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Combatting Information Fatigue: Health Information Resources for Veterans. Terri Ottosen Consumer Health Outreach Coordinator National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Southeastern Atlantic Region University of Maryland, Baltimore. Objectives:.

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Combatting Information Fatigue: Health Information Resources for Veterans

Terri Ottosen

Consumer Health Outreach Coordinator

National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Southeastern Atlantic Region

University of Maryland, Baltimore

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  • Understand the unique information needs of veterans and their families

  • Utilize resources presented to locate reliable, authoritative health information specific to veterans

  • Acquire skills and knowledge to effectively identify and assess resources not covered in the class

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Informational Needs

  • 8 million Vietnam Veterans

  • 6.7 million World War II Veterans

  • 4.3 million Korean conflict Veterans

  • 697,000 Gulf War Veterans

  • 1.4 million Afghanistan/Iraq

  • Greater rates of diabetes/overweight/obese

  • 1/3 U.S. veterans suffer from arthritis

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Informational Needs

  • Polytrauma

  • Chronic Disease

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Spinal Cord Injury

  • Limb Loss

  • Eye injuries

  • PTSD and other mental health issues

  • Health care benefits, insurance, financial issues

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Informational Needs

  • Number of uninsured veterans ~2 million

  • Rose 2x as fast as the uninsured general population

  • In Jan. 2003, health care access cut off to future veterans earning more than $30-35,000 annually on average

  • Only a minority of veterans (those disabled by military service) are automatically eligible for VA care

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Informational Needs

  • 1/3 U.S. Military personnel war in Iraq access mental health services after returning home

  • Prevalence rates of mental health concerns higher for Iraq veterans – 19.1% vs. 11.3% Afghanistan and 8.5% from other locations

  • Veterans suffering depression are 7-8x more likely to commit suicide than general population: 90:100,000 vs. 13.5:100,000

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Informational Needs

  • VA and aid groups bracing for new surge in homeless veterans in years ahead

  • Contributing factors:

    • High rates of PTSD

    • Traumatic brain injury which can cause unstable behavior and substance abuse

    • Long and repeated tours of duty which makes reintegration into families and work harder

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Informational Needs

  • Veterans: 11% adult population yet 26% of the homeless on any given day

  • In 2006, 196,000 veterans of all ages were homeless on any given night

  • Chronic cases (homeless for > year)

    44,000-64,000 veterans

  • Health information needs greater than general population?

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General Health Resources

  • Evaluating what’s out there on the Internet

  • M+ : Evaluating Health Information

  • M+ : Guide to Healthy Web Surfing

  • Key Points: Who runs/pays for the site? What is the purpose? Source of info? Reviewed? Current? How are links to other sites chosen? User info collected? Able to contact? Accurate?

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General Resources


  • Disability Information

  • MedlinePlus: Veterans and Military Health

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General Military Health Resources

  • MyHealthE Vet

  • Deployment Health Clinical Center

  • VA Polytrauma System of Care

  • Disabled American Veterans

  • Deployment Health and Family Readiness Library

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Veterans and Military Health: Websites Serving NC

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Mental Health Resources

  • Dept. of Veterans Affairs Vet Center

  • National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

  • Mental Health Self-Assessment Program

  • VA Mental Health

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Support Groups and Organizations

  • Citizen Soldier Support Program

  • Wounded Warrior Project

  • Military Homefront

  • Military Onesource

  • Amputee Coalition of America

  • National Amputation Foundation

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Demographic Group Resources

  • Women Veterans Health Strategic Healthcare Group

  • Center for Minority Veterans

  • National Native American Veterans Association

  • BlackMilitaryWorld

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Spinal Cord Injuries and Disease Resources

  • National Spinal Cord Injury Association

  • SPINALCORD: Spinal Cord Injury Information Network

  • M+ Interactive Tutorial: Spinal Cord Injuries

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Chronic Disease Resources

  • (WHO) World Health Organization: Chronic Diseases

  • (CDC) Centers for Disease Control: Chronic Disease Prevention

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Benefits Resources

  • IRIS: Inquiry Routing and Information System (Veterans Affairs)


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Health Insurance and Consumer Assistance

  • Navigating the Health Care System: A Resource Guide for Consumers

  • Questions and Answers about Health Insurance Guide (AHRQ)

  • Healthcare411

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Current Awareness and Other Resources

  • House Committee on Veterans Affairs Activities

  • Veterans History Project

  • Institute of Medicine: Health of Veterans and Deployed Forces

  • Blogs: Readers: Bloglines or Google Reader

    • Military Blogs (Milblogs)

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VALNET: Referral

  • VALNET: VA Library Network

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Thank You!

Questions or Comments: National Network of Libraries of Medicine


or email: [email protected]