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RESPONSE TO LETTER POSTED BY:
 
Z >*********************************************************
Z >Millard Johnson PORTALS                [log in to unmask]
Z >I would rather risk failure than achieve it without risk.
Z >*********************************************************
 
 
Dear Millard,
 
In your letter, you state:
 
Z >There are two reasons to oppose something like Medhelp.  And every
Z >medical librarian should understand both of them.  You do not have to
Z >agree but you should understand:
 
Z >First -- there are plenty of people out there who think that
distributing Z >medical information is work appropriately done by "a merry
band of Z >volunteers."  These folks tend to think of librarians as
"helpers".
 
 
 
Med Help does NOT think of Medical Librarians as "helpers"!  Med Help is
well aware of the skill and education required to be a Medical Librarian!
We want to work WITH Medical Librarians NOT take over your domain!!!
 
For instance:  Were we to receive a request for information from a
patient, we would like to post it in Medlib.  For all Medical Librarians
who respond, we will GLADLY list your names and affiliations as the source
for the information you send back.  In our opinion, this becomes a
win-win-win proposition.  You personally and your employers are gaining
recognition, Med Help is one step closer to its goal and patients are
getting the most complete and accurate information available!  Imagine if
people in your local area became aware via Med Help of just how helpful
your library can be...and they began dropping in for your assistance??
 
 
Z> One librarian complained to me that the provost of the medical school
Z>referred to the library staff as "sweet girls."
 
 
Then obviously this provost is uninformed with regard to just how helpful
and informed Medical Librarians are.  Someone asked me "how do you know
you've found every possible source of information when responding to
questions?"  My answer is...we don't.  Therefore it would be wonderful to
confer with ALL available professionals when answering questions...not
just physicians or pharmacists or medical writers or medical librarians.
 
 
 
Z> Can you imagine what lawyers would say about a "a merry band of
volunteers" helping people with their legal affairs.
 
 
Personally, I'd love to see a group of lawyers volunteer to help
people with legal matters, especially if they offer their expertise in
terminology I can understand.
 
 
 
Z> Like it or not, this is the substance of your profession.  If we want
to attract the best people to the profession, we should encourage high
salary to attract them.  We do not do this when we promote volunteers to
do our work.
 
 
Med Help does NOT want to take the place of Medical Librarians!!  We want
to work WITH you....asking for your help and in turn offering you greater
recognition....and accessibility.  Please bear in mind that the medical
information we offer is in lay terminology ONLY. It is my understanding
that Medical Librarians are not allowed to translate technical papers into
lay terms.  Perhaps I am misguided?
 
Z >  I would certainly NOT support asking the National Library of
Z > Medicine to fund a volunteer program to do work that should be led by
Z > professional librarians.
Z >
Z >Second -- this is being done by volunteers because there is a need, and
Z >we professional librarians have failed to satisfy that need.  Public
Z >reference is part of the virtual medical library.  If we agreed that t
Z >important work for medical librarians to undertake, our turf -- to be
Z >blunt -- and if we had the leadership in the MLA to do it, we could do
Z >easily and effectively.  And we could insure quality and permanence
that a volunteer group could not.  If we think that volunteers are our
peer indistinguishable from MLS, certified medical librarians for
providing health care information, we should drop the pretense of
professionalism because that is what we stand for.
 
 
 
Again, perhaps I'm misguided, but do Medical Librarians offer answers (in
lay terminology) to specific medical questions, posed by patients?  If you
do, then PLEASE get the word out to the general population!!!  If you do
not, then why don't we work together for the benefit of everyone?
 
Cindy Thompson
Med Help International Inc.
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
 
 
 
 
 
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 ~ WinQwk 2.0b#1397 ~ grep..grep..grep... (Frog w/UNIX stuck in throat)
 
 
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