Cultural Competence in Healthcare

Electrocardiogram printout, medication, upturned glasses, Stethoscope

According to the 2018 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report from the AHRQ, from 2016-2017 blacks, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders received worse than whites for 40% of quality measures. For Hispanics, the level of disparity was about 35%. A systematic review published in 2017 in BMC Medical Ethics found that in most articles, evidence of implicit bias from physicians – related to race, ethnicity, age, gender, or weight – was present and that the presence of bias correlated to a lower quality of care. Access to healthcare is limited by other factors as well, including language barriers and low literacy.

The goal of culturally competent health care services is to provide the highest quality of care to every patient, regardless of race, ethnicity, cultural background, English proficiency or literacy (Georgetown University). The Biomedical Libraries support the Geisel and Dartmouth-Hitchcock communities by providing resources for increasing knowledge, skills, and cultural awareness. We can help you find patient education materials in languages other than English, data on healthcare disparities, and current practices in culturally competent care.

Visit our research guide on Cultural Competence in Healthcare for a curated collection of websites, journals, and books addressing healthcare needs of LBTQ+ individuals, American Indians, and minority groups in rural, urban, and global settings. Please also reach out to us if you have any suggestions for resource additions for this guide!

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Educational Materials for Patients

Many patients find it helpful to receive patient education materials at physician visits to refer to when they get home. These materials can include information about a new diagnosis, prescription information (what are they taking, why, and frequency/dosage), future reading about their condition or even information they can use to help explain medical information to a child.

Patient education materials take many forms—consider here how you yourself retain information best. It could be helpful to provide written information, visual information, or even videos or comics for your patients to take home with them. The good news is that high-quality health information can come in all shapes and sizes. There is something for almost everyone!

You might simply print off a handout from a library resource like UpToDate, or a reliable web resource like MedlinePlus or the Mayo Clinic. To access UptoDate’s entire patient education collection, make sure you’re logged in or accessing from the Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries’ homepage.

UpToDate allows you to:

  • Browse by category (everything from Allergies & Asthma to Women’s health issues)
    • To explore the contents of any category, click on the header, i.e. “Surgery”
    • A great example of the information available here is the handout “Questions to ask if you are having surgery or a procedure (The Basics)”
  • You’ll also find patient education material embedded within the content for many other topic pages on UpToDate—before you give this to a patient, make sure you’re selecting the “Information for Patients” tab as it will be written in the plainest language
  • Search specifically for patient education articles in UpToDate by searching on “patient info” and your patient’s keyword of interest

Explore MedlinePlus, which contains 1000+ topic pages on diseases, illness, health conditions and wellness issues written in plain language:

  • Search for a specific condition or topic—topic pages make for excellent reading once your patient gets home as they will find way to explore the basics of a condition, diagnosis and tests, therapies, ongoing research (including links to currently recruiting clinical trials), and advocacy information
  • Provide videos and even games to help patients understand a procedure or body system

Mayo Clinic provides great online patient information:

  • Show a patient how to search by disease or condition, symptoms, or provide handouts about different tests and procedures they will be undergoing

The Matthews-Fuller Health Sciences Library on the 5th floor of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center has a collection of print books, videos, workbooks, even cookbooks, that patients and their family members are able to check out.

Your patients might even enjoy reading about health conditions in comic or graphic novel form—this popular medium, called graphic medicine, has plenty to offer interested readers of every age. (and let a librarian know if you want us to purchase one of these titles for our collection!).


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February 2020 Workshop Schedule

Are you working with large excel spreadsheets and looking for ways to improve your data management? Perhaps you’re writing a paper and are interested in utilizing a citation manager for organizing your sources and creating in-text citations. Maybe you’ve completed a literature search but don’t want to fall behind on new studies being published.

This month our workshops focus on managing your data, your references and how to stay current with what’s happening within your field of research.

Best Practices for Data Management in Excel

  • When: February 5th, 2020 from 4 – 5:00 pm
  • Where: Matthews-Fuller Library, DHMC
  • Description: Actively managing your research data is an important part of research, and Excel is one of the most widely used tools. In this workshop, we will review best practices for data management in Excel, along with tips on filenames, README files, and metadata. We’ll introduce the free version of Colectica for Excel, a tool that can help you document your spreadsheet data.
  • Registration is required for this event.

Free Citation Managers: Mendeley and Zotero

  • When: February 7th, 2020 from 7 – 8:00 am
  • Where: Matthews-Fuller Library, DHMC and Zoom
  • Description: This workshop introduces key functions of Mendeley and Zotero including installing, adding citations to your library, organizing and managing your citations, creating a bibliography, and easily inserting citations into your documents. We will discuss the differences between the two programs and when you might use each.
  • Registration is required for this event.

Keeping Current with the Latest Biomedical Research

  • When: February 14th, 2020 from 8 – 9:00 am
  • Where: Matthews-Fuller Library, DHMC
  • Description: Looking to stay up to in the ever-changing biomedical research landscape? Trying to update a literature review before it’s been published? Stop in to learn about database alerts and more!
  • Registration is required for this event.

Free Citation Managers: Mendeley and Zotero

  • When: February 19th, 2020 from 12 – 1:00 pm
  • Where: Dana Biomedical Library, Room 339 and Zoom
  • Description: This workshop introduces key functions of Mendeley and Zotero including installing, adding citations to your library, organizing and managing your citations, creating a bibliography, and easily inserting citations into your documents. We will discuss the differences between the two programs and when you might use each.
  • Registration is required for this event.
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Welcome to our New Information Access Assistant Samara Cary!

Samara standing in front of a bookshelf.Samara Cary joins us from Baker-Berry Library, where she was the night Information Access Assistant for the past two years. Previously she taught English and art for several years in Thailand and designed and crafted jigsaw puzzles for Stave Puzzles before working at Dartmouth. Samara is an artist and has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and continues her art through commissions.

Looking to see what Samara has been working on when she’s not at the library? Check out her Instagram!

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We’re Hiring a Collections Librarian

The Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries is currently seeking an innovative, service-oriented, collaborative librarian with experience in collections management and resource sharing to be our Collection Services Librarian. This new position combines management of the Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries’ collections and supervision of its resource sharing services.

The Collection Services Librarian reports to the Director of Biomedical Libraries and is a member of its management team. Working in coordination with librarians and staff, they ensure the collections of the Biomedical Libraries meet the needs of all academic departments, centers, and institutes of the Geisel School of Medicine, constituencies of clinical academic partners at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, the Department of Biological Sciences, and collaboratively support Dartmouth College’s professional schools, departments, and programs.

This person will be responsible for:

  • Managing the Biomedical Libraries’ collections budget, facilitating the selection of materials, gathering input from faculty, and collaborating with other Dartmouth Library staff to provide coordinated collections services.
  • Conducting environmental scans and assessing collections needs, using data and other analysis, of the Dartmouth community in conjunction with the liaison librarians as needed; creates and implements plans to select and deselect materials regularly.
  • Supervising the Biomedical Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan services, including managing staff.
  • Establishing relationships with information services vendors.

This is an exciting time of change, with a newly implemented ILS, Alma/Primo, and an opportunity to work with a great team to create new workflows improving service to our users. Come join our team to be part of this inspiring evolution.

We will be reviewing applications as they are received until the positions is filled, but priority consideration to those submitting applications by February 7th, 2020. More information and application at:

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January 2020 Workshop Schedule

Was one of your New Years resolutions this year to learn something new? We can help!

EndNote: Managing Citations and Bibliographies

  • When: January 28th, 2020 from 7 – 8:00 am
  • Where: Matthews-Fuller Library, DHMC and Zoom
  • Description: Managing your references is a critical part of the research process. EndNote can import references from article indexes (e.g., MEDLINE), organize references in a database, and insert citations into your paper. EndNote is purchased and installed on your computer. This workshop will cover importing references into EndNote and using it in writing papers.
  • Registration is required for this event.

Scopus and Web of Science: Feature-Rich Databases for Biomedical Literature

  • When: January 28th, 2020 from 4 – 5:00 pm
  • Where: Matthews-Fuller Library, DHMC
  • Description: Learn why Scopus and Web of Science are worth adding to your search toolkit. In addition to extensive coverage of the biomedical literature these databases have advanced citation analysis tools so you can calculate h-index, look at journal impact, and see how many times an article has been cited. These tools help you see who is citing your work and identify potential collaborators. Scopus and Web of Science include more disciplines and more formats (e.g. meeting abstracts, book chapters, and patents) than PubMed so they are critical to comprehensive searching. This workshop will also compare Web of Science and Scopus to help you decide which database is best for you.
  • Registration is required for this event.


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Film Screening: Mortality of Dreams

Doctors in scrubs working in clinicWhat are the consequences of obsessing over a dream in order to leave a legacy? And will anyone show up to see it? 81-year-old retired cardiologist Luis Vasquez dreams of a state of the art, volunteer-run hospital that will serve everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. The catch? It will be over 600 miles from Lima, in the middle of the jungle.

A man standing in front of a blue building on a dirt road.Filmed over 10 years, Mortality of Dreams follows Dr. Vasquez as he attempts to leave his legacy. Join the Biomedical Libraries and the Geisel Office for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement for a screening of the film on January 21st at 5 PM in Chilcott Auditorium. The screening will be followed by Q&A with director Angela Snow.


For more information about the film visit

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Natural Medicine and Complimentary Health Resources

A variety of herbs decoratively placed around a mortar and pestle.

“Drink a cup of golden milk before bed, the turmeric will help you sleep!” “Sour cherry supplements improved my athletic performance, you should try them too!” “Taking zinc reduces the length and symptoms of the common cold!” Do you ever hear these claims and think they sound too good to be true? There is often fair reason to be cautious about introducing homeopathic or naturopathic medicines to your current regimen—they might interact with medicines you’re already taking, they might be contraindicated for a condition you have, and there might be no evidence at all that they are helpful in any way.

Librarians love finding the evidence that supports or disproves medical claims (to say nothing of miraculous claims!), and we have a few handy resources available to help out with researcher questions about homeopathic or naturopathic medicines. These resources are all evidence-based and are all appropriate for patient care.

The Biomedical Libraries provides subscription access to a robust database for these particular research questions—Natural Medicines. Make sure to access the database from the Biomedical Libraries homepage for full access to the resource. You can use Natural Medicines to research supplements, complementary and integrative medicines, and condition-specific interventions. Some quick tips for using Natural Medicines:

  • Use the Interaction Checker to see if a supplement interacts with a prescription drug
  • Use the Pregnancy & Lactation Checker to see if a supplement is safe for a pregnant or breastfeeding person (and infant)
  • Search using the Effectiveness Checker to quickly find out if scientific evidence exists to back up the efficacy of a supplement or medicine

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, provides excellent herbal and botanical health information, and additional evidence-based support for questions of this nature. Some quick tips for using NCCIH (no subscription access necessary):

  • Explore Herbs at a Glance to find out more about the efficacy, safety, and cautions of taking certain herbs
  • Find evidence-based research for topics from A-Z (or, from Acai to Zinc!)
  • Quickly investigate clinical practice guidelines related to allergy, family medicine, pain management, women’s health (and more)

MedlinePlus, from the National Library of Medicine, compiles relatable and accessible information about herbs and supplements. This A-Z list is easy to browse and provides quick information about the effectiveness, dosage and drug interactions of the listed herbs and supplements.

For additional information about these resources and the other resources, the Biomedical Libraries provides, stop at one of our library locations and ask to meet with a librarian (or make an appointment with us online). We’re happy to work with you on your research questions!

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Happy 2020: Library Hours Update

An adult hand holding a lit sparkler

As you ring in the New Year, please keep in mind that our Service Desks will remain closed until normal hours resume on January 2nd 2020.

Thinking about learning some new things as a part of your New Years resolution? Use your NetID to log into Linkedin Learning (formerly and learn the latest software tools and skills through high-quality instructional videos taught by recognized industry experts.

We hope you have a happy and safe New Year!

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December 2019 Holiday Hours

Heart shaped mug filled with steaming coffee sitting in the snow.

Congratulations to everyone who finished finals last week! We hope that everyone traveling over the holidays stays safe and warm.

Please note that the library service desk will be closed starting Monday, December 23rd, 2019 (today) through January 1st, 2020.

Regular hours will resume on Thursday, January 2nd, 2020.


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