If there were a Best of the Boat category for health library and research center, I could predict the winner: Yampa Valley Medical Center’s Community Health Resource Center.
This center has a team of talented volunteers devoted to improving the health of our region. Their goal is to provide accurate, free, up-to-date information about any topic related to health, wellness or treatment of disease. And they would love to be discovered by more people.
Located near the hospital’s main lobby, across the hall from SportsMed, the center has an eye-catching display case that brings some people in the door.
Bill Sauter, who has taken a weekly shift at the center for many years, mentioned one patron who walked in after spotting a display book about elder issues. She was planning a trip to visit an elderly relative and impulsively decided to take the book along with her to read on the plane.
Sauter said he never knows what request he will get next.
“I’ve had people stop by looking for information about allergies,” he said. “And mothers of pregnant daughters have come in for books about childbirth and child rearing.”
A glance at the well-stocked shelves reveals a potpourri of more than 1,200 books (including novels) as well as numerous journals, magazines, CDs and DVDs. Some titles that popped out to me last week include “Migraine,” “The Probiotics Revolution,” and “Meditations for Relaxation and Stress Reduction.”
Then there’s “Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 Until You’re 80,” and “From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know about Mind-Altering Drugs.”
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 medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, a peer-reviewed British medical journal, as well as medical newsletters from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic. The center also provides an online medical library providing access to information you can’t get by Googling.
Most patrons access the center by calling 970-870-1173 or visiting in person. In March, the center’s 13 volunteers had 115 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 Steamboat Springs Community Center.
Tudor picks up request forms weekly, researches topics and delivers articles the following week.
Coordinator Nancy Bretz, also an original member of the team, has high praise for her fellow researchers.
“Our dedicated volunteers have expressed the importance of giving back to the community,” Bretz said. “Many have advanced degrees and experience in health-related medical professions, for example, a retired oncologist, two teachers and a medical researcher.
“Several volunteers have faced various health problems and are personally familiar with a particular disease or therapy,” she added. “As a result, they are able to appreciate and empathize with those who request help or information.”
The Community Health Resource Center is located near the hospital’s main lobby, across the hall from SportsMed. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays in September through May and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays in June through August. You also may email requests for information to email@example.com.
Christine McKelvie is the public relations director at Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.