UNYOC Professional Development Blog Post – Michelle Zafron

(The following is a blog post from Michelle Zafron, MLS, one of the 2019 winners of the UNYOC Professional Development Award).

UNYOC, thank you for awarding me the UNYOC/MLA Professional Development Scholarship! This May, I attended the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association in Chicago, Illinois. It was a busy but very productive meeting for me. As a member of the National Program Committee for MLA 2020, there was a lot of work to do planning the next conference! I also volunteered at the Resume Review Clinic helping medical librarians with their resumés and cover letters. This is always something I really look forward to and this year was no exception. I love giving back to our profession and this is a rewarding way to do it.

I took in quite a lot of programming, but some of the highlights included a session that had a strong evidence-based practice focus. One presentation was “#BLESS: Starting a systematic review service from the ground up.” Librarians at UCLA designed an intake form that helps them streamline requests for systematic reviews (SR). As I have served as both a consultant and an active team member on SRs, I was really interested in their approach, which established policies. I was also inspired by their intake form, which includes a user agreement that librarians will be authors on any publications resulting from the projects.

Another talk, which was very relevant to me, was “Designing a brand new evidence-based research course to first semester physical therapy graduate students” as the speaker’s experience mirrors my own with one of my constituent groups. Using some of the ideas that came up during the talk and also afterwards in an informal discussion with the presenter and some other librarians who also work with this population, I was able to strengthen my teaching in a similar physical therapy course this fall.

Perhaps the most impactful part of the meeting, though, was the plenary that Nadya Okamuto gave on “period poverty.” This impacts women and girls all over the globe. Her organization, which she co-founded as a high school student, aims to help provide access to menstrual hygiene products, to educate, and to influence policy makers. I was so impressed with the breadth and depth of the organization. I work with public health practitioners so this really resonated with me. It was a truly inspirational talk.

Again, thank you UNYOC for this award.