Penn Libraries Receive $26K from Elsevier Foundation for Health Information Delivery in Rural Guatemala

PHILADELPHIA – The Elsevier Foundation has awarded the University of Pennsylvania Libraries $26,000 under its Innovative Libraries in Developing Countries program. Selected from 260 proposals worldwide for their innovation and potential for impact in the developing world, the Penn Libraries’ mobile technology program, Health Information Delivery in Rural Guatemala Using Telemedicine, will link the Hospitalito Atitlán and its partner health posts in Sololá, Guatemala, with medical information. 

“Thanks in part to the Elsevier Foundation, the Penn Libraries continue to use innovative solutions to provide access to information towards the ultimate goal of improving health in underserved populations,” said Anne Seymour, project PI, and Associate Director of Penn’s Biomedical Library. 

Also with funding from the Elsevier Foundation, the Penn Libraries have previously been engaged in information and technology needs assessments in Botswana, in conjunction with the Botswana-UPenn Partnership (http://www.upenn.edu/botswana/). 

This new grant will allow Penn to bring that experience to the Guatemala-Penn Partnership (http://www.upenn.edu/provost/guatemala/). Following a needs assessment, Penn librarians and faculty will implement a pilot program utilizing smart phones and other mobile technologies to improve practitioners’ access to clinical information and facilitate patient diagnosis and care at the Hospitalito Atitlán and its affiliated rural health posts. 

The Innovative Libraries program supports capacity-building projects in science, technology and medicine library training, education, infrastructure, digitization and the preservation of information. This year, Elsevier has awarded four new grants to institutions (including Penn) focusing on telemedicine, infrastructure-building and the preservation and accessibility of primary source content which would otherwise be lost to researchers and policymakers.