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J Med Libr Assoc. 2007 Jul;95(3):330-6.

Addressing health disparities and environmental justice: the National Library of Medicine's Environmental Health Information Outreach Program.

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  • 1Office of Outreach and Special Populations, Division of Specialized Information Services, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



Disparities in health between minority and majority populations have become a topic of high interest in the health care and information communities. This paper describes the National Library of Medicine's (NLM's) oldest outreach program to a minority population, a project that has been going on for over fifteen years.


The overview is based on internal documentation and reports, interviews, personal communications, and project reports.


This is a historical overview of the Environmental Health Information Outreach Program, from its beginnings in 1991 as the Toxicology Information Outreach Project. The initial collaboration began with nine historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that had graduate programs in biomedicine. The current program includes representation from HBCUs, institutions serving Hispanic students, and tribal colleges. In addition to working with these institutions to promote the use of and access to electronic health information and related technology, this program brings attention to scientific research related to health issues that disproportionately affect minorities.


The program expanded due to its perceived success by the initial participants and NLM's management. Not only have faculty, staff, and students at the participating institutions received training in using NLM's toxicology, environmental health, and other electronic resources, but the participants ascribe other successes to their collaboration with NLM.

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