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Christy Kent, assistant librarian for the biomedical library at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was awarded a one-year grant by the National Institutes of Health to create a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Family Resource Center at the Hollis J. Wiseman NICU unit at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital (CWH). The grant award totals $5,000.
The center will be located inside the NICU parent education conference room and will offer health literacy instruction to existing NICU discharge classes, as well as research information services to all NICU patients on a consultation basis. The funds will also establish a place where NICU families can go to receive information about their child’s health information needs.
“Having a daughter born premature at the NICU at Children's & Women's Hospital, I was familiar with the educational opportunities and classes offered by the nursing staff to parents of preemies during their stay,” Kent said. “I saw the Health Literacy Pilot Project Award from the National Library of Medicine as a way to supplement these existing education programs and as a way to give back to this small community of professionals who are dedicated to excellence in caring for premature infants and parents as well.“
The NICU Family Resource Center project aims to raise health literacy awareness in the Mobile area by serving as a place for parents to research questions about their child's health.
“It's easy for parents to feel overwhelmed by the amount of medical information available online,” Kent said. “This project strives to educate parents on effective ways to evaluate health-related resources, while demonstrating reliable sources for consumer health information.”
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