QMedCONNECT Newsletter: May 2008


Dear friends,

The month of May has been a bit of a lull for our external activities - especially training programs. Thanks to vacations and forthcoming examinations for students, we actually had to cancel a PubMed Advanced training program! Potential participants felt sorry, but have been enthusiastic enough to give us preferred dates. So - we should be planning that soon. The month of June may see us do up to six PubMed Basics programs, which really makes us feel good. I also happened to deliver a lecture at Thiruvananthapuram and was really delighted by the positive response and further inquiries about a formal training program.
We have managed to meet many institutions and entities for various collaborations and are happy about their enthusiasm and support. I am hoping that the library catalog computerization project that we are handling leads us to many more such projects. Creating these by importing records from standardized catalogs involves optimal use of technology and the possibility of multiple people working on the project from different locations. Quite different from the traditional "data-entry" with a possibility of a lot of errors.
I was delighted to encounter a young medical student who actually asked me for some information regarding writing a Cochrane Review. We are happy to feature him in this issue and hope that it inspires more students to think of writing and research. In forthcoming issues we plan to feature other interesting profiles of healthcare professionals with an interest in technology and medical information / research.
I always have a dream - with the volume of "data" that we have in India by way of a large population - Indian healthcare professionals will write their best articles in Indian journals and that these journals (most being open access) will be sought after. I was delighted to find an Editor of an Indian journal thinking on the same lines and have included details of his Editorial in QMedCONNECT.
Thank you Dr Anuj Sharma, Consultant Surgeon - Sir Gangaram Hospital New Delhi for writing to us:
"Your newsletters are informative, functional and beautifully organised. In case you are having these only online (no paper version) - a navigation aid at the top might be useful for the readers.Your Foundation seem to be doing a lot of excellent work to disseminate information".
We accept your suggestion and will work on it in the near future.

Vasumathi Sriganesh


What we did- May 2008

Computerization of the library catalogue of The Foundation for Medical Research, Worli

We started this project in April 2008. In two months we have created catalog records for about 1850 journal articles and 200 books. We identify bibliographic records in international databases (PubMed and the NLM catalog - Locatorplus) and import them into an online bibliographic management software. Importing from well known databases ensures that the data is accurate and standard. Keywords for articles also get imported, and we manually add more keywords that FMR identifies for its special requirements. We get sets of articles regularly from FMR and work these both at our office and also from other locations,  using a a workflow that we have developed. We have one colleague working on this from another city!


Lectures Delivered

Vasumathi Sriganesh delivered a lecture on the 21st of May, 2008 to students and faculty of the Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies. This Institution is a wing of the Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology Thiruvananthapuram and offers a Masters degree program in Public Health. The lecture was on searching literature and also covered QMed's activities. The students and faculty were very receptive and indicated keen interest in planning for training programs in the future.


Participation in Events

Vasumathi Sriganesh attended an event “Making Information Architecture Real". This was a recorded Webinar of an event of the Special Libraries Association (USA) and was organized jointly by the GIPE, PULISAA and SLA - Asian Chapter. During the discussions after the Webinar, she shared with the audience a brief about Indian Medical Sites and the experiences about issues relating to Information Architecture.


Possibilities in the pipeline

We have been exploring possibilities for some projects and collaborations. These include new library projects, medical websites, copy editing for some medical journals and creation of a database of case-reports that a super-specialty physician has worked on with some colleagues. We will be happy to share more information about these projects when they materialize.


Membership for Doctors

Two members joined this month - both consultants who attended our PubMed Basics program on the 6th of April.


Training Programs in June

• PubMed Basics - at the Seth GS Medical College & KEM Hospital for PG students on 19 June 2008

• A series of PubMed Basics training programs will be held in Bangalore during the 3rd week of June in Medical colleges and hospitals

If any institution would like us to conduct a PubMed Basics program - please call us on 40054474/75 or email us at info@qmedkf.org.in


Training Programs in May

We had planned a PubMed Advanced program at CDAC on the 25th of May for those who had done our Basics program and were keen to do the Advanced. Unfortunately we needed to cancel this as many participants were busy with upcoming exams and other constraints. We hope to conduct it soon.


New feature: Health professionals and IT

In our interactions with various health professionals, we often come across people who are different from two common assumptions:

a) The older generation is not tech-oriented
b) The younger generation is not research oriented.

Starting from this issue, we would like to feature some of these in our newsletter

Student with a penchant for research and writing:

Our CEO encountered Akshay Sharma a final year MBBS student at Manipal, through Orkut - a social networking website. She was surprised when he mentioned that he was interested in writing a Cochrane Review on a topic on which he felt that there was no Evidence based publication. After helping him out with his questions, she in turn asked him some questions to find out what made him different from many of his peers. We share with you - the interesting exchange:

VS: What made you get into medical research right from 1st MBBS?

A: Right from my school days, I've been amazed every time we learnt a new thing in science, how things work etc. There was no other thing which gave me more joy than thinking about how life evolved from inorganic molecules and how the entire blueprint of life is stored so compactly in the DNA.

VS: Any family, school/junior college background that helped in the same?

A: My family played a very important role in inculcating my aptitude for science and research. Both my parents are doctors. My father has been pretty active in research and I used to help him with the search for literature for review and preparation of manuscripts.

At school as well as junior college, I would participate in all science fairs and exhibitions. I still remember having made a HAM radio-transmitter set all by myself ; I used it for a considerable time too.

VS: Any faculty / fellow student who inspired you in any way? And what are other sources of motivation?

A: At DAV College, Chandigarh there were several teachers who inspired me. One of them was my chemistry teacher, Dr. B.K. Vermani who played a vital role in kindling the interest in research.
Then my teachers, Dr. Urban John D'Souza and Dr. A. Rajeev, have been the guiding forces and my mentors here in the Medical College .

VS: Any comment about research related issues in the medical curriculum / Indian scene?

A: There is indeed a huge gap between the curriculum and the requirements in the Indian Scenario. The medical curriculum is more data oriented; it makes you learn a lot, but passively. It requires you to assimilate everything like a capsule. Even if research projects have been incorporated, either there are no funds or there is so little time for execution that they become a "job to be completed" rather than an activity where the students can actually learn. Probably the first real time experience of research methodology most people get is when they get into post graduation and by that time they already have too many responsibilities. The curriculum needs to be made more research oriented instead of being primarily textbook based. In fact it should be made more activity oriented.


Article of the Month:

Article of the month:

Sivapathasundharam B.
Scientific writing: The Indian scenario.
Indian Journal of Dental Research 2008;19:87
. This is an Editorial and the editor highlights the urgent need for Indian authors to write in Indian journals, the need to improve quality and the need to reduce document overload by reducing submission of unnecessary "repeated research".


Directory Of Indian Medical Sites(www.indianmedicalsites.in)

We have added about 80 new sites in the last month and the total number of sites has crossed 1900. If you are interested in volunteering to add new sites, do write to us and we will send you a set of instructions that will make it easier for you to work.


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