Newsletter of the Medical Library Group of Southern California and Arizona

MLGSCA Spring 2017 Professional Development Awardee Andrea Harrow’s Attendance at MLA 2017

Posted on June 7, 2017 by Daisy Nip | No Comments

Andrea Harrow was one of MLGSCA’s Spring 2017 Professional Development Awardees (see As an awardee of our Professional Development Award, she was required to provide a 500-word summary on her professional development activity for our blog. The following is her summary of her attendance at the Medical Library Association 2017:

MLA2017 – the Reprise:  My salutations and thanks are due to MLGSCA and the Awards Committee for approving my professional development grant request.  Wow, what a whirlwind it was attending MLA2017: Dream, Dare, Do.  The best part for me was connecting with colleagues, or as MJ Tooey (University of Maryland, Baltimore) would say, “frolleagues” (pronounced frah-leagues) these are our friend-colleagues.  MJ welcomed mentors and mentees at the New Members/First-Time Attendee breakfast on Sunday morning, bright and early 7am.  We ate and rotated through speed-dating-like 3-minute introductions to several librarians.  I formally introduced myself to my first-time attendee roommate Helen Chang (St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Stockton,) met my assigned mentee Joy Rodriguez (Kaiser, Fresno) and chatted with a couple other first-timers.  MJ reminded us to keep a smile on and introduce ourselves and start conversations with as many frolleagues as possible as we navigated the conference for the next four days.

Andrea Harrow (Spring 2017 Professional Development Awardee) and Helen Chang (her roommate for MLA2017)

Andrea Harrow (Spring 2017 Professional Development Awardee) and Helen Chang (her roommate for MLA2017)

MLA and NLM Updates and Plenary Speakers:  Teresa Knott, outgoing MLA President welcomed us both tearfully and joyfully and gave us a synopsis of MLA achievements and goals for the past and future two years, as she bid us farewell.  Teresa’s list of accomplishments included working on the MLA Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success.  All MLA members are encouraged to review the competencies on the new educational platform MEDLIB-ED (on and complete a self-assessment on how we are doing and where we need more education and experience.  Teresa also announced a newly endowed MLA Research department that would bestow grant monies to MLA members seeking research support.

John P McGovern Award lecture:  Calling all Adventure Librarians… Julie Angus, adventurer, author and scientist said she could have used your help when she and her husband were preparing to travel 43,000 miles by bike and rowboat to circumnavigate the planet.  The dream may sound extreme, but the actuality of what they endured, hurricanes, near-misses with freighters, unrelenting sun and 4 months at sea, almost defies belief.  Some considered the couple foolhardy, but I think they proved themselves well prepared and resilient to have survived an unusually early and perilous hurricane season… in a rowboat!

The Open Forum later that day, “Activism in a Time of Turbulence” gave us some reassurance that change is the only constant.  Katie Gibbs explained to us that Canada had gone through anti-science rhetoric and policy under the previous Harper administration, similar to what we are now experiencing under Trump.  She is affiliated with the group Evidence for Democracy which asks Canadian politicians to take the Science Pledge to safeguard “honest and timely communication of scientific information; and make public the evidence considered in government decisions.”

Janet Doe Award Lecture: Julia Sollenberger (University of Rochester) presented, “Looking inside Ourselves: A Culture of Kindness” and asked us all to look inside ourselves toward a bio-psycho-social model of health and disease.  Julia had attended a four-day retreat near Rochester, MN to get inside and experience mindfulness herself.  She cited eminent physicians and their work with evidence-based mindful practice and stress reduction in healthcare.  These same practices are translatable to any workplace environment, or relationship.  “We have control of how we interpret reality and our response to it.”

Joseph Leiter NLM/MLA Lecture: Patricia “Patty” Flatley Brennan spoke with passion about Data Powered Health and the NLM being a Platform for Discovery, and a Pathway to Engagement.  NLM will be a hub (not a dump!) for data science, and will Collect and Preserve with Purpose.  Patty reported that data sets and models would be searchable with a PubMed-like interface.  NLM will provide a resource center for storage options to make data access fair, will provide guidelines, and train the next generation workforce of data science specialists.  Policy will emphasize permissive and confidential access to data.  Technology will enable “Care between the care” – going where care happens, i.e. cellphones and home devices to bring continuing care and alerts back and forth between the patient and provider.

Plenary Session 5: Hope Jahren, award-winning scientist, professor of geo/paleobiology, and author read to us from her best-selling book, Lab Girl, 2016.  Hope would be anyone’s dream professor but she had some outdated ideas about libraries and librarians, “static and dependable” were the terms she used to describe libraries.  I guess we still have some work to do in upending stereotypes and preconceived ideas about librarians.  I wish Hope could have recognized us as fellow scientists.

Diversity and Inclusion, and Relevant Issues:  I attended a forum, presentations and Special Interest Group (SIG) for these two topics which shared many of the same social justice, human rights concerns.  Our “differently-abled” friends, colleagues, and patrons are also known as “functionally diverse.”

Clinical Librarian:  This was another conference education theme that appealed to me.  In addition to established clinical rounds with medical students and resident programs, clinical librarians are finding consult opportunity during “turnover rounds” as well as with patient information consults during hospital stays.  A patient information consult has an ICD-10 code for billing, but not yet so for library consult.

Kevin Baliozian (MLA Executive Director) and Andrea Harrow (Spring 2017 Professional Development Awardee)

Kevin Baliozian (MLA Executive Director) and Andrea Harrow (Spring 2017 Professional Development Awardee)

MLGSCA, NCNMLG, Grants & Scholarships Committee business meetings: Chapter, Section, and SIG meetings offer another opportunity to meet and collaborate with frolleagues.  The MLGSCA meeting offered opportunity for discussing educational, recruitment and social connection needs.  With the plethora of MLA webinar offerings, local face-to-face meetings with a CE component are gaining value and may be making a comeback.  Knowing the MLA webinar schedule in advance will help Chapters to plan topics that complement, but do not duplicate MLA CE offerings.  MLGSCA Library tours and happy hours were also proposed, as was mentoring for publication and poster creation.

Andrea Harrow (Spring 2017 Professional Development Awardee), unknown (MLA 2017 Attendee), and Joy Rodriguez (Andrea's mentor)

Andrea Harrow (Spring 2017 Professional Development Awardee), unknown (MLA 2017 Attendee), and Joy Rodriguez (Andrea’s mentor)

What I missed… I missed plenty!  I do regret missing the Hospital Libraries Section, Cancer Libraries Section meetings due to concurrent scheduling conflicts.  I am extremely humbled to have received the Scroll of Exemplary Service from the HLS. It means a lot to a solo librarian to be recognized by her peers!

Submitted by Andrea Harrow (Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles)

Congratulations, Andrea, once again.

To learn more about the MLGSCA Professional Development Award, visit

To read more about MLA2017, visit


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