AAAS Healthy People Series Shows Impact with Honors, New Volume
Asthma and Allergies:
The Science Inside
The Science Inside
AAAS's Healthy People 2010 Library Initiative is celebrating two big accomplishments: A 2004 volume on asthma and allergies has just been honored in the National Health Information Awards, and a new volume on biomedical research debuts this week.
"Asthma and Allergies: The Science Inside" has won the bronze award for a book in the patient education information class, coming in just behind the "American Medical Association Family Medical Guide."
And Healthy People this week released the latest booklet in its series, "Your Health: The Science Inside." The booklet is a primer on the benefits and challenges of biomedical research and how such research affects our daily lives.
"I believe that the Healthy People series breaks new ground in providing the science behind health issues and bringing critical resources to the library community," said Shirley Malcom, head of Education and Human Resources at AAAS.
"It is wonderful to be recognized for this work. I am excited that there is a real appreciation for our efforts to show how research links to health. The new volume is different from past ones where the science was linked to a particular condition. It is more general, seeking to tell the story of science, what it is and what it is not. It tries to say why science makes a difference to people in a most personal way and why we must protect the integrity of the process."
The AAAS Healthy People initiative is funded by a $1.3 million Science Education Partnership Award from the National Center for Research Resources at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It aims to educate the public, particularly in low-income and minority communities, about health and disease and to empower libraries to take a lead in these efforts. Since it began the project in 2000, AAAS has produced six "The Science Inside" booklets on topics such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes and high blood pressure.
These topics were chosen because they disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities, according to Kirstin Fearnley, a program associate with the Healthy People Library Project at AAAS. The booklets are freely available at many of the nation's libraries and also through the Healthy People website.
The new booklet describes the progress in biomedical research over the last 150 yearssince the time before people understood that germs cause diseaseand encourages readers to take charge of their own health.
Fearnley imagines that a typical reader for this booklet would be someone who is interested in biomedical research in general and may have questions about how we have used our understanding of disease to change our behaviors and practices.
"This book could be for someone who has learned about a medical advance and then asks, 'Is that really what happened?' We try to present a balanced reporttelling both good and badabout the way health science has been used in the past and how researchers are trying to use it now," she said.
The booklet notes that we are surrounded with medical advice but that this abundance can be overwhelming. By describing how scientists know what they know and how they look for new information, the volume should help readers think like scientists about their own health.
The National Health Information Awards program, now in its 12th year, recognizes the best consumer health information materials and programs from organizations throughout the nation. The awards are organized by the Health Information Resource Center, a national clearinghouse for consumer health programs and materials.
Kathy Wren and Edward W. Lempinen
29 August 2005