Program Session

1 - Information Highway: Navigating the Pathway to Medical Student Success: The Implementation of an Innovative Online Program to Assess Critical Information Skills

Monday, May 29
1:05 PM - 1:20 PM
Room: 613

Objectives: To determine whether an online intervention utilizing an instant feedback mechanism was successful in assessing first-year medical students’ ability to effectively: 1) construct a research question; 2) conduct literature reviews; 3) recognize the e-Link icon to retrieve full text; 4) compare pros/cons of citation programs; 5) utilize informationist services; and whether these information skills are then applied in participants’ internships.

Methods: The specific need for this targeted intervention was identified in Fall 2014 after piloting a competitive online program for first year medical students. Upon conducting post-program semi-structured interviews with these participants, it was determined that 1) a more optimal time during the academic year was needed to launch the online program and 2) the application of learned skills needed to be linked to the respondents’ summer research internships. The second iteration of the program (Fall 2015) incorporated these changes. Next, an innovative feedback mechanism, instantaneously combining pre- and post-test surveys, was instituted to assess participants’ information skills and increase program interactivity. After the participants’ internships, a final post-test questionnaire was implemented to determine whether information skills were applied during the summer internships.

Results: The Knowledge Center’s Information Highway program, launched in Fall 2015, was designed around the 5 learning objectives above, each with a dedicated round.  The five rounds were conducted over the course of five consecutive days, one round per day.  52 first-year medical students at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons answered at least one question throughout and 29 participants played at least one full round. Seven participants completed all five rounds of the game. With the aim of participants achieving one objective daily, we found that 58% of all participants answered a question correctly on the first try. We also tracked the percentage of participants who correctly answered a question after receiving a hint via the instant feedback mechanism: 35% on day 1, 63% on day 2, 67% on day 3, 13% on day 4, and 100% on day 5, results varying by the nature of the question and participation level on a given day. In the 2015 post-test questionnaire, 100% of respondents felt prepared to apply information skills to their internship after completing Information Highway.

Conclusion: The instant feedback mechanism successfully assessed participants’ information skills. The final post-test questionnaire revealed that Information Highway prepared students to apply information skills to their summer research internships.  Future research with subsequent first-year cohorts will determine if findings may be replicated.



Program Session

Melissa L. Mendelson

Director, Programs
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, NY

Melissa L. Mendelson, MPH, is the Programs Director for the Knowledge Center (KC) at the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library (HSL) at Columbia University Medical Center. In this role, she oversees the planning, implementation, evaluation and marketing of the KC/HSL's strategic, progressive programs and initiatives. Ms. Mendelson leads a team of program and information professionals. She has several years of experience providing leadership for the programmatic, outreach and strategic initiatives of various local and national non-profit organizations.

During her tenure in these organizations, Ms. Mendelson has worked to build a local and national reputation as an educator and public health specialist. She has delivered speeches, written news articles and program curricula, including online health programs and other educational materials, for a variety of topics and audiences including students, future scientists, health professionals and the public. Ms. Mendelson’s expertise in designing, developing, implementing and evaluating multi-faceted, targeted educational programs has proven critical in assessing and meeting the needs of her users. She also has a knack for helping diverse populations process and understand complex health information.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Mendelson was responsible for piloting a regional education plan and the design and implementation of comprehensive health education programs and related local and national presentations. Most recently, as Project Director with The New York Academy of Medicine’s Office of School Health Programs (OSHP), Ms. Mendelson oversaw The Junior Fellows Program, an initiative designed to stimulate career interest in and awareness of public health, science, medicine and research in underserved middle and high school students. Additionally, she directed the Scholars and G.I.R.L.S. (Getting Into Real Life Sciences) and Health Professions Programs and led the OSHP division’s educational technology initiatives.

Ms. Mendelson holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the Boston University School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from Binghamton University.

She looks forward to presenting at the MLA 2017 Dream. Dare. Do. Conference and to seeing the city of Seattle!


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Amy J. Sommers

Program Coordinator
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, NY

Amy currently works as the Program Coordinator in the Knowledge Center at Columbia University Medical Center. She enjoys creating, implementing, and evaluating educational and engaging programs and services. Prior to working in the Health Sciences Library, Amy could often be found studying there while completing her MPH with a concentration in Population and Family Health. Amy is a former AmeriCorps member who completed two years of service on opposite sides of the country focusing on health promotion and civic engagement in higher education. She earned a B.S. in Community & Nonprofit Leadership with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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1 - Information Highway: Navigating the Pathway to Medical Student Success: The Implementation of an Innovative Online Program to Assess Critical Information Skills

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Send Email for Information Highway: Navigating the Pathway to Medical Student Success: The Implementation of an Innovative Online Program to Assess Critical Information Skills