Monday Medical: Medical research, information available for free |

Monday Medical: Medical research, information available for free

Hospital offers books, journals and assistance

Christine McKelvie

SportsMed Office Manager Mary Jones, right, discusses a book on probiotics with Community Health Resource Center researcher Catherine Payne.

— We all have heard many references to "Steamboat's best-kept secret," a phrase that has been used to describe various restaurants, retail businesses and services.

While it's always nice to discover delicious cuisine or a new shopping experience, I'd like to tell you about another secret that could truly enhance your life. For free.

Yampa Valley Medical Center's Community Health Resource Center is devoted to improving the health of our region. It is a lending library and research center that is operated entirely by talented volunteers.

Their goal is to provide accurate, free, up-to-date information on any topic related to health, wellness or treatment of disease. And they would love to be discovered by more people.

A cancer survivor and former volunteer at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Catherine Payne was thrilled to begin volunteering at YVMC in August, just weeks after becoming a full-time resident. She enjoys helping people improve their lives.

"Many people don't have enough information because they haven't known what to ask their doctors," she said. "They are uncertain and they need help to sort through all the medical jargon.

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"Here at YVMC, I've done everything from searching for information about stem-cell transplants to assisting a mother whose child was ill."

Bill Sauter, who has taken a weekly shift at the center for many years, never knows what request he will get next.

"Today, a lady came in because she had noticed a book in our hallway bookcase," he said. "She and her husband are flying out to be with an elderly relative and she plans to take the book on the trip to learn more about elder issues.

"I've had people stop by looking for information about allergies," Sauter continued. "And mothers of pregnant daughters have come in for books about childbirth and child rearing."

A glance at the well-stocked shelves — the center has more than 1,200 books, CDs and DVDs — reveals a potpourri of nonfiction and fiction works. Some titles that popped out to me include "Low-Fat Living," "The Bipolar Child," "Restless Nights," "Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy," "Healing with Whole Foods" and the "Mayo Clinic Heart Book."

Although books — including gold standard medical textbooks — are the most noticeable feature of the Community Health Resource Center, they are not the only source of information. The center subscribes to three medical journals, including the "New England Journal of Medicine," medical newsletters from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic; and an online medical library.

"There is a lot of medical information on the Web, but not all of it is accurate," Payne said. "The great thing about this center is you know you are going to get good, credible information from us. And you don't have to sit in front of a computer for hours — we do it for you."

Most patrons access the center by calling 970-870-1173 or visiting in person. In March, the center's 15 volunteers had 101 visitors and performed searches on topics as varied as hip resurfacing, bone density testing, rosacea and yoga.

Gwen Tudor, who has volunteered since the center opened in 1999, has a special "pickup and delivery" connection to local senior citizens with whom she attends exercise and lunch programs at the Community Center.

Tudor picks up request forms weekly, researches topics and delivers articles the following week.

The Community Health Resource Center is located near the hospital's main lobby, across the hall from SportsMed. It is open weekdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. September through May and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June through August.

If you stop by in the next two weeks, you won't be able to check out the book I just picked out, but you will have 1,226 other items to peruse.

Christine McKelvie is public relations director at Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at

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