Medical library dedicated

Published 8:34 am Monday, January 19, 2015

The Dedication and Open House of the Sen. Ben Nevers/SEL-AHEC Medical Library at Our Lady of the Angels Hospital was held last month.

Southeast Louisiana Area Health Education Center is affiliated with the LSU School of Medicine — New Orleans and is responsible for many activities linking rural and underrepresented populations to health careers in medicine with emphasis on primary care. The library supports SEL-AHEC’s efforts.

Brian Jakes, SEL-AHEC CEO, introduced special guests: Nevers; Steve Nelson, M.D., dean of LSUHSC School of Medicine; Charles Hilton, M.D., associate dean for academic affairs of LSUHSC School of Medicine; Mary Coleman, M.D., Ph.D., chair of LSU Department of Family Medicine, director of rural education and community health; Rene Ragas, chief operating officer/president, Our Lady of the Angels Hospital; John J. Finan Jr., president and CEO, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, OLOAH Board chairman; Robert Burgess, president and CEO, St. Elizabeth Hospital and Our Lady of the Angels Hospital; and several OLOAH Board and Foundation Board members, as well as OLOAH Leadership, medical staff, employees and SELAHEC guests.

Jakes highlighted the milestones of the SEL-AHEC Medical Library’s journey from its beginnings in an Abita Springs warehouse to Highland Park Hospital in Covington to North Oaks Hospital in Hammond to the SEL-AHEC building in Hammond. He recounted how a fire in November 2000 destroyed the SEL-AHEC building, including the library. Meanwhile the librarian at Slidell Memorial Hospital had moved, opening the door to a partnership between Slidell Memorial and SEL-AHEC. After almost 14 years, SMH’s growth demanded the library’s space. Unfortunately, there was no suitable location on the SMH campus.

SEL-AHEC began searching for a new location, and SMH administration and medical staff agreed to transfer the library’s holdings and furnishings to SEL-AHEC through a cooperative endeavor to maintain library services in the area. After many delays, and through the efforts and interest of Nevers, the library was welcomed to the campus of Our Lady of the Angels Hospital in Bogalusa. The Dedication and Open House culminated months of preparation and planning, resulting in a new library, which shares space with the OLOAH Education and Training Department .

During the ribbon cutting ceremony Nevers spoke of the contributions of LSU-HSC and the LSU-HSC Rural Family Medicine Residency Program to the hospital and Bogalusa community, and how the library will assist the hospital physicians and staff to stay in touch with current health information, benefitting both patients and residents.

Nelson spoke of the commitment of LSU-HSC to the training and education of physicians for the health of the community and how the library will serve as another link between the Residency Program and the hospital.

Ragas welcomed the library on the part of OLOAH and expressed interest in discovering the library’s potential.

Helen Caruso, SEL-AHEC librarian, thanked Nevers and all the individuals from Slidell Memorial, Our Lady of the Angels Hospital and SEL-AHEC who had helped make the library transition possible. She reminded the group that SEL-AHEC assists all those in the 13 parishes of Southeast Louisiana who don’t have access to a full-service medical library, providing service to health professionals, students and consumers. Caruso also reiterated the importance of the library’s membership in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, which brings a small rural area like Bogalusa into the network’s vast health information resources.