Celebrating one librarian’s commitment to global health

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

University of Michigan’s global health informationist Gurpreet Rana wins the MLA’s T. Mark Hodges International Service Award

When the Ebola virus struck in West Africa, Gurpreet Rana didn’t hesitate. Throughout that terrible epidemic year, she rapidly led the gathering and curation of the latest open access, evidence-based treatment and prevention protocols into a useful one-stop portal for doctors and nurses in Ghana and clinicians and students at the University of Michigan.

As Global Health Coordinator and health sciences informationist at the University of Michigan’s Taubman Health Sciences Library, Rana was working with a grant from the Elsevier Foundation to strengthen information skills in emergency care in Ghana. She did what came naturally — build evidence-based collaborations around major global health issues.

Rana, a first-generation Canadian from a traditional Sikh family of Indian heritage, explained her rapid response: “I think that my own multicultural and multi-linguistic background has helped me to connect with the world through a global lens from a young age and be drawn to career that supports global health in developing countries.”

A few years later, it came as no surprise to me or Rana’s other partners and colleagues when she won the T. Mark Hodges International Service Award, which was presented at the 2017 Medical Library Associationannual meeting. The award, which carries a $500 prize, honors outstanding individual achievement in promoting, enabling and delivering improvements in the quality of health information internationally through the development of health information professionals, the improvement of libraries, or an increased use of health information services.