These days there is so much information available online that it can be overwhelming and confusing trying to navigate all the different sources. Resources like Webmd and Wikipedia provide a wealth of available information, but knowing what should apply to your own situation, and what information can be trusted, is often difficult to determine. Applying the wrong information or trusting the wrong source can lead people down frustrating, expensive, and sometimes dangerous paths in their medical decision making.
There is an exciting new service available at the Lewes Public Library that aims to help people navigate all the health information available to them with the assistance of a highly experienced health information professional, free of charge. Dana Ravyn, PhD, MPH, CHIS, has decades of experience in the medical information field. She was a medical educator and researcher at the University of Minnesota before moving to Delaware and continuing her career as a professional medical writer who helps create the educational material used in the training of doctors and nurses. Dana’s services are available at the Lewes Public Library on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Small Meeting Room of the Lewes Public Library. No appointment is necessary, and services are offered on a first come, first served basis. There is no charge, as Dana’s services are funded by a grant from the National Library of Medicine. Dana’s services are totally confidential.
“People want to understand their health but often don’t know where to find reliable information. The programs and services at Lewes Public Library empower people to find, evaluate, and use authoritative health information for themselves and loved ones.” – Dana Ravyn, PhD, MPH, CHIS
The service will help you find trustworthy and up-to-date information about your health, your medical tests, your medications, and will help you make healthy and informed decisions about your physical and mental health. The service does not offer medical advice, interpret test results, or assist with insurance decision making. The service can be of particular value to LGBT folks who need help navigating medical information pertinent to their lives, from information about monkeypox vaccination to hormone replacement therapy, or the mental health challenges prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community. Dana can coordinate with a licensed social worker if someone who comes to her needs help finding medical or mental health care.
The service will help you understand verbal and written information from healthcare providers, give you confidence that you are using trustworthy and up-to-date sources in your decision making, and help you avoid falling into medical scams. The service helps to provide Delewareans with the resources to obtain higher medical literacy. Low medical literacy is associated with greater mortality, longer hospital stays, more emergency room visits, and higher medical costs. For more information on Dana’s services, please call the Lewes Public Library at 302-645-2733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to Dana’s services, the Lewes Public Library offers an array of other programs to assist the public. Their career services include assistance with writing resumes, searching for job listings and completing applications. The social services offered include assistance applying for government social programs such as Medicaid and unemployment, help finding housing, childcare, substance abuse treatment, and much more. These social and career services are available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a licensed clinical social worker on site at the Lewes Public Library. The services do not require an appointment.
The Library also offers teleservices booths where people can attend online appointments in a quiet, safe and confidential space. In addition to medical appointments, these spaces can be used for job interviews, counseling sessions, and any other virtual sessions where individuals need a reliable, quiet and safe space. The booths are available by appointment.