Health Reference and You: Guidelines, Best Practices, and Strategies

Tuesday, 5/16/2017
  • 12:00 PM-1:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 11:00 AM-12:00 PM (Central)
  • 10:00 AM-11:00 AM (Mountain)
  • 9:00 AM-10:00 AM (Pacific)

Answering health and medical reference questions can be challenging, as the questions are often sensitive in nature, are asked at what may be a crisis point in a patron’s life, and can involve technical material. Luckily, the RUSA Health and Medical Reference Guidelines were revised in 2015, and provide a basis for discussing best practices and strategies for helping patrons in this area. This webinar will present the guidelines, highlight some of these practices, and introduce a new “Quick Start” guide connecting the guidelines to suggested reference behaviors, in order provide high quality health and medical reference service. Reference scenarios will be presented in order to apply these strategies to real life situations, and attendees will be encouraged to identify a new approach they have learned that they will use with patrons moving forward.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learning Outcome 1: Attendees will know the existence of and location of the Health and Medical Reference Guidelines
  • Learning Outcome 2: Attendees will be able to demonstrate at least three connections between the guidelines and reference practice with patrons (for example, translating guideline 2.5 “Staff should be welcoming” into, making eye contact, listening attentively, etc.)
  • Learning Outcome 3: Attendees will identify one new action or strategy they will use with patrons going forward

Who Should Attend

The Guidelines were created to be responsive to the needs of any type of library: Academic, Community College, Corporate, Medical, Prison Library, Public, Regional System, Research Library, Special, Undergraduate, etc. Those working in Adult Services, Guidelines and Standards, Outreach Services, Public Services, and Reference Services would have the most direct interest. Any staff who work with the public would benefit from learning more about how to connect with patrons around these topics. The scenarios discussed will be mainly, but not exclusively, drawn from public libraries.


Ann Glusker is a Research & Data Coordinator at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, at the University of Washington. She has also worked as the Consumer Health Librarian at The Seattle Public Library, as a medical librarian at a large health cooperative, and as an epidemiologist at Public Health – Seattle & King County, answering data requests from researchers, government officials, and the public. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology/Demography, a Master’s degree in Public Health and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, all from the University of Washington. Her dissertation was published as a book, entitled Fertility Patterns of Native- and Foreign-Born Women: Assimilating to Diversity.

Ann is on the Evidence Summaries team for the journal Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, is chair of the American Library Association’s RUSA/RSS Health and Medical Reference Committee, and writes a wellness blog, “Welling Up”, at Her current interests include health numeracy and literacy, and open data and data literacy



Individual registration rates are as follows:

RUSA members: $45
ALA members: $50
ALA student & retired members: $25
Non-members: $65
Group rate: $99 single login, $38/person multiple logins. (min. 2 people)

How to Register

Register online


Tech Requirements

This webinar will be offered using Adobe Connect. Please ensure that you have Adobe Flash Player Version 10.1 or later on your computer. Audio for these sessions will be streamed over computer speakers and via an optional teleconference line. You will be able to ask questions and interact with the presenter and other webinar participants via chat.

You can test your settings to verify that your computer is configured properly to participate in this webinar.


Questions about your registration should be directed to 

Technical questions about the webinar should be directed to Jennifer Cross, RUSA Web Manager, at 

Thank you and we look forward to your participation!