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  December 4, 2000

State Residents Can Tap Medical Library
Resources via Local Libraries

Need help finding timely health information? Connecticut residents can tap into the vast resources of the UConn Health Center's medical library - and it's as close to home as your local library or your telephone.

The Lyman Maynard Stowe Library at the Health Center is linked to every public library in the state. Through Healthnet: Connecticut Consumer Health Information Network, Health Center librarians provide training, resources and reference assistance to help public librarians answer consumers' health questions. Healthnet also evaluates and prepares lists of recommended consumer health books, online databases, and Internet resources.

Consumers can access Healthnet through local public libraries or by calling Healthnet directly at (860) 679-4055.

"There is so much information available to consumers that people run the risk of missing the most relevant information or, worse yet, reading the wrong information," says Alberta Richetelle, program director of the Healthnet program. "We can help librarians and consumers find the best available resources."

The Health Center library started the Healthnet service for local librarians in 1985. As the regional medical library of New England, the Health Center library has an extensive selection of medical journals and books, as well as on-line databases like MEDLINE, the world's largest database of peer-reviewed health information. These resources, as well as Healthnet's highly trained staff, can be invaluable to Connecticut residents seeking medical information.

"Through Healthnet, we have tools to answer sensitive questions in a confidential, professional way. It's a wonderful service," says Laurel Goodgion, director of the Portland Library. She says she has referred many library patrons to the Healthnet service and adds that the training and education services offered to librarians from Healthnet are very beneficial.

"It's important for patients to be involved with their healthcare," says Granby resident Robert Brown, who used Healthnet this fall and obtained a packet of timely, easy-to-read information. "Where else could people find this information - at no cost?" he asks.

Vernon resident Jeannine Gelineau agrees. Two years ago, she found a specialist through Healthnet. "This is a great way to find accurate information," she says.

Earlier this year, Healthnet received funding from the National Medical Library to provide training to self-help groups in Connecticut about ways to find valuable health information on the Internet. Already, Healthnet and the Connecticut Self Help Network have started training self-help groups on ways to access current and authoritative resources on the Internet.

To learn more about Healthnet, and to use their recommended resource lists, visit their website at hnet.

Maureen McGuire