Health Library Informaticist Blaisdell Medical Library, UC Davis Sacramento
Background: Health sciences libraries are hubs offering centralized resources and services to expand the knowledge and efficiencies of their communities. Increasingly with the growth of big data, open data, and the electronic health record (EHR), clinical and translational researchers must be more data literate. At our biomedical campus, we noticed an increased need for data literacy training, including assistance with navigating health system components related to data across the research lifecycle. Engaging with key stakeholders, we advocated and garnered support for our desire to facilitate fulfilling this need, framing conversations around meeting significant institutional objectives, maximizing efficiencies, and achieving growth potential.
Description: Just as the communities in which we exist are interprofessional in nature in order to achieve all needs of research, patient care, and education, our libraries also need to have personnel with skillsets reflective of the 21st century information environment where “information” includes not only literature, but data (including EHR data). We worked with leadership in the school of medicine and the clinical and translational science center to co-fund a new librarian position (the “informaticist”) focused on meeting the needs for data literacy training and health sciences data landscape navigation. We recruited across a variety of professions – information science, public health, informatics, and more – to achieve our goal of filling this informaticist role with a person knowledgeable in the complexities of privacy, compliance, data systems, and the research data lifecycle.
Conclusion: Advocating for co-sponsorship of this interprofessional role increased the library’s visibility as an important campus partner in meeting strategic goals of increasing institution-wide data literacy and preparation for conducting and navigating data-driven research, which in turn increase institutional competitive advantage and provide efficiencies in research and education. Capitalizing on interprofessional expertise of an informaticist, such as in informatics and privacy, brings more breadth and depth of partnership opportunities to the library. We already see that successes in this role solidify the library’s position as a vibrant hub for growing knowledge around compliant and evidence-based data creation, use, and dissemination.