Partnering in Guatemala with clinical researchers and librarians within the Guatemala-Penn Partnership

The Biomedical Library has been an active member of the Guatemala-Penn Partnership for many years and recently I was able to contribute to its ongoing work. From January 9th – 12th of this year, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Guatemala and further the Penn Libraries’ involvement in the Partnership. For this, I led two activities with different stakeholder groups of the Partnership: junior clinical researchers and librarians.

Implementation Science Short Course for junior clinical researchers.    I taught a section of a short course at El Sanatorio Pilar, a well-known hospital in Guatemala City. The short course dealt with the increasingly important topic in healthcare of Implementation Science, which has emerged as a discipline to bridge the research-to-practice gap. The course was led by Penn’s Dr. Fran Barg and Dr. Judy Shea, and organized by Penn’s Dr. Kent Bream, along with Dr. Sergio Martinez Siekavizza of Francisco Marroquín University and Dr. Erwin Calgua of the University of San Carlos School of Medicine and El Sanatorio Pilar (also a Penn graduate, MSCE 2016). The audience of the workshop was Guatemalan junior clinical researchers, interested in furthering their research skills and knowledge of current trends in biomedical sciences. My part of the short course dealt with literature searching and citation management. The reception by the course attendants was very warm and they raised excellent questions. All in all, it was a great experience, and it was the first time I taught a library science session completely in Spanish!

Spearheading a consortia of Guatemalan health sciences libraries.  Another part of my visit was devoted to advance an initiative to increase access to electronic journals in Guatemalan health sciences libraries. Dr. Erwin Calgua convened a group of librarians representing the major health sciences academic and research institutions in Guatemala City. These institutions included  Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Universidad de San Carlos, Universidad del Valle, and the Instituto de Nutrición de Centroamérica y Panamá. The goal of the meeting was to facilitate a conversation about establishing a consortium for e-journals among these institutions. To prepare myself for the meeting, I met in advance with my colleague Sarah Wipperman, Penn’s Scholarly Communications & Digital Repository Librarian, who is an experienced facilitator. I also met with my Penn colleagues Jeanne Shuttleworth, Director of Acquisitions, Access and Licensing, and Brigitte Weinsteiger, Associate University Librarian for Collections, who provided much valuable advice on what effective library consortia can accomplish. The conversation with my Guatemalan librarian colleagues was delightful and we all learned about each other’s libraries’ approach to electronic journal collections. We came out of the meeting with a plan to move forward and we are now working on a project that may help them, in the long term, move towards a consolidation of the consortium in the future. Stay tuned in Biomeditations to learn more about this project!

Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Bream and the Perelman School of Medicine’s Center for Global Health for their support in including the Biomedical Library in these initiatives.

Categories: News

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