Better-informed caregivers give better care, says Irving Hoffman, P.A., M.P.H., a professor at the UNC School of Medicine, director of international operations for the Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases (IGHID) and international director of UNC Project-Malawi.
For the two decades he has been at Carolina, Hoffman has built a career around improving health care, research and training in the areas of the world where Carolina has pledged to be a force for good. He recognized that to make a true difference in global health, those areas needed access to the kinds of information and resources that medical professionals have at UNC-Chapel Hill.
As Carolina’s researchers, practitioners and students build partnerships with governments and universities around the world, the HSL has become essential to improving the delivery of patient care in the developing world.
“IGHID has academic centers around the world—in Malawi, Zambia, Vietnam, Nicaragua, China, Liberia, South Africa and more,” he says. “It was clear early on that we needed the support of our Health Sciences Library in these places where those services didn’t exist.”
The HSL and its librarians have worked to extend the use of search engines and clinical guidelines and access to medical literature. They also provide via web-based training and in-country visits to support those delivering medical care, and to assess the information and training needs.
“Our Health Sciences Library is important to the members of our medical community, which includes medical students, nursing students, mid-level practitioners and clinical officers, lab technicians, anesthesia techs, those visiting other countries on rotations and for other Carolina projects—the list goes on and on,” says Hoffman.
“Because of this kind of dedication, other countries have the real-time access to important and credible health care guides and materials just as we do here at UNC Hospitals, and that has a direct influence on patient outcomes and patient lives.”
To learn more about the HSL’s global reach, see “Building capacity through collaboration” in the fall 2019 issue of Windows and online at go.unc.edu/HSLMalawi.