Sunday, August 31, 2008

I take this one personally

Nearly 8 years ago I finally did what I had been dreading for 29 years: I stopped smoking. The journey to cessation was amazing and life-altering, entailing lots of learning. I didn't just learn about what smoking does to bodies, but about my own fears and anxieties around cessation, and how important a community of support is in change.

You could say that this class was more than 8 years in the making. I will be telling (briefly!) my own story, but also asking for your own experience. Without pressure, I'll also share a few good resources so when you're ready, you'll know where to find good info on medications, community support, and more (and who knows, we may even begin our own smoking cessation support group).

Second Life is a community. Let's come together for health!

Carolina Keats

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Notecard text:
Consumer Health Information at Healthinfo Island: The Workshop

Have you always wanted to learn more about consumer health information services? Join us on Wednesday, September 3 at 11:00 a.m. SL time for a one hour hands-on class!

Location is on Healthinfo Island in the classroom area:

This is intended for
you, if you:
  • have little or no experience with consumer health information
  • are interested in joining the active SL Health Librarians group, including helping to provide coverage on Healthinfo Island for tours and other activities
Expect to walk (or fly!) away with a basic awareness of the following:
  • Reference skills (what do I need to remember? What are some dos and dont's?)
  • Basic resources: links and tips
  • Health information literacy - and and easy way to measure content for readability
  • Credibility in a virtual environment: Resource quality evaluation, transparency, and knowing when to refer
The content of this workshop was used to train staff (including paraprofessionals) at the Duke University Medical Center Library, and is adapted for use in Second Life. If there is sufficient interest we will plan a second class for more advanced skills.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Updated study finds 56% of Americans seek health information - up from 38%

A tremendous jump in health information seeking between 2001 and 2007 is reported in a new report by the Study for Seeking Health System Change. Full content of the study's findings is available online. Looking at the graph above, I find it interesting that overall, people are reporting they use media sources, peers, and the internet at about the same rate to learn more about health issues - a very significant change in the way we look for health information.
The most striking finding on the impact of health information is that four of five information seekers found information that helped them to better understand how to treat an illness or condition. This positive impact on consumers’ health knowledge was consistently high across demographic subgroups (HSC Tracking Report No. 20).
The authors conclude that increased health information seeking by consumers may be a result of the awareness that physicians have less time, and call for health policy organizations to find ways to make good health information easier to find.

I disagree somewhat with the recommendation: There is fantastic information available now. To begin with, serves as a huge portal source to many, many other top-quality health association sites. Where I find gaps is in the consumer awareness of resources, and perhaps in the complexity of the resources. I have seldom encountered a consumer who is familiar with MedlinePlus, and when I introduce it, they are usually astounded and impressed (and perhaps, a bit intimidated) by the sheer volume of information. If I were Health Information Czar :) I'd launch a major publicity campaign on behalf of MedlinePlus, with TV and radio spots, with personal narratives, individual accounts of how people found information through that site that empowered them as partners in their own healthcare. Got Healthinfo?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wordle Image of This Blog healthInfoIsland in Second Life

Click the Small Image to see the real thing at!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Looking for Health : a workshop on finding good health information

Class is in session!
This great image, kind courtesy of Ewa Dobrogowska
thanks so much!

I'm pleased with the number of people who showed up to this first class on the brand new Virtual Ability Island! Today was also the first time I have tried using voice AND a serial chat feeder AND slides, along with typed chat, for teaching. Let me just say that it's clear to me that I am no teenager, multitasking with ease and grace.

One idea that has resulted from this class is that we need to have a group (oh no, another group!) for Healthinfo Island and Virtual Ability Island classes, workshops and events. I'm trying to find a script that I can insert into a poster ('touch here to be notified about classes') or other object.

Upon request, I am also linking here to the class transcript. Note that because I didn't get permission, I have 'anonymized' everyone except me, calling all class participants 'A'. As I did this, I thought it was probably a good practice even if people do give permission.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Second Life and Pubic Health

See the amazing use of virtual worlds for Public Health Simulations in Second Life .... To see the highquality video click here:
posted by Namro Orman on Healthinfo Island using a blogHUD : [permalink]

Sunday, August 10, 2008

ALERT: AIDS occurrence far higher than supposed

Referring to the situation as a 'wake up call,' the CDC expresses a need for action and improved or expanded education and support. See the blog post for more information - and then increase your awareness by looking at displays created on Healthinfo Island by two AIDS and HIV support groups who share our space.

For 'real world' information please visit the site, and also For questions and health information support free of charge, contact Carolina Keats, medical and consumer health librarian, in Second Life.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Please help us spread the word

Join us on Saturday, August 16th at 1 PM SLT to celebrate the Grand Opening of Virtual Ability Island.

The island was developed with a new resident orientation center, advanced tutorials, and training facilities for individuals with disabilities or chronic health conditions.

The entire island is accessibility-friendly for new and experienced residents and will provide ongoing classes for people who want to search for and evaluate health information.

Funding came through an initial grant from the National Library of Medicine to the Alliance Library System and is sustained by the generosity of individual contributors to Virtual Ability, Inc. We are excited to present this important resource to members of the Second Life community!

Location: Virtual Ability Island

Contact Carolina Keats or Eme Capalini, inworld, for more information.