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NLM Internship Program for Tribal Members

The dictionary defines outreach as "an organized effort to extend services beyond usual limits, as to particular segments of a community." A new initiative adds depth and breadth to the National Library of Medicine's outreach efforts to Native Americans.

In January, two members of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, Richard Mayer, management information services director, and Deborah Thompson, health administrator for the Three Affiliated Tribes, began a 1-year internship at NLM's Specialized Information Services Division. The program was created to help representatives of minority organizations learn about information technology, information dissemination and the use of health information resources. It is supported by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities and NLM.

On hand to welcome new NLM interns are (from l) Gale Dutcher, head of the Office of Outreach and Special Populations, Specialized Information Services (SIS); Kent Smith, deputy director; Marti Szczur, acting associate director, SIS; Richard Mayer, Three Affiliated Tribes; Dr. Donald Lindberg, director; Deborah Thompson, Three Affiliated Tribes; and Cynthia Gaines, technical information specialist, SIS.

Mayer and Thompson will continue their regular tribal duties during their internship. They will attend orientation and training at NLM and work with staff members involved in a wide variety of programs. They will also advise staff on the development and dissemination of materials to improve Native Americans' access to NLM's information resources.

In addition, they will travel to other parts of the country for conferences, and meet with and learn from others involved in health information dissemination and the application of information technology to improve health. The internship culminates in the development and implementation of a project to improve access to health information on the Ft. Berthold Reservation, North Dakota, home of the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The Specialized Information Services Division, where Mayer and Thompson will intern, is responsible for information resources and services in toxicology, environmental health, chemistry, HIV/AIDS, and specialized topics in minority health.

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