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Medical Reference for Non-Medical Librarians

Page maintained by: Lynne M. Fox, Education Librarian, Denison Memorial Library, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Special thanks to: Jean C. Blackwell, Information Services Librarian, Health Sciences Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7585;



Always inform patrons that you cannot give medical advice. Questions that require you to interpret medical information involve giving medical advice. Encourage patrons to discuss these questions with their health care provider. For advice on wording your medical advice disclaimer, please see: Guidelines for Medical, Legal, and Business Responses (June 2001) .

Use a dictionary, anatomy book, or health encyclopedia FIRST. Check spellings and clarify the diagnosis or terminology. Have the patron call the health care provider for more information if they cannot provide enough information for you to begin a search.

Many patrons will not be able to find enough information, written at a level they can understand. Encourage these patrons to find some professional articles that might relate to their question and take them back to their health care provider. These articles often form the basis for opening lines of communication between professional and patient.

Patrons may be experiencing strong emotions when their research relates to their own or a family member's health concerns. They may come to the library seeking information, but may also need emotional support, a good listener, or privacy as they begin to understand the severity of their health problem. Librarians can be ready with a list of support groups, respite care providers, social services and counselors, and a private room for consultations.

General Resources:

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CIC Healthweb Alphabetical List of All Subjects A catalog of professional level web sites organized by medical specialty, selected and maintained by librarians from a midwestern academic health library consortium.

Emory University's Medweb http://WWW.MedWeb.Emory.Edu/MedWeb/. A searchable directory of a vast number of sites for health professionals.

Intute: Health and Life Sciences  A British directory with a UK/Commonwealth/European perspective. Sites are rigorously evaluated before inclusion.

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Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 2006. Detroit. Excellent source of consumer information. Gale now publishes a number of health related encyclopedias, including topics such as alternative medicine, cancer, genetics, mental illness, and surgery.

Gray's Anatomy, 20th Edition, 1918. Select Gray's Anatomy from the Reference menu or use the link at the right of the page. Select an anatomical description and illustration from the table of contents or search by anatomical term.

Human Anatomy On-Line. A well illustrated and informative introduction to human anatomy.

Merck Manual of Medical Information, Home Edition. 2004. Rahway, NJ: Merck. Merck Manual in easy-to-understand language.

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy The online version of the popular medical reference work.

PDR Family Guide: Encyclopedia of Medical Care Health Square is the host for three PDR publications. The site includes the causes, symptoms, and care for diseases and health problems. Gives additional information for each condition: "What you should do …," "Call your doctor if …," and "If you’re headed for the hospital …" (what to expect and what to do after leaving the hospital).

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Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, Philadelphia: Saunders. Considered to be the "dean" of medical dictionaries. Unabridged, comprehensive and authoritative, it is updated every few years.

Merriam-Webster's Medical Desk Dictionary from MEDLINEplus Type in your word, review the definition and select terms suggested in the list of related terms.

Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health,  Philadelphia: Saunders. Designed for use by nurses and allied health professionals, this is on a level accessible to the layperson. Some line drawings.

Mosby’s Medical, Nursing, and Allied Health Dictionary. Similar to Miller-Keane but has extensive color illustrations (buy one or the other). Updated every four years.

Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins. Similar to Dorland’s and essentially equal in authority (buy one or the other). Published approximately every five years.

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Evidence based medicine is an effort by medical professionals to consider the results of all relevant, high quality, scientific studies before recommending the most effective course(s) of patient care. EBM resources for cancer are listed in the CANCER section on this page.

Ask NOAH About: Evidence-Based Medicine Geared toward patients, librarians, educators, and nurses, this comprehensive portal provides links to the best online sources of evidence for consumers. Sections include EBM basics, types of evidence, research methods, statistical terms, special considerations, and evidence for consumers.

Cochrane Collaboration Consumer Network Cochrane is the leading organization for the analysis and distribution of evidence based research. This website provides information for consumers and seeks consumer input into the systematic review group process.

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs reveals its conclusions on which popular medications provide the most effective treatment and at what cost. Who's gathering the evidence? The website's FAQ indicates a partnership with the Oregon Health and Science University and its Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP). DERP's findings are summarized in free online technical reports.

DISCERN Click on the oval DISCERN logo to get started. Since 1996, this U.K. organization has worked to empower consumers and providers to better evaluate online health information. The full DISCERN instrument teaches how to determine a publication’s reliability, and the Quick Reference Guide lists key points to consider while researching treatment options.

Health News Review Rates and reviews the accuracy, balance, and completeness of health reports in the news. Includes information on evidence concepts such as absolute vs. relative risk percentages, and the number needed to treat.

eMedicine World Medical Library This site provides free, up-to-date, evidence-based information. Searches can be restricted to a consumer option for information from online textbooks and a growing collection of consumer treatment guidelines.

Patient Decision Aids from the Ontario Health Research Institute Tested, evidence based guides to help patients make tough health care decisions.

Summaries for Patients: Annals of Internal Medicine Breakthrough research from select Annals of Internal Medicine articles is translated into everyday language. The American College of Physicians provides succinct explanations of studies’ purposes, methodologies, findings, limitations, and care implications. Click on "Advanced search"; type in a topic in the "Text - Abstract - Title" box, and in the "Limit Results" section click on the checkbox next to "Summaries for Patients".

SUNY Health Sciences Evidence Based Medicine Course Fledgling researchers, flummoxed physicians, and frazzled consumers will benefit from this exceptionally clear and well-written electronic class. Understandable explanations of study types comprising The Evidence Pyramid can be found in A Guide to Research Methods.

Understanding Evidence Based Medicine Introductory information for health care consumers on how to partner with doctors to practice evidence based decisions for their health care.

Understanding Medical Information (Evidence-based Medicine)  Learn more about evidence based medicine at a site designed for health care consumers.

**Information for this section and for the EBM cancer resources listed in the CANCER section of this page were taken from: Gail-Yvette Hendler (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), Evidence-Based Consumer Health, MLA News, April 2001,

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Agency for Health Care Policy and Research . Guidelines for care of patients with specific illnesses. Promotes clinical practice using science-based research.

Cecil Textbook of Medicine, Philadelphia: Saunders.  Comprehensive, authoritative textbook which contains articles by experts in internal medicine. Written for professionals. Updated approximately every five years.

Clinical Trials A clearinghouse for government sponsored clinical trials.

Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment, Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lange. Designed for quick reference by physicians, this provides the latest information on a full range of diseases and disorders. Brief references to the medical literature. Accessible to many lay readers. Updated annually.

Diseases Database Type a single symptom, disease, drug name (not the brand name), or lab result (for example, creatinine) and bring up a list of results from known, reliable internet resources. Or you may select from an alphabetic list of medical terms. Searches PubMed, OMIM, SCIRUS, National Guideline Clearinghouse, NIH Clinical trials, OMNI, Merck, Virtual Hospital, and others.

First Aid Mayo Clinic first aid guide. In a real emergency CALL 911 first, don't look it up online!

Genetics Home Reference The National Library of Medicine has created this consumer health web site on genetically based diseases. Look up a genetic mutation to identify which diseases it is linked to, its location in DNA, and other relevant information, all in easily understandable terms.

Griffith, H. Winter. Instructions for Patients. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders. Designed for physicians to provide understandable instructions to their patients. Entries are one page long and describe the disease, outcomes, complications, treatments, and special instructions.

Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, New York: McGraw-Hill. Comprehensive, highly-regarded textbook that thoroughly details major symptoms and emphasizes the presentation of disease states. Similar in scope and authority to Cecil (buy one or the other). Written for professionals. Updated approximately every three years.

Healthfinder An index to health information maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services. Good advice on health fraud and general consumer health advocacy topics, too.

Heart Center Online  An encyclopedic amount of information about cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke, heart attack, hypertension and diabetes. Great quizzes to test comprehension. Free but requires registration for some materials.

Health Hotlines Health Hotlines is a handy booklet of toll-free phone numbers for health organizations.

Information for Patients from the American Academy of Family Physicians Advice for patients from the family practice doctors' organization.

InteliHealth As part of their mission to promote good health, Intelihealth offers consumer health information of high quality. Harvard Medical School provides consumer health content for this site.

Karolinska Institute: Alphabetic List of Specific Diseases/Disorders Comprehensive access to disease information at a consumer and professional-level from one of Europe's premiere medical institutes.

Med Help International Strongly recommended for those seeking online support groups because of its professionally-moderated discussion forums.

Medem Medical Library Choose the Medical Library link to view information prepared through the cooperative efforts of several important medical societies. Create and maintain a personal, portable health record.

Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Rahway, NJ: Merck. One of the best values in medical books, this is a complete but compact reference guide for the whole range of medical disorders. Covers symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy. Written for professionals but appropriate for some lay readers. Updated every five years.

National Library of Medicine's MEDLINEplus Included sites are prescreened by NLM's librarians for accuracy and reliability. Preformulated MEDLINE searches are included in MEDLINEplus and give easy access to the medical research literature.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society Essential site for Colorado, which has one of the highest rates of MS.

NORD: National Organization for Rare Disorders The premier web site for rare diseases.

NOAH: New York Online Access to Health One of the first and most thorough consumer information sites.

Omnigraphics' Sourcebook Series, Detroit, MI. : Omnigraphics. Excellent consumer health resource on a variety of health topics and specialties.

Physicians’ Guide to Rare Diseases, Montvale, NJ: Dowden Pub. Written to assist primary care physicians in identifying rare disorders and to provide an index of support groups and referral centers. Each condition is described in a page-long entry, and classic references to the medical literature are included.

Professional Guide to Diseases, Springhouse, PA: Springhouse. Each disease entry covers causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and special considerations. Appendix summarizes information about rare diseases. Written primarily for nurses and other health professionals, but accessible to lay readers.

PubMed (free Medline from NLM)

Toll Free Numbers for Health Information or Excellent sources of information and flyers/brochures for computer-shy health consumers. Retrieve a toll free number to order printed information from agencies.

Virtual Hospital Information for patients and health care professionals at the University of Iowa Hospital. Ceased 01/01/06.

WebMD A popular consumer health destination on the web.

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ONLINE MAGAZINES Health information from the experts at the respected Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

World-Newspapers An index to popular health magazines online.

Yahoo Health Magazines  An index to popular health magazines online.

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Nursing texts provide cost effective information about conditions, patient care and counseling.

Brunner and Suddarth's Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing, Philadelphia: Lippincott. Primary resource for nursing students, covering a wide variety of basic medical care, including chronic and common illnesses.

Maternal Child Nursing Care. St. Louis: Mosby. Basic obstetric and infant care information.

Whaley & Wong's Essentials of Pediatric Nursing, St Louis: Mosby.   Includes care of the young child through adolescence.

Women's Health: A Primary Care Clinical Guide, Stamford, CT: Appleton & Lange. Includes a broader variety of information on women's health concerns than the maternal-child text.

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Ask the Dietician Frequently asked questions on topics such as fad dieting. The Healthy Body Calculator is an interactive resource for determining ideal food intake, weight range, and body mass index.

Caffeine Calculator Look for "Caffeine Calculator" in the list on the left. Ever wonder how much caffeine you consume in a typical day? This calculator will tally your caffeine consumption and tell you if you are over the recommended daily intake.

Calorie Control Council An educational non-profit focused on exercise and healthy eating as a method of weight control sponsors this site. A database provides caloric values for common foods. Healthy recipes and advice are featured.

Calories Per Hour  This website offers educational materials and calculators to estimate calories burned during various activities. Offers advice based on the idea the weight loss results from burning more calories than are consumed, and offers simple suggestions for adding more calorie burning activities into the day. An excellent resource for healthy eating. Includes an interactive "food planner" providing recipes and nutrition information based on user-set criteria for calories. Great web-based discussion lists provide support to members. Must register, fee to use.

USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference The USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR) is the major source of food composition data in the United States. Calories, nutrients, fiber, etc. are listed for a comprehensive variety of foods. This is an excellent source of information for those following diet regimens that require careful monitoring of intake of salt, fat, carbohydrates, or other nutrients. Users may need a grams to ounces conversion table, since portions are measured in grams. Palm PDA version also available.

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CenterWatch Clinical Trials Listing Service Source of information on research on new drugs or new uses for existing drugs.

Complete Drug Reference, Yonkers, NY: Consumer Reports. Bookstore edition of USP DI Vol. II: Advice for the Patient. Features drug monographs written in lay language and larger type. Includes information about unlabeled uses. Updated annually. Drug Checker As the number of medications prescribed for simultaneous use increase, so does the risk of adverse reactions and interactions. Check for food-drug and drug-drug interactions and potential adverse reactions to drugs with this interactive drug checker. 

Drug Information Site Resource for checking drug interactions, duplications, and allergic reactions for several drugs. Pill identifier, and drug database are also available. Great for drug pricing.

ePOCRATe Click on the "Enter Now" button in the upper right. Free online version of a drug resource used by pharmacy and health professionals.  Includes pricing, interactions, dosing, and precautions informaton.  Registration is required. A premium version includes more comprehensive information, including a "pill picture" file that shows the color, shape and markings on the pill.

Food and Drug Administration Consumer information from the federal agency that approves and regulates drugs and medical devices.

Graedon, Joe and Terry. The Peoples' Pharmacy. New York: St. Martin’s. Gives practical information in plain language about the most commonly used Rx and OTC medications and how to approach simple medical problems. The website includes some free information, and downloadable audio or pdf files are available for a fee.

Griffith, H. Winter. Complete Guide to Prescription & Nonprescription Drugs, New York: Berkley. Comprehensive coverage of Rx and OTC drugs. Includes symptoms of overdosing and actions to take. Clear layout, simple language. Updated annually.

Herbs and Supplements at Medlineplus. Medlineplus offers about 100 articles from Natural Standard about herbs and supplements that are evidence-based and peer-reviewed. Click on the Drugs & Supplements tab, then click on the alphabetic table to find the herb or supplement you are seeking.

Information on Drugs of Abuse (NIDA) Information about drug abuse, prevention and consequences.

International Drug Information This web site provides links to resources on drugs available in other countries.

LactMed – Drugs and Lactation Database  A peer-reviewed and fully referenced database of drugs to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed. Among the data included are maternal and infant levels of drugs, possible effects on breastfed infants and on lactation, and alternate drugs to consider.

PDR Family Guide to Prescription Drugs, New York: Crown. Translates the contents of the PDR into lay language. Detailed and informative, with a user-friendly layout. Updated annually.

Physicians Desk Reference, Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics, annual. Lists many, but not all, Rx products marketed in the United States. Reproduces package inserts from drug manufacturers. Does not include unlabeled uses. Color product identification guide.

Pharmacy Checker Compare the cost of drugs at different online and retail outlets.

Pill Identification The National Library of Medicine provides links to web sites that allow searches for attributes such as pill color, shape or code numbers on a pill.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs. New York: Reader’s Digest Association. Describes how each drug works, recommended dosages, side effects (serious, common, less common), and interactions with food and other drugs. Color product identification guide. User-friendly format.

RxList Another choice for online pharmacy information. This resource has an ID Imprint Code search engine, for those who are wondering what those pills rolling around in the bottom of their purse might be! Also provides a list of the top 300 drugs prescribed last year.

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American Psychological Association Mental health information from the largest professional organization for psychologists.

Center for Mental Health Services This consumer health web site is maintained by an agency of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the federal government. Of special note is the School Violence Prevention resources, Kid's Area, Surgeon General's report on mental health, and survivor information.

Mental Health Net A rich resource for all types of mental health information.

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Information from a prominent advocacy organization.

National Institute of Mental Health Public Information Information from the federal agency charged with researching the nation's mental health issues and problems.

Psych Central: Dr. John Grohol's Mental Health Page A large, well respected directory to mental health web sites.

Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 2 vols. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2001 - Very comprehensive coverage of mental disorders and their diagnoses and treatments. Written for professionals but appropriate for a lay audience.

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American Cancer Society Information from a respected cancer research and support organization.

American Cancer Society's guide to pain control : powerful methods to overcome cancer pain, Atlanta, GA : American Cancer Society. Advice on pain control from leading authorities.

Association of Cancer Online Resources ACOR is a collection of online communities that provide timely and accurate information to cancer patients and their families.

Cancer Care Ontario Practice Guidelines Initiative: Patient Versions of Cancer Care Guidelines This Canadian site provides guidelines for care of patients with cancer, so that health consumers can verify that they are receiving the accepted and standard care..

Cancer Sourcebook. Detroit: Omnigraphics. Offers basic descriptions of different cancer types and treatment options. Final section focuses on coping.

Clinical Cancer Information from PDQ Information for patients and clinicians on the prevention, treatment of cancer, and research developments in oncology.

Colorado Cancer Resource Guide A guide to information and financial resources for cancer patients and their families, created by The Metro Denver Oncology Nursing society and the Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Program with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The guide provides information on specific types of cancers and general resources that apply to all cancer patients.

Livestrong Survivor's Notebook Livestrong provides a portable, three-ring binder to help organize and guide your cancer experience. The notebook contains a variety of information covering a full range of physical, emotional and practical survivorship topics.

National Cancer Institute Cancer information from the National Cancer Institute, one of the largest cancer research agencies in the world.

The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) National organization represents the interests of cancer survivors and advocates for quality care for all cancer patients.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)/American Cancer Society Treatment Guidelines for Patients Patient-oriented, clinical practice guidelines are available in English and Spanish. Plans are underway to translate all NCCN guidelines for consumers.

OncoLink One of the premier cancer web sites with information for health professionals and their patients.

Steve Dunn’s Cancer Guide This guide is the work of a cancer survivor and includes valuable information on researching cancer topics and links to other sites.

Treatment Decision Tools A free, interactive, decision-support tool for patients from the American Cancer Society Website. Users complete a confidential questionnaire to create an individualized report that details risks and benefits of therapies, as well as questions to ask the physician. Personalized evidence-based treatment plans are available for fourteen cancer types.

TrialCheck Find an appropriate clinical trial for you by using a screening tool that asks a series of questions about your demographic characteristics and disease state. Very user friendly.

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See also: Access to Health Care, Multilingual Health Information and Senior Health

CarePages CarePages is a free, personal, private Web page that helps family and friends communicate when someone is receiving care.  Recommended by the University of Colorado Hospital's Cancer Center.

CaringBridge CaringBridge offers free, easy-to-create web sites that help connect friends and family when they need it most.

CarePlanner If you are faced with helping someone decide what their caretaking options are in their golden years then this site may help. Nice decision support, and very private. From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Family and Caregiver Financial Planning Guidance for caregivers on planning for the payment of present and future medical and living expenses from the Institute on Aging.

Family Caregiver Alliance  Information, services and support for caregivers and families of loved ones with long-term, chronic and terminal conditions. Includes “Hot Topics” and “Fact Sheets” on various conditions (such as dementia, Parkinson's Disease, and stroke) and issues (including end-of-life decision making, assistive devices, and behavior management strategies for dementia patients). Site also hosts several online support groups for caregivers. Includes information in Spanish and Chinese.

Five Wishes  The Five Wishes document helps you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself. It is unique among all other living will and health agent forms because it looks to all of a person's needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual. Five Wishes also encourages discussing your wishes with your family and physician.

Home Health Provider Buy medical equipment and supplies via the web and have them shipped to your door.

Intellihealth Caregiving
?k=zonex408x9030%20 Advice from Harvard Medical School's consumer health website.

Livestrong Survivor's Notebook Livestrong provides a portable, three-ring binder to help organize and guide your cancer experience. The notebook contains a variety of information covering a full range of physical, emotional and practical survivorship topics.

Medlineplus Caregivers  Links to caregiver resources at the respected NLM portal to consumer health information. Also en espanol

Our-Kids Information and support for parents of children with special needs.

theStatus  theStatus provides Arabic, English, French, German, Spanish language secure, private, web pages with the purpose of maintaining communication between family and friends about illnesses, treatment, and recovery.

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Argo Descipher This site allows you to plug in the results of laboratory tests and determine the types of illnesses related to those results, then find information about the diagnoses. For example, a high serum LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar level elicits a list of several diseases with links to information about those diseases.

Body Language Identifies possible causes of common symptoms.

Ferri's Clinical Advisor : instant diagnosis and treatment. St. Louis : Mosby. Standard medical text used for Differential Diagnosis (the determination of which of two or more diseases with similar symptoms is the one from which the patient is suffering, by a systematic comparison and contrasting of the clinical findings).

Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: Diagnostic Tests. Easy to use guide to the most common medical tests.

The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Medical Tests : what you can expect, how you should prepare, what your results mean . New York : Rebus.

Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference, Kathleen Deska Pagana & Timothy James Pagana, St. Louis: Mosby.

The Patient's Guide to Medical Tests : Everything You Need To Know About The Tests Your Doctor Orders, Joseph C. Segen and Josie Wade, Facts on File.

WebMD: Medical Tests A guide to hundreds of common medical tests. (May need to scroll down to see alphabetic list.)

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About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Extensive resource for cancer patients. Also includes information for professionals on each substance, including uses, warnings, and interactions.

Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Puyallup, WA: Future Medicine. Identifies alternative therapies and discusses health conditions, their causes, symptoms, and treatment. Includes lists of national organizations and related reading.

Alternative Medicine Homepage This page is maintained by a University of Pittsburgh health sciences librarian, and links to a wide variety of reputable sources on alternative therapies.

Alternative Medicine (NOAH) Alternative medicine information from one of the largest and most trusted providers of online health information. Also available in Spanish.

American Botanical Council Site founded by a professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Texas School of Pharmacy. Click on "Herbal Information" for valuable online resources.  Ever wonder how much of an active ingredient you are getting in a vitamin or nutritional supplement?  Consumer Lab scientifically tests products in order to recommend the best quality products.  Summary information is available for free, more extensive information is available to subscribers.

Duke, James A. Green Pharmacy. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press. Recommended by Joe Graedon, Robert Arnot, and Varro Tyler as an authoritative guide to herbal remedies. Arranged by conditions requiring treatment and rates the most effective remedies.

Ed's Guide to Alternative Therapies. Don't let the informal title of this site fool you, this is a serious site for the general public, created by a pathologist. Ed examines the scientific studies available, then rates the therapies based on whether he is confident/optimistic/doubtful/pessimistic about their effectiveness as a treatment.

Kristine Krapp and Jacqueline L. Longe, The Gale encyclopedia of alternative medicine, Gale Group. A thorough, multi-volume encyclopedia of alternative medicine.

Herbs and Supplements at Medlineplus. Medlineplus offers about 100 articles from Natural Standard about herbs and supplements that are evidence-based and peer-reviewed. Click on the Drugs & Supplements tab, then click on the alphabetic table to find the herb or supplement you are seeking.

HealthWWWeb:Integrative Medicine, Natural Health, and Alternative Therapies Web site whose aim is to empower health consumers interested in alternative or complementary care.

Medical Advisor: The Complete Guide to Alternative & Conventional Treatments. Time-Life. Gives brief descriptions of conventional therapies for ailments, followed by alternative therapies. Each entry begins with a list of warning signs that call for a physician's consultation.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Federal government office that provides funding for study of alternative medicine and organized access to information on alternative treatments.

National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements The ODS supports research and disseminates research results in the area of dietary supplements. The ODS also provides advice to other Federal agencies regarding research results related to dietary supplements. Fact sheets and access to the International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements are provided through this site.

Ody, Penelope. Complete Guide to Medicinal Herbs: herbal remedies for common ailments. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2000. Explains usefulness, actions, and preparations of herbs. In-depth information and beautiful illustrations.

Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine A Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons' sponsored site devoted to informed research and use of complementary and alternative practices.

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Household Products Database Easy-to-understand information on the potential health effects of more than 2,000 ingredients contained in more than 4,000 common household products

Ask NOAH About: Environmental Health Also in Spanish:

Tox Town - Your health, toxic substances, and the environment Illustrated guide to commonly encountered toxic chemicals, environmental health risks, and the public's health, from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Also in Spanish at: .

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Chiropractic Techniques Page INKS/technique.shtml. A guide to techniques used in practice.

Chiro Web A significant resource for all types of information on chiropractic.

Index to Chiropractic Literature The premier index to the literature of the field, available for free on web.

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American Association of Orthodontists  Resources, "Find and Orthodontist" list, and information designed for young patients.

American Dental Association, ADA Online Consumer dental health web site, also includes a "find a dentist" service and offers Tips for Choosing A Dentist.

How to Choose A Dentist Overview of issues and information about choosing a dentist.

Pediatric Oral Health A good starting point for commonly asked questions about pediatric dentistry and dental procedures. Find a Pediatric Dentist service provided.

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Administration on Aging This web site covers many topics of interest to seniors. 

AgeNet AgeNet provides drug and health related information for seniors. Some parts of the site require registration for use.

CarePlanner If you are faced with helping someone decide what their caretaking options are in their golden years then this site may help. Nice decision support, and very private. From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicare Information One of the most confusing and complicated aspects of senior health is dealing with Medicare. This site provides information for seniors. Spanish and Asian language pages are available.

Institute for Health & Aging School of Nursing, University of California San Francisco Resources of value to seniors, caregivers, and others interested in geriatric medicine. 

NIH Senior Health Site Helpful site that includes large text, high contrast and text reader options.

Nursing Home Compare (HCFA) A resource for selecting a nursing home, based on quality of care data collected by the federal government. Spanish and Chinese language information offered at this site.

Senior Net Senior Net's greatest contribution to senior health is their health related roundtables for discussion of health topics. Registration required.

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Colorado Virtual Library Health and Well being for Kids Click on Kids under CVL Resources, then on Health and Well-Being for resources with a Colorado focus.

4 Girls A health website containing information designed for girls aged 10-16.

AMA Adolescent Health On-Line Specialty site devoted to the unique aspects of the health of 13-18 year olds.

BabyCenter Specialty site covers from pre-conception planning up to the health of toddler age children.

BrainPop Excellent flash animations on a number of health topics.

Pediatric Oral Health A good starting point for commonly asked questions about pediatric dentistry and dental procedures. Find a Pediatric Dentist service provided.

Federal Citizen Information Center, Recalls Lists of recalled products, grouped by subject. Look for the "Children's Products" category on the left.

HealthFinder for Kids A child oriented site from the creators of the Health and Human Services HealthFinder Web site. Premier consumer health site for child health. Sponsored by the Nemours Foundation, a DuPont family fund devoted to the care of children through hospitals and pediatric clinics.

Our-Kids Information and support for parents of children with special needs.

Virtual Children's Hospital A resource for professionals and families of the patients of the University of Iowa's Childrens' Hospital since 1994. Ceased 01/01/06

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MEDICAL SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS Human Body Science Fair Projects

Library Spot Science Projects

Writing for Science Subtitled An Interactive Guide to Effective Writing, Writing for Science, and Writing for Advocacy, this free online book includes step by step instructions on effective writing, writing for science, publishing material, advocacy, and more. Appropriate for high school level and above.

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Please see the guide, Finding it Fast! Locating Medical Information on the World Wide Web

Clusty from Vivismo for PubMed Type in a major keyword, select PubMed@NIH from a menu of options, and let Clusty group your results in sub-topic related clusters. Add keywords suggested in the sub-topic clusters to focus your search.

Consumer Health Search Engine   This search engine searches the 134 web sites recommended for health care consumers by the Consumer and Patient Health Information Section of the Medical Library Association. This ensures that health care consumers are getting reliable and accurate information.

Google Google is a great search engine that is especially useful for known site searching. When you've forgotten the URL for a site, type in the title of a site to connect quickly to that site. For a more focused search, try the Google Coop health search at which offers a search engine that limits searching to about 25 major health resources on the web. Searches can be limited to categories and by type of resource.

Google Groups This search engine is an excellent source of opinion and information exchanged through newsgroups and discussion lists. Search a topic and retrieve email postings with related content.  Users should be cautioned to think critically about the recommendations or advice presented in posted messages.

Mednets: A Community for Patients Click on the link for "patients", then select a topic in the drop down menu box labeled "Customize MedNets for:", then type a word in the lower search box. This search engine performs your keyword search in select subset of websites. The websites are reliable, recognized authorities on health topics. Easy to use, nice layout, good navigation.

Turbo10 Turbo10 is a customizable metasearch engine, that sorts results into categories for easy browsing. Use it to create a metasearch engine for healthfinder, Intellihealth, the Nursing Center, dictionaries, and other web sites.

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Note: Some primarily English language sites offer alternatives in Spanish, especially government web sites.  Watch for a "Spanish" or "En Espanol" links on these pages. Additional sites can be found in the excellent "Consumer Health: An Online Manual" from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine ( The items below offer primary access to the site in Spanish:

CDC en Español . Spanish language information from the Centers for Disease Control.

HealthFinder Espanol . Spanish language version of a respected government gateway to health information.

Medical Spanish Terms . 1400 medicine related terms, translated English to Spanish.

MEDLINEplus en Espanol A Spanish language version of MEDLINEplus linking to Spanish language health resources with the same high quality of information found at the English language MEDLINEplus site.

NOAH: New York Online Access to Health Use the Spanish language menu, or find a page in English and click on the "En Espanol" link.

Polyglot v.3.0 Multimedia Medical Spanish & English Translator Online pronounciation and translation guide. Requires audio for pronounciations.

Spanish-English Medical Terms In Adobe Acrobat Reader format.

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This list of Multilingual Health Resources comes from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Australian Transcultural Mental Health Network A wide variety of information offered in many languages, from a country that provides a benchmark for public mental health services.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control) From the Spanish language site, access sites in English, Español, ChinoFrançais, Deutsch, Tagalog, Vietnamita, Italiano, Coreano, and РУССКИЙ.

Combined Health Information Database (Advanced Search Form) Search for information in other languages using a pull down menu language limit.

Cultural Medicine -- Tanya Feddern A rich resource for anyone serving the health information needs of multiple cultures.

Denison Memorial Library Multicultural & Multilingual Health Information -- Consumer Health resources for a variety of ethnicities, races, and language groups in Colorado.

EthnoMed A premiere multicultural health care site.

Family Caregiver Alliance  Information, services and support for caregivers and families of loved ones with long-term, chronic and terminal conditions, offered in Spanish and Chinese. Includes “Hot Topics” and “Fact Sheets” on various conditions (such as dementia, Parkinson's Disease, and stroke) and issues (including end-of-life decision making, assistive devices, and behavior management strategies for dementia patients). Site also hosts several online support groups for caregivers.

Health Education Brochures in Multiple Languages Resource page developed by the University of Utah.

Immunization Action Coalition -- Print Materials in Other Languages Immunization information for parents offered in a wide variety of languages.

MedInfoRus -- Patient Education Russian language health resources.

MEDLINEplus (Search on "foreign language")

New South Wales Multicultural Health Communication Service Another rich resource of non-English language health pamphlets and information sheets

theStatus theStatus provides Arabic, English, French, German, Spanish language secure, private, web pages with the purpose of maintaining communication between family and friends about illnesses, treatment, and recovery.

World Health Organization Country Profiles Health status of the 193 member states and others, including vital statistics and other information.  Many reports are available in .csv format for import into spreadsheets or statistical software.

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This list is still "under construction". Please submit any suggestions for additions related to people with disabilities, women's or ethnic populations' health care to Lynne Fox.

Asian American Health Content is provided by the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine.

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum Information and links from a national advocacy group. This site focuses on major health issues of interest to African Americans. Offers an African American Physician Locator. Great multimedia content worked best in later versions of Internet Explorer.

Gay & Lesbian Health Resource links provided by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Health Science Librarians Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Medical Library Association.

HealthFinder: Just for you HealthFinder provides links to information based on "special health concerns based on age, gender, race, ethnic origin, or role in helping others care for their health." .

National Asian Women's Health Organization Another great specialty site from an advocacy group.

National Women's Health Information Center Information from the federal agency charged with advancing research, services, and education about women's health issues.

Office of Minority Health Resource Center Information from the federal agency responsible for promoting improvements in minority group health care.

Third Age  Third Age is a web site for adults 50 and older, in-between the adult and senior age groups targeted by many web sites.

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Health literacy is the ability to read, understand, and act on health care information.

BrainPop Excellent flash animations on a number of health topics.

Council of State Governments
SOG02HealthLiteracy.PDF. Excellent source of policy and reference information on the topic, as well as hyperlinks to web sites.

MEDLINEplus Easy to Read
. Look for hyperlinks marked with "Easy to Read" to find resources for readers who need a very basic level of information.  

MEDLINEplus Tutorials Provides flash based animation and narration on health topics and medical procedures.

Low Health Literacy Toolkit Resource materials designed for adult educators.

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America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) The industry association for HMOs, PPOs, and other group health plan providers.

America's Best Hospitals. New York: Wiley. Annual special issue from the editors of U.S. News & World Report. Rankings are based on reputation, mortality rate, and objective indicators that vary by specialty. See also U.S. News & World Report, 

American Hospital Directory Some services are offered for a fee. Free services include basic data about hospitals.

AHA Guide to the Health Care Field. Chicago: American Hospital Association. Lists all AHA-registered and osteopathic hospitals in the U.S. and associated areas and all government hospitals outside the U.S. Also includes freestanding long-term care facilities, substance abuse programs, psychiatric facilities, ambulatory care centers, and HMOs accredited by JCAHO. For large libraries. Updated annually.

AMA Physician Select On-Line Doctor Finder (AMA) Information on physicians who are AMA members.

Best Doctors. Doctors were asked, "If you had a close friend or loved one who needed a neurological surgeon (for example), to whom would you refer them?"

Center for Health Care Strategies Resources and links on health care access policy issues.

Checkup on Health Insurance Choices This guide explains options for health insurance and provides checklists to help you determine which options are best for you and which policies cover the most options at the lowest premium.

Colorado Health Online: Health Matters – A Health Plan Report Card This site is provided by some of Colorado's largest employers. They conduct satisfaction surveys to determine employee satisfaction with health plans to help them select employee health benefit providers.

Colorado Medical Society Search for a doctor who is a member of the Colorado Medical Society.

Colorado State - Professional and Occupational Licensing Boards Find out about the license status of Colorado health professionals. Physicians are listed under the "Medical Examiner" link.

A Consumer’s Guide to Getting and Keeping Health Insurance in Colorado This is a guide to the rights and laws that cover health insurance matters in Colorado.

Directory of Physicians in the United States. Chicago: American Medical Association. Lists physicians licensed to practice in the U.S. and its territories. For large libraries. Updated annually.

FACCT (Foundation For Accountability) This site includes Compare Your Care, an interactive tool to determine whether there are gaps in the health care you receive, based on accepted standards for care.

Frequently Asked Questions about Government Access to Personal Medical Information Excellent source of information about health care record privacy, as affected by the USA PATRIOT Act.

Government Benefits One stop access to information about government benefits, rules, and eligibility.

HealthGrades: Health Care Report Cards Provides evaluations of healthcare quality based on the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review data.

HIPAA Privacy Rule
info-url_nocat2303/info-url_nocat_show.htm?doc_id=173435. Under the new rule, will you still be able to pick up prescriptions for your housebound mother? This and other questions are addressed here. Learn the common myths and factual information about the HIPAA privacy rule.

KaiserEDU Developed by the Kaiser Family Foundation, KaiserEDU gives health policy students and faculty easy access to data, literature, news and developments regarding major health policy topics and debates.

Locate-a-Doc Another resource for locating a physician, especially helpful for specialty and chiropractic health services.

National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Health plan accreditation information.

Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists. 4 vols. New Providence, NJ: Marquis. Lists physicians who have been certified by specialty boards. For large libraries. Updated annually. Use the web site to verify a physician's specialty certification:

Quack Watch This web site monitors therapies and practices that are not generally accepted by the medical community and health related fraud.

Quality Check (JCAHO) Click on "Quality Check" (middle column) to learn about the accreditation of hospitals, sponsored by the commission that is responsible for the review and accreditation of hospitals.

State Health Facts Online Statistical comparisons of important health indicators by state.

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Ask An Expert from NetWellness The Ohio equivalent of The Colorado Virtual Library's Best Websites for Health & Medicine provides an "Ask an Expert" service sponsored by three top Ohio medical universities.

Ask Our Experts  Look for the "Ask our Experts" link.

Ask Dr. Weil Health advice from the leading advocate of holistic medicine.

Ask The People's Pharmacy Joe Graedon and others respond to drug and herbal treatment questions in the People's Pharmacy online information column.

Cancer Help and Support List of resources for people with cancer who need help researching their medical options.

Go Ask Alice . Designed for college students, so the candid and sometimes irreverent approach is not for everyone.

The Health Resource Need to gather information quickly about your illness, but don't have time to do it yourself or visit a library? Researchers can gather information on a disease, diagnosis, treatment options, top specialists in the field, and alternative/complementary treatments. Fee for service.

Partners Online Specialty Consultations . Payment is required, consultations result in medical opinions provided by licensed professionals to your healthcare provider.

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MEDICAL MULTIMEDIA AND INTERACTIVE STUDY Excellent source of images, including photographs, illustrations, MRIs, x-rays, and sonograms. The "health illustrated" series offers detailed visual information on procedures, surgeries, tests, and self-care. Also includes animations and video. The free version is embedded in Medlineplus' encyclopedia 

Anatomia 1522-1867 Anatomical Plates from the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. A great selection of detailed anatomical drawings, searchable by artist/subject/title, gender, point of view, and in color or monochromatic.

Anatomia Universa Paolo Mascagni Anatomia Universa was original published between 1823 and 1832. Only 3 or 4 copies exist in the US. This site, created by the University of Iowa, scanned the individual plates and uses Quicktime to allow viewers to zoom in for more detailed views and to pan the illustrations.

BrainPop Excellent flash animations on a number of health topics.

Clip Art for Health Communication. From Johns Hopkins University  A wide variety of drawings in color and black and white, with an emphasis on health education/public health subjects.

CNN Health Video Provides links to CNN streaming video of health news reports. Change the "ALL" menu to HEALTH to browse available content.

FindLaw Medical Images Expensive, but very high quality images available in a variety of formats.

Hardin MD Medical Pictures A wide selection of medical illustrations on a variety of medical topics.

HealthCentral Late breaking news stories from health research. Includes streaming video. Click on "Video Library" in the left sidebar.

HONMedia Provides links to medical images, search by topic or browse a category list.

Health Podcasts Find a variety of audio broadcasts to listen to online, or to download to mp3 players or IPods.

HealthScout Click on "Health Videos" on the lower left navigation bar to view short health videos. Offers low and high bandwidth MS Media Player or Quicktime choices for viewing.

Karolinska Institute Medical Images and Illustrations This page contains links to other pages and sites on the Internet offering biomedically related multimedia material, mostly images (photos, illustrations, etc.). Occasionally, the material may be downloaded and used free of charge. Normally, however, the material is strictly copyrighted, and may be used only after first having obtained explicit permission by the rightful owner.

Martindale Health Science Guide One of the oldest directories of self-study and multimedia materials culled from academic and medical web sites. Scroll down to the Health Science Guide links.

Medlineplus Tutorials Excellent tutorials on a variety of consumer health concerns. Flash v.4 plug-in required.

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Online Teaching) Health Science  Provides links to hundreds of multimedia web-based interactive learning resources in the health sciences.

Project Healthy Talks and slideshows on consumer health topics sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book.

Stanford Health Library Video Collection Valuable information is offered, although hindered by a "talking head" lecture format. Some videos have a more engaging newsmagazine format.

Videos of Surgical Procedures. This page on MedlinePlus provides links to pre-recorded webcasts of surgical procedures. These are actual operations performed at medical centers in the United States since January 2004. The videos last an hour.

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Behind the Medical Headlines Behind the Medical Headlines was created by physicians in Scotland to provide authoritative and independent expert commentaries on topical medical matters reported in the international media.

Healthtbolt This blog is devoted to "good health, bad health, nutrition, technology, gadgets and gear. We want to play longer and harder and have more fun doing it." The contributors are a mix of writers, a improv comedian, and medical professionals who want to communicate health information to consumers in an entertaining and informative way. RSS feed available.

HealthCentral Late breaking news stories from health research. Includes streaming video. RSS feed available.

Health News Review Rates and reviews the accuracy, balance, and completeness of health reports in the news.

HealthScout Provides health news and reports of research for the consumer.

Medical News Feeds Provides access to hundreds of medically related blogs in a quick access, one page format. Great for keeping up on new developments in medicine or the health industry. RSS feed available.

MEDLINEplus News Headlines via email . Health headlines delivered daily to your email inbox. Use the web form to register.

Rocky Mountain News Health Pages Articles provided by the Scripps network of newspapers. RSS feed available.

Yahoo! News Health Headlines Headline stories from the Reuter and AP newswire services. RSS feed available. Other RSS feeds include Weight Loss & Nutrition, or Parenting & Kids

The Why? Files  Created by the National Institute for Science Education to analyze current science topics as reported in the media. Browse the archives or use the search form to find a topic.

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Denison Memorial Library Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Photocopy Service Information about requesting interlibrary loan materials from Denison Library.

Directory of Open Access Journals. Search over 600 open access journals. What is an open access journal?

E-Journals Links to free full text journal sources from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

Fee-based Document Delivery Options Fee-based document delivery sources. FindArticles includes full text for many medical and consumer journals. This site offers free full text medical books. This site tracks medical journals that are available for free on the Web.

Medscape Medscape provides some professional medical journals in full text. Note the "Medscape International" links under Professional Specialty "other sites" which include Brazilian, Spanish, and Italian sites. Now owned by WebMD.

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Rees, Alan M. Consumer Health Information Source Book. 7th ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2003. - Serves as an evaluative guide to a wide range of consumer health information materials.

Alt HealthWatch, Health Library, Health Source: Consumer Edition, Natural & Alternative Treatments, Pregnancy & Birthing Center of Excellence
EBSCO Publishing
10 Estes Street, Ipswich, MA 01938 USA
1-800-653-2726, International 1-978-356-6500, FAX 1-978-356-6565
Consumer health oriented materials designed to provide education and information for patients. Several resources include evidence based evaluations of information.

Health Reference Center
The Gale Group
Customer Support
27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331
1-800-877-GALE (8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (M-F) (EST) ; FAX (248) 699-8093
Integrated access to health, fitness, and nutrition information. Periodicals covered include consumer health magazines and newsletters and core professional medical journals, with full text provided. In addition, citations (many with abstracts) are included for articles when full text isn't included. Also contains indexing and full text of pamphlets produced by federal agencies, health organizations, and professional associations. Very expensive. CD-ROM

Nidus Information Services
175 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2338
New York, NY 10010
Detailed reports six to eight pages long on approximately fifty common medical conditions. Comprehensive coverage of symptoms, causes, diagnosis, risks, prevention, latest treatments, and referral organizations. Reviewed by doctors at Harvard Medical School. Regular updates. Available by subscription, bulk purchase, or licensing -- in print or electronic format. Reasonably inexpensive. Sample reports available at Web site.

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This page created by Lynne M. Fox, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denison Library, Box A003, 4200 East Ninth Avenue, Denver, CO, 80262;  303-315-4299

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Last Update: 04 October 2006