Newswise — CHICAGO, IL, June 1, 2021 — Kristine M. Alpi, MLS, MPH, PhD, FMLA, AHIP started her term as President of the Medical Library Association (MLA), during MLA ’21, its 121st premier annual event held virtually from May 10, 2021 to May 27, 2021. In this role, she succeeds Lisa Traditi, MLS, AHIP, MLA’s 2020-2021 President. Kristine is University Librarian and Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, where she leads the OHSU Library team in supporting learning, discovery, clinical care, and community outreach at the public academic health sciences center. She also teaches in MLA’s Continuing Education program, previously chaired its Research and Public Health/Health Administration Caucuses, and served on MLA’s Board of Directors from 2014 to 2016.
In her inaugural address on Monday, May 17th, Kristine invited colleagues to explore the work of Joy Harjo, the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States and first Native U.S. Poet Laureate—particularly Harjo’s “Living Nations, Living Words” online collection in the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center. This project, conceived by Harjo, identifies across the US, Native Nation’s poets and poems to help counter damaging false assumptions—that indigenous peoples of our country are often invisible or not seen as human.
“Ms. Harjo’s educational initiative reflects hope as well as a deep sense of value, bravery and determination, and highlights the connecting influences between generations of poets,” noted Alpi. “I am pleased we are expanding our own approach to documenting both oral and written histories for MLA’s upcoming 125th Anniversary in 2023, by reflecting on our valuable profession’s past and future. We must ask the tough, and sometimes uncomfortable, questions, as we discover, record and preserve a more inclusive, transparent history of health sciences librarianship and invite future generations to our profession.”
During her term, President Alpi also hopes to document and begin to address the impact of economic issues facing health sciences librarians and libraries worldwide. The exclusionary effect of unpaid internships, insufficient salaries offered to entry-level librarians, and the closure or consolidation of hospital and other health sciences libraries, all reduce career opportunities and adversely affect the profession’s ability to attract talented graduates to work in health sciences libraries. “I am confident our MLA community can further investigate these issues and identify actionable solutions with the goal of continuing to provide opportunities for future health information professionals,” Alpi added.
Throughout her 25 years as an active MLA member, Kristine has experienced the power of a cohesive professional community. “MLA is an inclusive, diverse and dedicated community of individuals which is reflected when we tackle research projects, connect within caucuses, chapters and committees, collaborate in planning professional development such as MLA’ 22, and advocate on issues of access to information and the role of librarians in evidence-based practice,” noted Alpi. “Every unique voice within our health information professional community is welcomed—we see you. Please join us.”
The Medical Library Association (MLA) is a global, nonprofit educational organization, with a membership of more than 400 institutions and 3,000 professionals in the health information field. Since 1898, MLA has fostered excellence in the professional practice and leadership of health sciences library and information professionals to enhance health care, education, and research throughout the world. MLA educates health information professionals, supports health information research, promotes access to the world's health sciences information, and works to ensure that the best health information is available to all. For more information about MLA, visit MLANET.org.