MLA 2019: The Very Thought of You

Sunday, May 5, 2019

In November 2018, I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that causes severe vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. Thus far, I have experienced three incidents of vertigo. I have tinnitus, as well as a hearing loss pattern that is consistent with Ménière’s. I have a feeling of fullness in my right ear. These symptoms are caused by fluid buildup in the inner ear.

To reduce the likelihood of vertigo, my doctors recommend limiting my diet to 1500 mg sodium per day. If you are eating restaurant food, this is not easy to do. Even the healthiest restaurants (lots of veggies and indicators for gluten-free and vegan-friendly) will douse their dishes with salt or sodium-laden condiments. This should be worrisome to everyone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention make bold statements about lowering dietary sodium. I was anxious about sticking to my low sodium diet while traveling. I planned to be careful with breakfasts and lunches during the conference. I ate sodium-free oatmeal in the mornings, and filled pita bread with salad mix and low-sodium tuna or boiled eggs for lunch. In the evenings, I threw caution to the wind. Not a perfect strategy, but manageable.

Beverly Murphy, Incoming President of MLA

My conferencing began with the first plenary, Beverly Murphy’s Presidential Address. 

Beverly Murphy, MLS, AHIP, FMLA, began her term as President-Elect of the Medical Library Association (MLA) in May at the end of the annual conference in Seattle, WA.  Elected in December 2016 by the MLA members, she will serve as President from 2018 to 2019. Her election to this office is also a milestone for the Association since she will be the first African-American President of MLA. Beverly has been at Duke for 34 years and is currently the Assistant Director, Communications and Web Content Management in the Library and the Hospital Nursing Liaison for the Duke Health System and Watts School of Nursing. She also serves as the outreach contact for Neurobiology and Ophthalmology.~Duke Medical Center Library and Archives

Beverly Murphy opened her address with a snippet from Stevie Wonder’s Love Light in Flight, raising her arms above her head and encouraging audience members to celebrate with her. She shared her joy with music she loves. Contrast this with a major vendor who stepped up to welcome us, donning a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo as a marketing stunt. Did this bother anyone else? #MLAnet19 Twitter was quiet about it. I thought the ploy was ill-advised, given MLA’s nascent focus on Diversity and Inclusion. Brought to mind the “Cinco de Drinko” t-shirt that I saw on a young woman while in Pilsen.

At the time, the best I could do was retweet this post from American Libraries Association president Loida Garcia Febo:

Twitter Impact on Reading the Literature

The second plenary was, for me, the bread-and-butter of the conference. How do clinicians and researchers discover and use medical literature?

I will focus on the talk by Vineet Arora, Academic Hospitalist at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She teaches medical students, residents and faculty to do scholarly research and take their work into publication. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of Chicago and is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Today’s clinicians and researchers: How can I access information from my phone? The key is how information integrates into the workday.

Dr. Arora expounded upon the importance of apps and the enormous advantages of having UpToDate on her phone. Aware of her reliance on her phone as a source of access, she and the editorial team at the Journal of Hospital Medicine launched the #JHMChat on Twitter. They hoped to drive impact factors for JHM journal articles. The chat averages 73 participants and 2.17 million impressions per session. Twitter impressions measure how often a tweet shows up in someone’s timeline. An impression isn’t the same as engagement (likes, retweets), but 2.17 million impressions is a lot of impressions!

Whether or not hospitalists are engaging with medical literature via Twitter (and many are), Dr. Arora noted the importance of #JHMChat to build a sense of community among hospitalists across organizations.

For details, read: Charlie M. Wray, DO, MS, Auerbach AD, Arora VM, The Adoption of an Online Journal Club to Improve Research Dissemination and Social Media Engagement Among Hospitalists. J. Hosp. Med 2018;11;764-769. doi:10.12788/jhm.2987.

Updates on DOCLINE and PubMed

In the afternoon, I attended the DOCLINE and PubMed updates offered by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The room was jam-packed. I was there to observe the concerns of hospital librarians and to hear the responses from NLM staff.

The changes at NLM are technology-driven. Some of these changes are running up against the limitations of hospital systems. Elizabeth Laera, librarian at Brookwood Baptist Health in Birmingham AL, is a vocal advocate for those working in small hospital libraries. She was fired up at the PubMed Update, now available in this recording. Since MLA, the National DOCLINE Coordination Office published this blog post to address librarians’ pressing concerns about document delivery.

My professional goal is to keep in touch with hospital librarians in New England, to provide training and support (and maybe funding?) to cope with changes in National Library of Medicine products and services.

Panel: Access at the Point-of-Care

After dashing outside to grab a bit of sunshine, I headed into a panel addressing Searching Clinically: How to Search, Find and Access Information at Point-of-Care.  I wanted to support fellow New England librarian Sarah Carnes. Sarah is a clinical librarian at the VA Medical Center in Bedford MA. She was one of five panelists.

Again, this was another bread-and-butter session. Librarians digging in, sharing what works best for different physician specialties in their hospitals. The panel covered rounding on hospital floors, attending clinical case conferences, and hallway discussions with hospital administrators. All panelists spoke about evolving technology that facilitates point-of-care information delivery.  Sarah talked about providing information to patients as well as to clinicians. She addressed different methods of delivery, including texting physicians to “check your email”.

Early Risers Jazz Jam

At 4:00pm, I was ready to call it a day. Ed texted me that he was on his way back downtown from Oak Park. As early risers ourselves, our plan was to check out the Early Risers Jazz Jam at Andy’s Jazz Club. Hosted by drummer Charles “Rick” Heath III, this jam features a house band for the first set (5:30-7:00pm) with an invitation for jazz musicians to join for a song or two in the second set (until 8:30pm). Rick implored us to come up “only if you are good.” Ed and I ordered smoked BBQ ribs and settled in for the evening.

We were seated right in front of the stage, nearby pianist Richard D. Johnson. During the break, we learned that Richard attended the Berklee School of Music and earned advanced degrees at the Boston Conservatory and the New England Conservatory. Juilliard-trained saxophonist Sharel Cassity was the front woman for the house band. Sharel shares her musical journey in this podcast, including her transition away from classical music and her desire to dig into the roots of jazz. During the second set, Ty Perry stepped away from waiting tables to hop onstage. He blew us away with his emotional rendition of The Very Thought of You. Happily, the song stuck in my head for days.