I’m a medical librarian. I have a graduate degree in library and information science (MLIS) from the University of Pittsburgh, where I focused on medical librarianship. I currently work in a prominent academic medical center library, where I was promoted from the paraprofessional ranks and am now a medical Librarian (I worked there while obtaining my degree). I served as Editorial Assistant (and then Electronic Resources Reviews Editor) for the Journal of the Medical Library Association and handle complex clinical questions for medical center; I have worked with units including the diabetes clinic, inpatient internal medicine, emergency medicine and the order set teams. I was trained to answer clinical questions through a combination of in-house training modules and supervised rounding in our Level I Trauma Center. I have also worked with our digital library, budget, weeding, our management contract of another medical library, proposal-writing, reference and circulation, web updates, staff training, job candidate screening and interviews, and other projects.
Previously, I worked as Program Assistant and then Communications Coordinator for a non-profit organization focused on promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. We also worked on mitigating the health effects of dirty power sources. I handled technical problems, website management, database management (10K+ records in a Filemaker Pro/ebase database I periodically customized), distribution of emails, faxes, and press releases to donors, members, and activists, politicians, and news outlets, and served as co-editor of the quarterly newsletter. On occasion, I did public outreach at events. See how that ties in to librarianship?
Prior to my graduation from Oberlin College (where I was a geology major), I worked as a Student Assistant and then Student Manager of the Oberlin College Science Library. I received a Metcalf Award for outstanding library service. As a result, I have a lifetime membership to the Friends of the Oberlin College Library. Also while at Oberlin, I took an EXCO course entitled, “Menstrual Health and Politics.”
Why Women’s Health?:
I like technology, and wanted to play around with blogging. I had (and still have) an interest in women’s health, and at the time was taking a course [#326] in Vanderbilt’s graduate nursing program on women’s health issues. (As a project for this course, two colleagues and I created an online tutorial for nursing students on how to search popular databases for women’s health literature.) I knew I needed a focus, and focusing on a health topic is a good continuing education exercise for me. I think a lot of women are underinformed about their bodies, their health, and the policies affecting their health choices, and I hope to use this blog to provide a source of information about those topics.
Aside from the blog, I also served two terms as a member of the Board of Directors for the Vanderbilt Center for Health Services, “a group of community service projects whose goal is to support people working at the grassroots level to take control of their physical, social, political, and environmental health.”
Here’s some stuff I need to make explicit for the purposes of HON code certification and transparency in general:
The Mission Statement:
The purpose of Women’s Health News is to provide information and commentary on current women’s health topics, including policy, legislation, news, and events, as well as to point readers to additional useful resources online. The overall mission for this site is to help women (and other humans) become better informed about all aspects of women’s health. There is also a strong current of liberal, pro-choice feminism here, and part of the mission is clearly to promote my own viewpoints.
Women’s Health News is written primarily for an English-speaking adult audience. Although resources and information are sometimes presented that are relevant to teens, the blog is not written with an eye on protecting children from adult content or language. I hope that women of all stripes, patients, medical librarians, patients, feminists, healthcare providers, a few of the menfolk, et al can find something useful here.
The Comments Policy:
All commenters are in moderation until I approve their first comment, after which I reserve the right to delay or delete any comment as I see fit. Comments used to be more wide open here, and then I started getting the ones saying that I should be raped, because that would teach me a lesson. Comments are expected to be civil. They are also expect not to be spam. If you post a glowing comment about how awesome my blog is, but link to your internet drug site or other venture, it will be deleted. Comments that simply link to your unrelated site (aside from the linking of your name) with no explanation (i.e. spam) will be deleted, regardless of what you’re linking to. All comments are subject to deletion at my discretion.
Copy/pasted propaganda that doesn’t actually make an argument will be considered spam and deleted, because I don’t have time for your nonsense. I don’t delete them just because I personally find the argument offensive (UNLESS you just keep repeating some bullshit we’ve already gone over, and it’s factually inaccurate. Really, I am not that patient), but may for any other reason. If you deliberately and repeatedly misunderstand what I’m saying, I’ll get tired of your ass and block you. If I get tired of the same thing over and over, I’ll delete it. If you can’t find the caps lock button, I’ll delete it. If I get tired of a specific commenter’s antics – boom, gone. Finally, comments that include information that is known to be medically inaccurate may be deleted.
I have no intention of making a place for comments here that are threatening or hateful or any sort of *ist to me or to others, and I moderate comments in a way that is good for my own mental health – there are some days when I’m just worn out and can’t deal with some one more person’s bullshit. This is my soapbox, if you don’t like it, go get your own.
And yeah, I’m a librarian, so I take accusations of “censorship” wrt not publishing comments seriously. To those people: I don’t publish every comment I receive, at my discretion. Librarians don’t buy every book available in the world, publishers don’t publish every manuscript they receive, and newspapers don’t print every letter to the editor that they receive. Pick the analogy that smartens and comforts you and move along.
Can I Send You My Film, Book, or Other Material to Review?
Please do, but send me an email first so I can give you my address. The item should be women’s health, general health, healthcare policy, or otherwise related to the content of this blog. I will not guarantee that the review will be positive, or even posted, and all reviews will mention that the item was provided for review (as opposed to found to be of interest by me independently).
Can I Link to You?:
Yes. Without reservation. I think attempts to prevent links or deep-linking are intellectually dishonest and a hindrance to the benefits of online media. Please be aware that I can see links made to posts here, and may follow you there to leave a comment when you’re referring to my work.
This blog is not financially supported by any entity and does not include advertising; it is the sole work of the author. Where samples or materials are provided for review, this will be noted.
Emails to the author will be kept private unless otherwise permitted by the sender. Identifying information is never shared with others. Searches leading to this site will occasionally be listed in blog posts providing resources related to those searches, but identifying details of the searcher will not be released. I generally do not reveal anything about commenters based on their IP/email addresses, but reserve the right to do so if, in my opinion, a commenter is being deliberately abusive or misleading about his or her identity or biases. This would be really rare; I err on the side of protecting privacy, but need to reserve the right to break that privacy under certain circumstances. I reserve the right to reveal as much information as I can gather to law enforcement or other authorities if someone commenting on or contacting me through this site is threatening toward me, my family, my animals, my property, or my job. If you have questions about this, let me know.
The author of this blog is not a physician or other healthcare provider, and this blog is not intended to replace regular healthcare. Please check with your clinician regarding your personal healthcare decisions, and seek immediate care in emergencies. Also, please note that medicine is an ever-changing field, and studies which seem to demonstrate or disprove an idea may be contradicted by future studies. Finally, sometimes I just get smarter about things, and something I said in the past seems kind of silly. Sometimes I’ll get it wrong. Sometimes I’ll be hyped up over something that turns out to be nothing. I’m human. That’s life.
I have not explicitly licensed content from this blog for use by others under any Creative Commons or other arrangement. If you want to reprint something in your newsletter or whatever, you need to contact me first. Folks creating spammy blogs (or other outlets) stealing and reposting content wholesale will have their hosts/advertising networks contacted about their violation of U.S. copyright law.
A Final Note:
The opinions expressed here do not represent those of my employer. This blog is my work, independent of my actual paying job, and it is my responsibility alone. The official wording the workplace requires is “The views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and they may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.” Opinions expressed here are also not representative of Our Bodies Ourselves, for which I’m one of two bloggers at Our Bodies Our Blog. You should realize that my opinions are my own (not sanctioned by either of those two entities), and you are not likely to read any writing specifically about either, unless it is in a positive, promotional, or fundraising capacity (and still unofficial and solely my own opinion/words).
-Rachel Walden, MLIS
-Our Bodies Our Blog, the blog for Our Bodies, Ourselves
-JMLA Case Studies in Health Sciences Librarianship [blog; retired]
-Walden RR, Jerome RN, Miller RS. Utilizing case reports to build awareness of rare complications in critical care. J Med Libr Assoc. 2007 Jan;95(1):3-8.
-Lyon J, Giuse NB, Williams A, Koonce T, Walden R. A model for training the new bioinformationist. J Med Libr Assoc. 2004 Apr;92(2):188-95.
-Advocacy for Women’s Health: Connecting People With Information [4/15/08] – Medscape interview prior to hosting Grand Rounds
-Hopkins restores access to health site: Limit on word ‘abortion’ faulted [4/5/2008] – Baltimore Sun article by Stephanie Desmon on the POPLINE controversy
I also have some presentations from medlib conferences, and some official blogging I’ve done for those conferences. I also currently serve on the governmental relations committee of the Medical Library Association. If you’re interested in any of that, let me know.
Last update: May 1, 2011