New Neighborhood Provides Health Information

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library hopes a certain corner will soon become the public's "neighborhood" for health information.

Lenora Kinzie is director of library services for Stormont-Vail HealthCare. She also serves on the library's Health Advisory Board. She says giving people access to information is the first step in improving their health literacy. She says many people want to help people improve their help, including doctors and pharmacists. She says librarians are part of that team, since their job is to provide information.

Stormont earned a grant from the Medical Library Association to be one of nine pilot sites for projects to improve health literacy. The result is a partnership with the public library, Stormont-Vail, St. Francis and other health care providers for the "Health Information Neighborhood," consolidating health information in one area.

The effort also involves the Information Rx program. Doctors will be given a special pad to write a "prescription" for key words and terms. A patient can then take that to the library for the librarian to search for information those topics.

The Health Information Neighborhood features thousands of books, arranged by health topic, videos, a machine to check your blood pressure, computers linked to reputable web sites for medical information, and special bags people can check out - each stuffed with preselected materials on one of more than 70 common diseases or health issues.

The library will host a ribbon cutting for the Health Information Neighborhood at 4:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 25. The event includes a presentation on family health and fitness at 6:30 pm by Dr. Felicia Stoler from TLC's "Honey We're Killing the Kids."