News: News Archives
AAAS Publishing Booklet Using Science
to Promote Healthy Pregnancy, Childbirth
AAAS's Healthy People Library Project recently issued its latest publication, Having Healthy Babies: The Science Inside.
"Every parent needs to have knowledge about the 'natural' process of reproduction," the authors write in their introduction. "This book summarizes what health professionals know about healthy babies and mothers. It also directs readers to more sources of information and to the latest scientific research."
Having Healthy Babies: The Science Inside is the second in a series of books that are being published over a six-month period to explain the science that underlies topics that are very much part of daily life for many Americansdiabetes, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, biomedical research, fitness and nutrition, asthma and allergies, and, of course, pregnancy and childbirth. AAAS published the booklet, Diabetes: The Science Inside, earlier this year.
"The booklets are aimed at the general consumer, who may not have a high level of literacy or science comprehension," said Maria Sosa, who directs the project. "We believe we have a different approach that is not prevention alone, but science."
The publications are part of a library project aimed at helping to overcome the disparities reflected in current national health statistics. With a $1.34-million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the project reaches out to mostly low-income minority communities to provide understandable information about the science of health, and to train librarians to respond to their patrons' concerns.
According to data cited by the National Center for Health Statistics, death rates from heart disease are more than 40% higher among African Americans than among whites, and death rates from cancer are 30% higher. Among Hispanics, diabetes kills a disproportionate number of peopletheir death rate is twice that of non-Hispanic whites. The federal government's Healthy People 2010 report estimates that 40 million people have no physician, health center, or clinic they can turn to regularly for health care and advice.
The library initiative, which will be evaluated for use as a national model, uses a website to provide libraries with a "tool kit" that includes brochures, posters and resources to promote public education activities. profiles of librarians around the country doing successful health outreach work, tips for librarians of where they might look for funding.
The initiative also comprises a series of outreach projects at eight libraries around the countryin Virginia, Maryland, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Rapid City, and San Francisco, where organizers set up cooking demonstrations and booths at health fairs to draw attention to the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
2 December 2003