The MLA Annual meeting was five months ago and as it gets cold in parts of the main land I am sure we will all have fond memories of Hawaii.  The next meeting is in Washington D.C. and it will be here before we know it.  So as we turn our attention to the 2010 meeting I have disabled the comments on this blog.  The number of people commenting on library related issues in porportion to the spam has made this necessary.

Thanks to the Cancer Librarians Section, the Dental Section, and to StatRef for sponsoring the Third Annual Lecture on the Evidence Base. Annie Hughes has already blogged about this session, so I have just a few additional notes to share.

The session moderator was Michael Kronenfeld, Director of the Learning Resource Center at A.T. Still University, Arizona campus. Kronenfeld did an excellent job of setting the stage for this panel discussion. He also sought out those of us who were clacking away on our keyboards during the session to ask if we were blogging it. Yes, we were!


The last MLA plenary session on Wednesday was presented by Terry Shintani, M.D., Associate Chair of the Department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine at University of Hawaii. He is the author of eight books and referred to them, as well as his peer-reviewed journal articles, throughout his presentation.

Dr. Shintani has an interesting educational background with degrees in business (undergraduate), law, and public health. In medical school, he became frustrated because he found he was not learning how to cure people, just “how to minimize the damage.” As a result, he went to Boston to study nutrition and ended up establishing the non-profit Hawaii Health Foundation to coordinate his mission “to promote world health.”

According to a JAMA study report he cited, medications (adverse reactions, overdosing, etc.) are the fourth leading cause of death in terms of numbers (106,000) of Americans each year. He commented on the “malignant mindset” we have now that pharmaceuticals make us healthy. He maintained that by definition, we are unhealthy if we need to take pharmaceuticals to manage disease mechanisms.

We’ve all seen the statistics and graphics showing the impact of obesity, so Dr Shintani grabbed the attention of the audience by promising we can eat twice as much food and still lose weight. His answer is described in his books and basically is to eat more fruits and vegetables (75% of diet) and little to no meat or dairy. His Hawaii diet does not count or restrict calories but instead restricts the foods to be eaten. During the question and answer period, he advocated the need for exercise to raise metabolic rates and stress management as well, both topics that could be long presentations in themselves.

This was an interesting presentation, and I am sure more than a few of us will be verifying the references he mentioned as he debunked nutrition myths, checking out Dr. Shintani’s Web site for additional information on the Hawaii diet, and thinking twice before we order our next fast food meal.

Check out #mla09 tweets from this morning – Michelle Kraft and I posted a few.

Dr. Ben Young was a WONDERFUL selection as this year’s Leiter Lecturer. The lecture was captivating from start to finish. “The impact of diseases on Hawai’i's medical history” began with some entertaining personal stories about Ben Young’s interest in Hawaiian history.

Would you believe this amazing find from a New Orleans shop? Purchased in the 1970s for $125, Young later learned that the certificate awarded by Queen Lili’ukalani (for services rendered to King Kalakaua) was worth more than $1,000 and the (gold) medal about $10,000. He still has both items.

Ben Young: medal of honor and certificate

Medal of honor and certificate, found by Ben Young in New Orleans

Ben Young was one of the builders of the famous canoe, the Hokule’a, which was first launched in 1975. He was also the physician for its 1976 voyage from Hawai’i to Polynesia.

In transition to his lecture on the impact of introduced diseases, Young mentioned the roles of ancient Hawaiian physicians (Kahuna), such as obstetrician, herbalist, diagnostician, and psychiatrist. (See for more information.)

I’m sure that most of you are aware of the many sad examples of native populations decimated by introduced diseases, and Hawai’i was no exception.

Ben Young: timeline of diseases

Ben Young: timeline of diseases

Ben Young: 58% decline in Hawaiian population

Ben Young: 58% decline in Hawaiian population

At the same time, there was a huge increase in the immigrant populations of Chinese and Japanese plantation workers in the mid-to late 1800s. The major influxes  correlate with major disease outbreaks.

More to come in post #2.

The MLA luau last night was a great way to end a fantastic conference. It started out with cocktails (i.e. one beer/wine ticket per person) and mingling near the beach. Then at least 500 people (that is probably a conservative estimate!) made their way to the tables that were set up near a large stage. Fun, edible pineapple centerpieces adorned the tables. The pineapple is so tasty here in Hawaii, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to enjoy it quite the same “on the mainland.” The wait staff first brought out some very interesting appetizers/salads (including seaweed) and then brought heaping portions of meat to each person. There was no way one person could eat all that food! Some of it was tastier than other parts, but all in all, it felt like a very authentic Hawaiian meal. While dessert was being brought to the tables, the official luau show began. We enjoyed a tour through Polynesia, seeing dances from Samoa to New Zealand to Hawaii, of course! The evening ended with the obligatory audience participation portion. To my surprise, I was dragged onto the stage to demonstrate my hula skills! It actually ended up being a lot of fun and is one of the highlights of my time in Hawaii so far!

Picture courtesy of Julia Shaw-Kokot

Picture courtesy of Julia Shaw-Kokot

As always, this year’s NLM Update included a plethora of information. I posted some notes on twitter (#mla09) during the session. In the first of three presentations from the National Library of Medicine, Dr. Lindberg (Director, NLM) presented some highlights of FY2009.

NLM is receiving about $82 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

As of 1 May 2009 included 72,012 entries: 11,481 observational and 60,333 interventional. Of 13,097 visitors, most were patients and physicians. Dr. Lindberg reminded us that it was really the scandals associated with Paxil and Vioxx that got the registry off the ground… So now we have a repository for reporting/monitoring participant flow, baseline measures, outcome measures. NLM is still working on how to report serious adverse events. Lindberg also discussed some of the QA challenges, and reminded us to look for the NCT number on studies – it’s required for all U.S. trials.

It’s the 20th anniversary of NCBI – it began with only 12 people, and has 500+ employees today. Another upcoming anniversary: 2011 will mark 175 years for the National Library of Medicine!

More to come…

Well it that time of the week.  People are saying waving goodbye to each other and chatting about post meeting plans (are you going on vacation or straight back to work).  It was a wonderful conference and I feel like I learned a lot of new things this year.  Part of the post meeting wrap up is to evaluate how programs went.  The blog is no different.  So we have created a short survey about the blog.

Please consider filling it out, your feedback will help future bloggers.


The attendance was down at this lecture that was held on the last day of the confernce.  This is usually true on the last day as many are already heading home.   This speaker is a native of Hawaii and  a physician here in Hawaii.    He shared some serendipity moments of his life that started him on his journey of study of the history of Hawaii..  His stories were quite enjoyable.  I, myself, personally love history and am totally addicted to the History Channel so this was great.    It was fun when the speaker showed a picture of the volcano in Hawaii and a bird, a real bird, flew right past the screen.   This was possible because the corridors of the convention center are all open air places.   

His focus was the history of disease..   Because this island was isolated for 1,000 years, they had not been exposed to any of our western diseases.  The arrival of the Western Europeans brought TB and venereal disease and then later influenza, small pox, leprosy and then the plague..   Because of this, within 30 years there was a 58% decline in population of the Hawaiian islands.  This speaker gave a detailed history of the establishment of the hospitals established to take care of those who had become ill and also the physicians of note who were involved in their treatment.   There  were some beautiful slides of the island of Molokai, which is the island designated for the victims of leprosy.   The speaker has even written a song about the lepers of Molokai that was played for us.

This is my first time being involved with program planning, and I thought it would be interesting to share how the process has been working so far.

On Saturday, the section program planners (or their substitutes) discussed the theme (for 2010, it is “Reflect and Connect”).  There will be limited space in DC (2010 conference location) for posters, so we were encouraged to think creatively about what this may mean as far as programming (possibly incorporating posters with presentations, having a “lightning round” poster session where poster grouped thematically have their presenters talk for a few minutes in quick succession, then have time for people to come and ask them questions).  We then shared possible ideas we’re heard from our sections and SIGs, but since all the section and SIG meeting were still to be held, this was mostly just to help get the thinking juices going.

Over the next few days of the conference, we (section/SIG planners) talked with our respective groups to garner ideas for section planning.  The section/SIG planners then met together as a group, wrote up our top three (or four) ideas on large pieces of paper posted on the walls around the room, and looked to see which other groups has similar interests and would be good partners for programming.

At this point, many program ideas have been thrown out, had partners found, and discussion and negotiation has occurred.  We now wait to see how things get compiled and will be sharing information via GoogleDocs to solidify the programs.

I just wanted to highlight some of the projects/insights from the NLM Update.  Dr. Lindbergh spent some time talking about, its history, and some of the changes that may be coming.  An interesting tidbit is that patients are the largest group of people who use, which may have implications for librarians role in promoting within a consumer health audience.

Stacy Arenson shared about the new Disaster Information project from NLM.  She explained how the military (Naval Medical Center Hospital), federal (NIH’s Clinical Center), and civilian (Suburban Hospital) hospitals are coordinating efforts in case of disaster.  Steps taken include: digital pens w/special paper to capture information electronically, protocols for tranferring patients to a non-trauma hospitals (NIH’s Clinical Center) to make room for trauma patients, and lasers on top of hospitals to communicate with each other in case other communications go down.

Sheldon Kotzin talked about NLM/s newish online journal donation program for libraries to check about donating journals they are getting rid of to NLM.  He also highlighted the online Images from the History of Medicine Collection; the images are also listed in LocatorPlus.

Of significant personal interest are online seminars from NCBI–hopefully as a replacement for the excellent NCBI classes that have previously been conducted, and were cut last year due to lack of funding.  I eagerly await the development of these seminars and commend NLM for finding another venue for training on this important resource.

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