Professional Development Grant Program Provides a Great UNYOC Experience

Thanks to a WNYLRC Professional Development Grant award, I was able to attend the annual meeting of the Upstate New York/Ontario Chapter of the Medical Library Association [UNYOC] in Poughkeepsie, NY from 10/12 to 10/14 of this year.

Although there were several reasons I wished to attend this conference, chief among them was the opportunity to take “Clinical Bioinformatics,” an 8-hour Continuing Education course taught by Dr. Diane Rein.  Bioinformatics is a rapidly evolving field that is having an impact on an array of health sciences disciplines. As someone with an ever increasing number of constituents who are performing research in this field, I felt that this course could only help me. It surpassed my expectations. Not only did I get an overview of biomedical informatics, I learned how to search tools such as OMIM, HuGE Navigator, and PharmGKB.

I was privileged to have a paper (“Outfitting future physical therapists for their voyage into professional practice” co-authored by Karen Lamson) accepted for this meeting and thanks to this grant was able to present it directly to my fellow librarians. This was beneficial as it opened up several opportunities to have dialogues with colleagues teaching similar material to similar constituent groups.

While all the presentations were informative, a few of them were exceptional. In his talk, “Knowledge…The answer to our healthcare challenges,” Dr. Danny Aronzon highlighted some of the barriers facing healthcare as a whole in an engaging and approachable way. Dr. Patricia Hale gave an enlightening presentation entitled “Advances in integration of electronic clinical knowledge and guidance in the clinician workflow,” where she discussed the implementation of electronic health record systems—specifically how these are then integrated appropriately by health care professionals.

Not quite as weighty in tone, but definitely useful for my own professional workflow were the presentations from the Gadgets and Gizmos Panel and the Technology Petting Zoo. I sometimes find it a challenge to stay current with all the new applications and tools that are continually bursting on the scene. The Gadgets and Gizmos Panel was comprised of five short presentations on emerging technological applications and websites. The Technology Petting Zoo offered us an opportunity to interact directly with several different types of technologies.

Last but not least behind my wishing to attend the UNYOC meeting was the professional networking that inevitably happens at a conference. This enables the fostering of relationships with other librarians in the region. It affords me the chance to exchange information with my peers. I always so much learn from these encounters.

I would like to thank WNYLRC for awarding me this grant. Without it, I would have been unable to attend this meeting which was truly an invaluable experience.

Michelle Zafron
Health Sciences Library
University at Buffalo

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