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MU-SISLT is the lead applicant on a collaborative three-year community catalyst Project Grant with MU-HSL, and NNLM-MCR. The goal is to jointly develop an interdisciplinary community health information curriculum and create a network of practice throughout the Midwest focused on meeting information needs for low-income and rural communities. Specific aims of the grant are to create information and curricular resources that will be used within SISLT and widely distributed to the LIS education community and libraries, develop health information outreach and programming skills with collaborators and students, train a student cohort to lead community health information networks, and expand a community empowerment framework to library education. Working with MU’s School of Health Professions (SHP) and the Department of Health Management & Informatics (DHMI), the Catalysts for Community Health (C4CH) program will engage 12 Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students in experiential and field-based learning as resources for healthy communities through information partnerships in underserved communities.

The four-year grant period (with a one-year extension) includes 1) forming and supporting a cohort of students (hereafter referred to as Catalysts for Community Health, or C4CH) focused on health and wellbeing, 2) developing a cross-disciplinary curriculum for LIS students that focuses on community health issues and information, 3) building local networks for information services that includes both libraries and community health settings (e.g., health clinics, public health departments, senior centers, nursing homes, Boys and Girls Clubs, rural hospitals, and school-based programs), and 4) preparing students to assess, develop, and provide public programs using open-access health information resources, including traditional and alternative resources. The nine C4CH students from Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska attend online classes in LIS, DHMI, and SHP as they work together to develop services and information resources to enhance community health information through involvement and outreach in their communities throughout the Midcontinental United States.