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Vol. 3, No. 2, January 2000


At the October 2000 annual meeting of the 
North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries 
(NAHSL) in Newport, RI, several medical 
librarians discussed the problems in locating 
non-English language consumer health 
information. Because the topic is 
overwhelming in scope, this issue focuses on 
finding selected web-based and print 
resources for Spanish-language consumer 
health information. Though this can 
sometimes be a difficult-to-impossible 
request, at other times it may only require a 
careful survey of web- and/or print-based 

We are fortunate in having a contribution for 
our "Massachusetts Models" series by 
Ayako Barnum, Resource Specialist at the 
Framingham office of the Massachusetts 
Prevention Center (MPC).  As always, we're 
eager to know what you'd like to see in 
future issues.  Our contact information is on 
the last page of this issue.

In the News


On December 4th, Treadwell Library of the 
Massachusetts General Hospital participated 
in the Grand Opening of ARCH, Access to 
Resources for Community Health. This 
electronic health information and resource 
center is the product of a NNLM/New 
England Outreach grant awarded to 
Treadwell Library in January 2000.

ARCH, a collaborative project among MGH 
Treadwell Library, MGH Community 
Health Associates, the Massachusetts 
Prevention Center?s Boston Office, and the 
Chelsea Health Department, aims to improve 
public access to online health information in 
underserved urban areas.   During its first 
phase, it will serve the communities of 
Revere, Chelsea, Everett and Charlestown.

ARCH is both a physical and virtual 
resource.  A staffed resource library 
containing books, videos, pamphlets and 
newsletters is located in the MGH Revere 
HealthCare Center.  Additionally, through 
ARCH, the Massachusetts Prevention 
Center is prepared to lend any of its 4000 
resources.  The library also has two PC's for 
users to access the ARCH web site that was 
specially designed for this project. ARCH 
employs a "Train the Trainer" approach and 
thus will be teaching clinicians and outreach 
workers based at the healthcare centers. 
There are also plans to train the public 
librarians in the communities as well.

ARCH has been warmly and 
enthusiastically received in the communities. 
Several distinguished speakers, including 
Thomas Ambrosino, the Mayor of Revere 
and Luis Prado, director of Chelsea Health 
and Human Services expressed this 
enthusiasm at the Open House.
For more information, contact Elizabeth 
Schneider, Director of Treadwell Library 
and Principal Investigator (617-724-2791) 
or Kate Kelly, Sr. Librarian for Outreach 
Services and Project Manager (617-724-

Consumer Health Credentialing 

Public librarians and librarians working in 
consumer health libraries are among those 
who can participate in a new program 
sponsored by the Medical Library 
Association.  The goals of the Consumer 
Health Credential (CHC) are improving 
health information services for consumers, 
creating partners in the delivery of consumer 
health information, and increasing access to 
consumer health courses.  Level I credentials 
require completion of twelve hours in 
approved CHC courses; level II credentials 
required twenty-four hours.  Further 
information is available from the Medical 
Library association by phone, at 312-419-
9094 or by email at mlapd1@mlahq.org.  



The American Board of Medical Specialties 
(ABMS) locator and verification services 
has a new URL.  Click on Who?s Certified.  
You can also call ABMS with verification 
questions: 1-866-ASK-ABMS.


This always-reliable web site recently 
changed its URL.  Currently, the word 
search (in Spanish, b?squeda por 
palabras) is not in operation. Instead, 
choose Health Topics (Temas de Salud) to 
find information. NOAH is an authoritative, 
bilingual health information site, dedicated 
to an underserved population of health 
consumers.  NOAH also provides access to 
bilingual National Cancer Institute reports.  


A project of the National Network of 
Libraries of Medicine (NN/LN), Pacific 
Northwest Region, Healthinfoquest 
encourages users to gain confidence in their 
ability to retrieve reliable health and medical 
information from the web. Healthinfoquest 
pathfinders are designed primarily for 
information providers and are also tools for 
health educators and those who respond to 
requests for medical and health information. 


Pathfinder asks: How do I find information 
on seizures in children? Is information 
available in Spanish on this subject? The 
pathfinder leads the user through a variety of 
web sites, including the Dept. of Health and 
Human Service's healthfinder in Spanish, 
nol/default.htm.  This sample pathfinder also 
includes clues about how to search for 
Spanish language material. 


By Ayako Ito Barnum, MLS
Resource Specialist, Massachusetts 
Prevention Center, Metrowest/West
158 Union Avenue 
Framingham, MA 01702
Tel: 508-875-5419 
Fax: 508-875-6214 
Email: mapcfra@ma.ultranetcom 

Funded by the Massachusetts Department of 
Public Health (DPH) and the Massachusetts 
Department of Education, the Massachusetts 
Prevention Center (MPC) Resource 
Libraries offer a collection of prevention and 
educational materials to all residents in 

Established in 1978, the first eight MPC 
centers were funded by a block grant from 
the Dept. of Public Health's Center for 
Substance Abuse Prevention.  The following 
year, the first Prevention Center (PC) 
Library opened, at the North Shore PC.  The 
collection was devoted to substance abuse. 
By 1992, the DPH had begun to assess the 
status of the PC Libraries and to develop a 
five-year plan in conjunction with resource 
specialists, PC directors and Prevention 
Support Services.  The tenth PC Library, in 
Framingham, opened in 1994. The MPC's 
centralized library system began in 1996 
with the creation of the statewide library 
catalog, first published on CD-ROM and 
available on the web since 1998 at 
http://www.andornot.com/mpc.  Last fiscal 
year, the libraries combined served almost 
17,000 people.

The  PC Library collections, in a variety of 
print and non-print media, include such 
topics as alcohol and other drugs, tobacco 
control, comprehensive school health, 
healthy communities, HIV/AIDS, science-
based prevention, violence prevention, and 
youth development.  

Some of the materials are available in non-
English languages such as Spanish, 
Portuguese, Vietnamese, and Chinese.  
Along with brochures, posters, and fact 
sheets, the PC Library materials contribute 
to the MPC's mission to promote and 
support community-based prevention to 
create and sustain healthy communities, with 
special attention to those populations most in 

Anyone who lives or works in the state, 
whether a librarian or member of the public, 
may use the MPC Resource Libraries.   All 
services are free.  Librarians, who usually 
choose to request books or videos, will have 
these items delivered via U. S. mail, UPS, or 
FedEx.  Members of the public are 
encouraged to visit the location either closest 
to them, or in their catchment area (the 
geographic area served by the MPC).  Walk-
ins are welcome, but services are also 
available via phone, fax, or e-mail.  Each 
MPC Library sets its own borrowing policy, 
and items may be reserved ahead of time and 
renewed.  Generally, all MPC Libraries are 
open during standard business hours, plus 
three additional hours, and all are closed on 
the weekend. Each library is staffed by one 
professional librarian, called a Resource 
Specialist, and one full or part-time 
paraprofessional. On November 2, 2000, the 
PC Library serving Boston moved into a 
new facility in Codman Square, Dorchester, 
allowing for further growth of resources and 

Language Resources
For the last few years, the Resource 
Libraries have been collecting materials in 
Spanish because it is the most commonly 
spoken non-English language in 
Massachusetts.  The collection development 
process of acquiring good materials has been 
quite a learning experience for the Resource 
Specialists in the ten Centers.  For example, 
there are subtle differences between Spanish 
spoken by those who are from Mexico, and 
Spanish spoken by people who are from 
Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic.  
Together, those latter two populations 
comprise the majority of Spanish spoken by 
Massachusetts residents.

The Resource Libraries have been fortunate 
in obtaining assistance from other staff 
within the Prevention Centers, other 
bilingual service providers, and some 
community residents, to assess the quality of 
materials in Spanish.  It is a lengthy process, 
at times, but the reward of having satisfied 
patrons is fulfilling.  Patrons often come 
back with reviews and suggestions for future 
purchases.  One faithful patron went to 
Puerto Rico for a family visit and brought 
back some books published over there!  

One way of selecting and purchasing titles is 
through the e-commerce site Fiera.com at 
http://www.fiera.com.  It contains many 
consumer health and popular medical titles.  
You can choose to search in English.  Click 
on Libros en Espa?ol, then Health and 
Diet.  You can then choose from 
Alternative Medicine, Diet and Nutrition, 
and similar English-worded categories. 
Click on the book title for a Spanish-
language abstract as well as price, 
pagination, ISBN, and publisher 
information.  Since these abstracts are not 
translated, try cross-referencing the title in 
Amazon or Barnes and Noble, at 
http://www.amazon.com or http://bn.com, 
respectively, for an English-language 
abstract.  Fiera.com targets the Spanish and 
Portuguese speaking population of Latin 
America and the Caribbean, the United 
States and Europe, and is based in Miami.  
Fiera.com states that all transactions are 
encrypted, and they are affiliated with the 
Better Business Bureau International.

Some of the Prevention Center Resource 
Libraries are now concentrating on finding 
materials in Portuguese, since Portuguese 
speakers are currently the fastest growing 
population in the state. 

You can search the MPC's entire collection 
at http://www.andornot.com/mpc.  The 
catalog can be searched in a variety of ways.  
For instance, choose Spanish from the drop-
down language menu.  In the keywords 
entry box, type health.  There are 62 
records, each with several English-language 
hot-linked subject headings.  You can also 
click on word wheel to help limit your 
search to a specific audience, age group, or 
school grade.  There are 26 documents in 
Spanish targeted to women, and nine 
targeted to community organizations.  This 
is a sample record:

ABOUT TIME : actuando con rapidez 
para sobrevivir un ataque al corazon -- 
[s.l.]: Heart Attack React, 1996. 
Physical Description: 1 videocassette (20 
min.) : sd., col., 1/2 in. + 1 booklet ([15] p.)

Keywords: Chronic Diseases ; Myocardial 
Abstract: This video gives you all the 
information you need to act quickly and 
calmly in case of a heart attack emergency 
Audience: Community Organizations ; 
Health Care Providers ; General
Language: Spanish
Format: Video

For more information or to locate the 
Prevention Center Resource Library in your 
area, go to http://www.PreventionCenters.org.


Begin your search for general health 
information in Spanish and other languages 
here.  This also includes a link to one of the 
largest Spanish language web sites, similar 
to Yahoo, called Yupi Salud, at 
http://www.yupi.com/canales/salud/.  This 
takes you directly to health topics in 
Spanish.   You can also use the Yupi Salud 
search engine in either English or Spanish to 
look for a more specific topic or phrase.  
Most results are returned in Spanish.


This section of the Medical Library 
Association publishes a quarterly newsletter. 
Cancer Information for Spanish Speaking 
Patients, a recent article, is featured on their 
web site.  This excellent article provides 
annotated links, indicating country of origin 
and search tips for each site.  A wide variety 
of high quality medical web sites that 
include information about cancer, as well as 
a variety of other ailments, are listed.  There 
are also links to Spanish-language medical 
book and pamphlet suppliers, as well as a 
helpful glossary of English-Spanish internet 
and medical words.


Caphis, the Consumer and Public Health 
Information Section (Caphis) of the 
Medical Library Association, has compiled a 
superb list of Resources in Spanish for 
Consumer Health Information covering a 
wide range of physical and mental health 


Spanish Resources on the Web is the 
section of this lengthy paper, complete with 
comprehensive bibliography, that covers 
governmental, organizational, and library 
web sites for Spanish language consumer 
health information.

Authoritative sources agree that the most 
complete guide in print to consumer 
health resources in Spanish is 
Informaci?n de salud para los 
consumidores / edited by Alan M. 
Rees, with Irene Affranchino-Miniello.  
Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press, 1998. The 
only book of its kind, it brings together 
over 150 consumer health brochures and 
pamphlets available in Spanish, taken 
from federal and professional health 
agencies, on a variety of public health 
concerns. The book is organized by 
health topics and arranged alphabetically 
by the Spanish titles of each brochure or 
pamphlet. There is an English-language 
subject index.
Finding consumer-level non-English  
language material presents a challenge on 
many levels.  Please don't hesitate to 
contact us for assistance!


CHRC Contact Information

Tel: 1-877-MEDI-REF (1-877-633-4733)
 or    617-726-8600

Fax: 617-726-6784

or treadwellqanda@partners.org

Consumer Health Reference Center
Treadwell Library 
Bartlett Hall Extension 1 
Massachusetts General Hospital 
Boston, MA 02114.