Dr. Nunzia Bettinsoli Giuse, the first woman from her small town in Italy to attend university, is the director of Eskind Biomedical Library at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 1985, she has worked in the relatively new field of medical informatics, evaluating methods for the collection and presentation of the rapidly expanding body of current medical knowledge to aid research and diagnosis. She has earned national recognition for her research and management of the library, and from 2001 to 2006 holds the title of 'distinguished member' of the Academy of Health Information Professionals.
Nunzia Bettinsoli was born in Italy in 1957, growing up in a small mountain community near Brescia. Although some men from her town had attended university, she was the first woman to do so, and the first member of her family to go into higher education. She wanted to become a physician because of her interest in the sciences and a strong desire to help others, and with the support of her family and the wider community as the first woman to go to college she felt compelled to succeed.
She graduated from the Universita' degli Studi di Brescia in 1985, and took up a post as a consultant in medical informatics at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Giuse stayed at the university for nine years, undertaking research into the acquisition of medical knowledge, supervising medical students as they developed their own knowledge base for their careers, and teaching methods for accessing and understanding medical knowledge through library resources. The research she published during this period is considered an important contribution to the emerging field of medical informatics and has established her reputation as a leading authority on the subject.
In 1994 Dr. Giuse joined the Division of Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical center as assistant professor and director of the Active Digital Library at Eskind Biomedical Library. She was made an associate professor and deputy director of the library in 1997, and has served as director since 1998.
Dr. Giuse began her career in medicine as a student with dyslexia with few role models or mentors, and greatly appreciates the support of her family, her husband Dario Giuse, and several professional colleagues who have helped her since. She has particularly enjoyed passing on that legacy of mentorship, and actively promotes continuing education and professional development amongst her staff. Specifically, she has introduced models of adult learning from other fields into the educational structures within the library.
As an acknowledged specialist in the field, Dr. Giuse has led a number of large-scale studies funded by research grants from the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, and in 1995 served as principal investigator on the 'AIDS Information Outreach Project' and 'Integrating Health Science Librarians into Biomedicine'. She has also published numerous articles and contributed chapters to five books, as well as lecturing widely on the topic. From 2002 to 2003 Dr. Giuse was chair of the Medical Informatics Section of the Medical Library Association.