GO LOCAL MASSACHUSETTS CONNECTS CONSUMERS WITH VALUABLE HEALTH INFORMATION

UMass Medical School's Lamar Soutter Library collaborates with National Library of Medicine on important web-based resource 

December 14, 2005 

WORCESTER, Mass. - The people of Massachusetts have a valuable new tool in the search for health-related information with the recent launch of Go Local Massachusetts. Developed through a collaboration of the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Lamar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), Go Local Massachusetts (http://medlineplus.gov/massachusetts) is a web-based resource designed to help the public identify local health services, healthcare providers, and health-related programs across the Commonwealth.

Dedicated to providing quality and accurate medical information to the general public, the NLM developed the Go Local concept in 2003 as an extension of its MedlinePlus product, a resource that covers more than 700 health topics. While it is consistently ranked as one of the leading consumer health sites in the country and is one of the most visited websites maintained by the federal government, the NLM sought to link the information found on MedlinePlus with regional resources addressing local health care needs related to these topics through web-based Go Local portals.

With funding from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region, Massachusetts joined Indiana, North Carolina and Missouri in May 2005 as one of the first four states to publicly release a Go Local resource linked to the MedlinePlus web site. The Lamar Soutter Library  - one of eight medical libraries nationwide to be designated by the United States National Library of Medicine as a Regional Medical Library in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine - was selected to oversee this project for the state.

"As medical librarians, we play an important role in assuring that consumers have access to accurate, high-quality health information," said Lamar Soutter Library Director Elaine Martin, DA. "With Go Local Massachusetts, our library and the University of Massachusetts Medical School continue our tradition of valued public service initiatives that aim to inform the public about important issues in medicine and to improve the health of the people of the Commonwealth"

In order to make Go Local Massachusetts accessible to users, the project team led by librarian Sally Gore, MS LIS, developed "All Health is Local: Introducing Go Local Massachusetts," a promotional and instructional DVD that aims to describe the tool and raise public awareness about its usefulness. The DVD was made in collaboration with Cape Cod Community College and the Brewster Ladies' Library and will be distributed state-wide to libraries, health agencies and public access cable channels, as well as edited into public service announcements for commercial television.

"With so many health care services in Massachusetts, it can be challenging for consumers to navigate their way through many sources of information. Through Go Local Massachusetts, we have located resources across the Commonwealth that cover a broad range of health care topics and centralized the data in one user-friendly, current and informative web site," Gore explained.

Located in Bethesda, Maryland, the National Library of Medicine, the world's largest library of the health sciences, is a component of the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. The Library collects materials and provides information and research services in all areas of biomedicine and health care. For more information on the National Library of Medicine and their public health information products, please visit http://www.nlm.nih.gov/.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research.  The Medical School attracts more than $174 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts. For more information visit  www.umassmed.edu.

Contact: 

Kelly Bishop, 508-856-2000