Health Information Partnerships: Tribal/Library Collaborations

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Tribal Connections Four Corners (TC4C) is a collaborative effort of four health sciences libraries and three regional medical libraries to provide services to health care providers in the tribal communities in the Four Corners states. The subcommittee of “Community-Based Partnerships” had a goal to develop a project in each of the states that would result in increased access to health information for specific tribal communities. TC4C libraries partnered with community organization(s) in selected communities to develop, implement, and evaluate a program to improve access among health care providers and consumers to knowledge based health information. The libraries obtained commitment from one or more community organizations to work together on improving health information access and came to an agreement on their goal(s) and objective(s).

Issue: How can a collaborative of librarians in four different states, from seven different institutions work over geographic and time boundaries to develop effective outreach efforts?


  • Distance from the communities the libraries partnered with was a challenge.
  • Distance on from each other
  • Funding came along with criteria that was challenging
  • IRB requirements of funding meant approaching several different institutions – the three universities involved as well as tribal government. this was challenging and time consuming and caused the projects to be put on hold
  • Changing staff at libraries and at community organizations
  • Tribes and universities are understaffed and busy making it challenging to meet face to face
  • Challenges in access to healthcare that the populations served faced presented challenges to us as a group: health information is not the first priority.

Actions: The librarians met monthly to update each other on the progress of their projects and to share and brainstorm on challenges. Constant email and telephone communication with community partners and amongst the librarians helped move the project(s) along.

Funding was received from the NN/LM MCR for travel, and project(s) costs. Internal support allowed for full participation in the NM project.

Communities designed their own project which fit their communities CBPR model.

We need to be clear from the beginning, distinction between outreach and research needs to be clear; Service Projects do not require IRB; surveys with post and pre tests require IRB – Time is crucial for research groundwork to be done.

Evidence: Three very different projects were developed: