NIH News Release
National Library of Medicine

Friday, January 14, 2000

Contact: Robert Mehnert
Kathy Gardner Cravedi
(301) 496-6308

National Library of Medicine Announces Initiative to Help Public Use Online Health Information

(BETHESDA, MD.)— Noting that "the Internet offers us one of the best opportunities for improving access to reliable, up-to-date, health information," Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., Director of the National Library of Medicine, announced that the Library was funding 49 electronic health information projects in 34 states, affecting rural, inner-city, and suburban areas.

"The projects we are supporting will increase Internet access in a variety of settings, from middle schools serving low income and educationally underserved students to shopping malls and senior centers," Dr. Lindberg said. "These are imaginative and well-targeted projects that will help us determine how we can best provide millions of Americans who are still not connected to the Internet with access to health information. They will stimulate medical libraries, local public libraries, and other organizations to work together to provide new electronic health information services for all citizens in a community."

Henry Foster, M.D., Senior Advisor to President Clinton on Teen and Youth Issues, said that "Many of the contracts will focus on making computers available in community-based centers and teaching computer skills to minorities and low-income populations-individuals who lack access to computers and hence fail to gain the needed computer skills essential to contemporary American living. From Native Americans in Wyoming, to minority populations in the lower Mississippi Delta, to those isolated in Appalachia, these consumers will soon have access to web-based health information. We hope that the skills consumers learn through these projects will enable them to make better informed health decisions." Dr. Foster is also a member of the Library's Board of Regents.

For example:

On the NLM Web site there are descriptions of each of the 49 projects, including the name of the project director, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses. The projects total more than $1 million and will run variously from one year to 18 months.

The National Library of Medicine is a component of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. It is the world's largest medical library with holdings of more than 5 million books, journals, and other materials. Its treasures span the centuries, from the text of an 11th century Islamic medical manuscript to the immense image files of the "Visible Humans."

The Library's Web site at carries a description of each project.