Relevant and Emerging Literature. For the Expert Review, a group of academic experts are reviewing literature daily and then posting 3-5 blog posts outlining their summaries of the literature. The librarian team is working with those experts to develop search strategies and auto-alerts to increase the efficiency of work being done. 

Ruth Lilly Medical Librarians have created a Research Guide for COVID-19.  The guide focuses on links to trustworthy sources of information for residents and health care providers in Indiana, educational resources to support the move to online instruction in medical education, and sources for 3D print models for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Ms. Blevins created the guide with a focus on trustworthy sources of information including resources for residents and health care providers in Indiana and Rick Ralston, Associate Director for Content Management and Assessment, created a section for educational resources to support the move to online instruction. Chelsea Misquith, Emerging Technologies Librarian along with Cassandra Jones, Nexus Manager, are providing assistance with a statewide initiative spearheaded by the Indiana University Health 3D Innovations Lab. The IU Health 3D Innovations lab is working to design and print Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and other medical supplies as needed by IU Health. If you are interested in helping out, please join the Medical Innovations Coalition Slack workspace to receive updates. Select information resources relevant to this initiative are available here: IU Health is responsible for final approval of any 3D designs or printed PPE/medical supply parts to be used at IU Health.

Laura Menard, RLML’s Assistant Director for Medical Education and Access Services, is partnering with medical educators to redesign all library-supported EBM sessions and convert them to an online format. Each session must be completely revamped with a focus on best practices for online learners. To this end, Laura has created interactive video modules with a guided, hands-on component and built-in assessment to keep students engaged and invested in their learning. Another exciting project in the world of medical education is the development of a new COVID-19 course. The course will cover the epidemiology of the disease, patient care considerations, and aspects of public health, disaster management, teamwork/communication, and application of EBM skills to stay up to date on the latest evidence. The course development team, which includes Ms. Menard, is working with a group of MS4s to create content for the course modules. For the EBM module, the student leading the effort is hoping to produce a paper on her approach using a pre- and post-test assessment model.

Overall, the library is continuing to partner with curricular stakeholders in order to provide the EBM content that it essential, now more than ever, to the development of our students’ critical thinking and evidence synthesis skills. We look forward to continuing to support our students and the medical education efforts at IUSM through these unprecedented times.

Michael Wilkinson, Access Services Manager, has expanded our chat hours with the help of our part time students. In addition to being available during normal business days, we now offer chat services on Saturday 8-4pm and Sunday 10 – 6pm. In addition, we have extended renewals on checked out materials and have added card access for our 24/7 study space upon request for IUSM medical students, residents and fellows.

Working from home, the Content Management and Delivery team continues to fill electronic article requests for researchers from IUSM as well as other institutions through their document delivery and interlibrary loan services. In addition, two staff members are scanning articles from the print collection to fill requests for older material twice a week. Since the library closed March 27, over 350 articles have been delivered to IUSM researchers and Indiana Health professionals and nearly 200 articles have been delivered to other libraries for their researchers.

As always, we are here for you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need anything. Chat with us using the information at the top right of our homepage or email us.

Reference: Circulation: InterLibrary Loan:

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Safar Saydshoev