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Healthy Libraries Program Brings Vital Health Screenings and Information to the Public

Healthy libraries

Healthy libraries

The Stony Brook Medicine Healthy Libraries Program (HeLP) — featured recently on WCBS-TV — is a partnership between Suffolk County’s public libraries and a unique group of faculty supervisors and students in training representing the fields of social work, public health, nursing, nutrition, and library science working together to provide access to both in-person and virtual healthcare-related resources for public library patrons and librarians throughout Suffolk County. The program looks to enhance the health and well-being of Suffolk residents through library programming, health screenings and referral to local health and social services, education, and dissemination of information on current health topics impacting our communities.

SBMHeLP began in Fall 2019 as an in-person program, but had to shift to remote during the COVID pandemic, offering virtual meetings, one-on-one appointments and webinars on a wide range of health-related topics. In-person programming is expected to return in Fall 2021 and will expand to include the Physican Assistant (PA) program. 

Program Goals

  • Provide evidence-based health information, screening and case management to a diverse community of patrons in the public library setting
  • Refer patrons to promote access to appropriate health and social services programs locally that will address their health and social support needs
  • For students to experience an interprofessional team and demonstrate the core competencies based on the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC)
  • To support programs and training, and to provide resources for librarians and their patrons

Lisa Benz Scott, PhD, Director of the Program in Public Health at Stony Brook University, is the founding director of HeLP and leads an inter-professional faculty team of health science professors who collaborate to recruit, train and supervise approximately 25 students a semester involved in the program.

The program, which achieved more than 900 patron contacts during the pandemic, will be expanding from five libraries to eight in Suffolk County beginning in September 2021. The current library locations are Huntington (Main and Station), Patchogue-Medford, Longwood and Brentwood.

SBMHeLP is supported in part by the American Heart Association of Long Island. 

For more information visit the website, email or call 631-216-8220. 

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