Associate Fellowship Program
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Network of African Alumni Associates
Beginning in 2001, the National Library of Medicine has focused its efforts on recruiting international associates from Sub-Saharan Africa. The goal of this endeavor is to create a network of African Alumni Associates that will play a significant role in the developing field of biomedical library and information science within a developing region. Rather than having isolated alumni associates, the network allows the African alumni associates to benefit their institutions and the region as a whole by interacting and collaborating as a group.
Julia Royall, Chief of the Office of International Programs at the National Library of Medicine, plays a central role in the recruitment of African librarians for the Associate Fellowship Program. During nearly 20 years of involvement in international health in Africa (some of which you can read about on her blog), Julia has encountered and worked with many exceptional people. It is through these personal and professional connections that Julia has helped recruit Africa biomedical librarians for the Associate Fellowship Program.
The Network of African Alumni Associates (clockwise from the top): Grace Ajuwon of Nigeria, Nancy Kamau of Kenya, Cristina Horta of Mozambique, Christine Kanyengo of Zambia, and Abdrahamane Anne of Mali. In the center is Julia Royall of the National Library of Medicine
The five African alumni associates have been active on both an institutional and regional level since their experience with the Associate Fellowship Program at the National Library of Medicine. Serving as officers of associations, collaborating with other libraries, developing and teaching health information literacy courses, and providing health information resources and services, the African alumni associates are valuable participants in the field of biomedical librarianship.
Because the National Library of Medicine's information resources are useful, globally relevant, and freely accessible through the Internet, the African alumni associates integrate these resources into their work with ease. This information is then spread through interactions (workshops, training, and tutorials) with others, such as health professionals, other librarians, and health policy developers, making it easier to distribute the information to those that really need it.
One of the organizations that the African alumni associates have been most connected with is the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA). At the October 2008 AHILA Conference in Mozambique, they organized and hosted a workshop called "Biomedical Information Retrieval: With Examples from the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) Products/Information Resources." The group is currently authoring a paper on their experiences with the workshop.