The mission of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) is to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health by: 1) providing all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information resources;and, 2) improving the public's access to information systems and information resources to enable them to make informed decisions about their health. The Program is coordinated by the National Library of Medicine and carried out through a nationwide network of health science libraries and information centers. The Network comprises eight geographic regions, with a contract for one Regional Medical Library to manage program activities for each region. This contract is for the RML for Region 5, which is located within and provides services to the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The NN/LM goals are: to develop collaborations among network members and other organizations to improve access to and sharing of biomedical information resources throughout the nation;to promote awareness of, access to, and use of biomedical information resources for health professionals and the public, with a particular emphasis on contributing to the Healthy People 2010 goal of eliminating health disparities;and to develop, promote, and improve electronic access to health information by network members, health professionals, and organizations providing health information to the public. A. Network Infrastructure Each RML is expected to maintain a level of programs and services to continue supporting the infrastructure of the network. Included are activities related to planning, promoting, and implementing services within the region;coordinating the activities of the region with other regions and within the national program;and serving as a contact point for the region in relation to other library and information networks or health organizations and professional associations. The network infrastructure supports health sciences libraries'collaborations with a variety of organizations, including other health sciences libraries as well as affiliate member organizations. Collaborations with affiliate network members such as public libraries and community-based organizations often lead to outreach projects with broad community impact. Specifically the contractor shall undertake the following: 1. Assessing and responding to the needs of health sciences libraries in order to support programs to improve the transfer of health care and biomedical information within their institutions and through their participation in the network; 2. Assisting NLM with the implementation of a National Emergency Preparedness Plan; 3. Obtaining ongoing feedback from users about their information system and information resources preferences, needs and uses, and recommending ways of improving health professional and consumer access to information; 4. Conducting or participating in needs assessments or surveys of users and non users of NLM and NN/LM products and services, participating in tests of new NLM products and services as well as conducting and/or participating in usability studies of NLM and NN/LM products and services when requested by NLM; B. Outreach Programs Each RML will implement an outreach program designed to provide health professionals in all parts of the region with basic information services, by maintaining or by negotiating arrangements with libraries willing to serve individuals without a library affiliation. Continued development of strong inter-institutional relationships within the region and adherence to consistently high standards of performance is expected. Health professional outreach programs include targeted programs to make underserved rural, minority, and inner city health professionals aware of available health information resources (including PubMed and other specialized NLM databases). These programs will also promote connection to the Internet by health professionals as a means of accessing the global information community. In the development of programs to improve the public's access to health information, the RMLs will work with network libraries, state library agencies, state, public and school libraries, community-based organizations, as well as other regional, state, and local organizations that provide health information to the public. Outreach efforts will focus on MedlinePlus and PubMed as resources for locating health information. Promoting the expansion of MedlinePlus GoLocal will also be a priority for the RMLs'outreach efforts. Outreach programs encompass the following types of activities: 1. Outreach to Health Professionals The contractor shall continue to develop, implement, and evaluate targeted outreach programs to bring biomedical information resources within easy reach of U.S. health professionals who still do not have access, with special focus on those in rural areas and inner cities. The RML outreach program shall focus on: special populations or subject disciplines that have been identified as priority initiatives (e.g., health disparities, minority health, health literacy, HIV/AIDS, health services research, public health);unaffiliated health professionals and health professionals in inner cities and rural areas;local/state public health departments with particular emphasis on Internet access and collaborations with other organizations/institutions that work with public health personnel;and institutions whose objective is to train minority health practitioners or those who serve minority populations, to develop specific Internet linkages so that their health professionals and students have full benefit of the information resources of the network. Health professionals serving minority populations have a special set of problems in accessing information. 2. Consumer Health Information Services NLM's mission includes providing timely, accurate, and understandable consumer health information to help patients, their families, and the public play a more active role in managing their health and health care. An NLM outreach goal is to reduce health disparities among African American, Hispanic, American Indian and Alaskan Native, and other minority populations through training to promote access to and use of health information among diverse communities. The contractor shall develop, implement, and evaluate outreach programs to increase the public's awareness of and access to high quality electronic health information. In carrying out these programs, the contractor shall work with a variety of intermediaries, including network members, health care providers, public health personnel, librarians, K-12 teachers and staff, other educators, community organizations, health advocacy groups, churches, and self help groups. The NN/LM consumer health outreach program shall include: developing programs that focus on reaching minority groups, including African American, Hispanics, and Native Americans;senior citizens;and low income populations;working with NLM, the NN/LM, and other organizations to develop tools and Internet linkages to improve access to electronic consumer health information systems at the local, state, and regional levels;developing programs to promote MedlinePlus and other NLM resources to all health professionals as a resource for them and their patients;and coordinating the development of MedlinePlus GoLocal in the region. 3. Training to Support Electronic Access to Health Information The contractor shall support training in the effective use of electronic health information resources on the Internet. Emphasis should be on reaching health professionals, public, school and other librarians, and other intermediaries who do not have access to such training or who intend to train others, including consumers. Training should focus on topics not available through other sources and should include, but not be limited to: PubMed, MedlinePlus, and other specialized NLM databases;and finding and evaluating health information resources on the Web. 4. Exhibits and Presentations at Meetings The contractor shall promote NLM and NN/LM programs and services at national, regional and state meetings of health professionals and organizations that represent minority groups or underserved members of the general public. 5. Information Technology and Policy Awareness The contractor shall develop an information technology and policy awareness program which includes the following: holding regional showcases or forums focused on the use of information technology to improve access to biomedical information and on policy issues affecting production, distribution, and access to biomedical information;and monitoring current technological and policy developments and trends to identify those that will improve access to biomedical information. In cooperation with the NNO, the contractor shall design and test systems to help support these operations within the region. 6. Library Improvement The contractor shall implement an NN/LM library improvement program, if needed, in the region. The following shall be included in this program: Identifying hospital libraries that do not have onsite Internet access to NLM resources;and developing a program to improve library services delivered to hospital staff, which may include Loaning computer and telecommunications equipment necessary to access PubMed, MedlinePlus, DOCLINE and Web services;introcucing the library manager, key staff, administrators and health professionals to the NLM systems, hardware, software and other resources available in the network to improve their access to information. 7. Connections The contractor shall develop, implement and annually update a plan to encourage high quality Internet connectivity for network members and health professionals in the region. This shall include, but not be limited to: reviewing the adequacy of the Internet connections of network members on an annual basis, reporting the results to the region and to NLM, and assisting the """"""""underconnected"""""""" in maintaining and upgrading their connections;and Identifying inner-city and rural health care organizations that are not connected to the Internet or that are under-connected;consulting with them to determine if they would benefit from assistance with connecting/upgrading their connection, and providing the needed assistance;introducing staff to PubMed, MedlinePlus and other health information resources on the Web.