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Health and Wellness Library Blog

By: Dana L. Ladd MS, Ph.D., AHIP |  Health and Wellness Librarian | Health and Wellness Library, Tompkins-McCaw for the Health Sciences During the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, information abounds from various sources including web...
04/07/2020 2:47 p.m.

By: Dana L. Ladd MS, Ph.D., AHIP |  Health and Wellness Librarian | Health and Wellness Library, Tompkins-McCaw for the Health Sciences

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, information abounds from various sources including websites, social media, television, and even from friends and family members. A simple search on Google for “COVID-19” yields over 12,210,000,000 results. Facebook feeds are full of shared posts from friends with information about COVID-19. With all of this information, how can we know what is trustworthy health information and what is not?   

Before using any information to make decisions about your health it is important to critically evaluate the information you find or hear from others for reliability and trustworthiness. Use the following criteria to evaluate the information you find online or hear about from others: 

Evaluation of Information: 
Authority
Find out the source of the information provided. Anybody can post health information online and on social media but the person writing the information may not be an expert or qualified to provide reliable information. Find out who authored the health content of the page or information. Does the author have the appropriate knowledge of COVID-19? Search for the credentials of the author to help determine this. This information can usually be found under the “About Us” section of the webpage. A caution to note is that even if the author has the appropriate credentials he/she may be biased (see below).

Bias
Evaluate the information for possible bias. Look for the purpose of the information provided. Some websites exist to educate and inform based upon scientific research.  Other sites or sources of information may exist only to sell a product or to perpetuate a personal or political belief that may not be based on scientific facts. Fear may make people more susceptible to being taken advantage of.      

Accuracy
Ask yourself if the information you received is accurate. Determining accuracy may be difficult for those who are not medical professionals but there are steps you can take to verify accuracy. Compare information to known reliable sources of information. Compare the information to the medical and scientific research being published. When searching online for information about COVID-19 use sites that are librarian-vetted, reliable sources of information. A list of trustworthy websites about COVID-19 is found below. A librarian can help you find consumer information and medical research literature.

Currency
Check the site to see if the information is up to date. COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation with new medical research and information being disseminated every day so it is even more important to make sure you are receiving current information.

The following are current, reliable, and trustworthy sites for information about COVID-19:

The Centers for Disease Control
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html 

National Institutes of Health
https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus

World Health Organization 
https://www.who.int/

World Health Organization
Myth Buster
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

For local (Virginia) information, about COVID-19:

Virginia Commonwealth University Health (VCUH) website
https://www.vcuhealth.org/news-center/news-center-category?&id=11 

The Virginia Department of Health
http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/

The Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences has created a LibGuide with many resources about COVID-19
https://guides.library.vcu.edu/diseaseoutbreaks/COVID-19.

For more information about evaluating information visit: 

Evaluating Internet Health Information: A Tutorial
https://medlineplus.gov/webeval/webeval.html

Virus Outbreak (mis)Information and How to Cope
https://apnews.com/dedd5a5f5367b1da634a1e84dbb369ed

When reading any information about COVID-19 or any health-related topic, first stop and think. Evaluate the information before acting on or sharing information with others. Before making decisions that will impact your health be sure to talk to a qualified health care provider.

If you are still unsure about the reliability of the information or need to find information about COVID-19 or any health-related topic, you can always ask a librarian. The staff at the Health and Wellness Library is here to help you find reliable health information. We can direct you to quality, accurate, reliable consumer health websites and information. Call us at (804) 828-2432 or email healthlibrary@vcuhealth.org.

Interested in learning basic lifesaving resuscitation skills? Join us for "CPR Anytime" on Thursday, Feb. 13 from noon to 1 p.m. in the VCU Medical Center Health and Wellness Library, and take part in this lunchtime program sponsored by VCU HR WorkLi...
01/24/2020 2:34 p.m.

Interested in learning basic lifesaving resuscitation skills? Join us for "CPR Anytime" on Thursday, Feb. 13 from noon to 1 p.m. in the VCU Medical Center Health and Wellness Library, and take part in this lunchtime program sponsored by VCU HR WorkLife.

CPR Anytime allows you to learn basic lifesaving skills in about 20 minutes. CPR Anytime was developed to teach more people lifesaving CPR by bringing hands-on CPR training directly to them. AED (automated external defibrillator) training will be discussed as well.

The program is free and open to everyone. Lunch is provided. Space is limited so register here. For more information, contact 804-828-2432 or ricasatakj@vcu.edu. The Health and Wellness Library is located in VCU Health Gateway Building, ground floor, RM G-112.

Quitting smoking isn't easy. Join us in the Health and Wellness Library on Thursday, November 14th at noon for, "Quit Now Virginia." Sarah Birckhead from the Virginia Department of Health will discuss the health effects of tobacco products and strate...
11/05/2019 12:35 p.m.

Quitting smoking isn't easy. Join us in the Health and Wellness Library on Thursday, November 14th at noon for, "Quit Now Virginia." Sarah Birckhead from the Virginia Department of Health will discuss the health effects of tobacco products and strategies to help you quit.

The program is free and open to everyone. A light lunch will be provided. Space is limited so registration is required.

https://vcu.libcal.com/event/6029532

For more information, contact 804-828-2432 | ricasatakj@vcu.edu

The Health and Wellness Library is located on the ground floor of the Gateway Building, RM G-112.

Gratitude journal is a diary of things for which one is grateful and helps you focus your attention on the positive things in life. Join VCU HR and the VCU Health and Wellness Library on Tuesday November 19 at noon to experience what gratitude journa...
10/30/2019 2:20 p.m.

Gratitude journal is a diary of things for which one is grateful and helps you focus your attention on the positive things in life. Join VCU HR and the VCU Health and Wellness Library on Tuesday November 19 at noon to experience what gratitude journaling can do for your wellbeing. 

Attendees will receive a gratitude journal at the conclusion of the session!

The program is free and open to everyone, and lunch is provided. Space is limited so registration is required: https://vcu.libcal.com/event/5996027

For more information, contact 804-828-2432 | ricasatakj@vcu.edu.

The Health and Wellness Library is located in VCU Health Gateway Building | Ground Floor | Room G-112.

Join us in the Health and Wellness Library on Tuesday, November 12th at 12:10pm for the film: Doctors' Diaries.  Follow seven doctors on their journeys starting at Harvard Medical School in 1987 through practice in 2009. The screening will be followe...
10/30/2019 2:13 p.m.

Join us in the Health and Wellness Library on Tuesday, November 12th at 12:10pm for the film: Doctors' Diaries.  Follow seven doctors on their journeys starting at Harvard Medical School in 1987 through practice in 2009. The screening will be followed by an engaging discussion facilitated by Jared Dyer, DO, Chief Medical Resident for VCU Health Internal Medicine.

Participants are welcome to bring their own lunch. Registration is encouraged. Walk-ins are welcome.

To register: https://vcu.libcal.com/event/5590616