Librarians & Public Health




Associate Professor Of Family Medicine and Community Health

Project Summary

My research took place at the School of Medicine, more specifically at the Penn Center for Public Health Initiatives. The opioid epidemic has become an extremely pressing issue in the city of Philadelphia. Many citizens of Philadelphia and other cities use public libraries as a place for answers and guidance for issues that may encounter. Vulnerable populations such as immigrants, refugees, homeless people, and people who suffer from substance abuse disorder view they library as a refuge and sanctuary. The library is a place where they can go ask for resources and help with a variety of things. For this reason, there has been a drastic shift in the responsibilities of the average librarian, especially in cities like Philadelphia where health epidemics such as the opioid epidemic has become very prevalent. The goal of our research is to perform a mixed methods research looking at what librarians believe are the most pressing social and health needs are in their community and how different libraries address the social determinants of health. What I learned through my experience is that research is way different than what I expected. I learned so much of what public health really is and how different institutions tackle the social determinants of health. This research has solidified my goal of obtaining a masters in public health.