UH Med Now
JABSOM Celebrates Melissa Kahili-Heede during Medical Librarians Month
October is Medical Librarians Month so we figured now would be a great time to highlight one of our librarians.
If you’re a student, Melissa Kahili-Heede is the friendly face who can assist you with all your research needs. She was recently selected to the exclusive National Library of Medicine (NLM) and Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) Leadership Fellowship. We caught up with her for a quick Q/A one morning to learn more about her exciting year ahead.
Q: Melissa, you’ve been JABSOM’s dedicated Information Services and Instruction Librarian for the last seven years, but you never planned to take this route?
A: When I went to Library School, I went to the University of Washington and we had a health sciences track, but I never thought I’d end up at a Health Sciences library, but now that I’m here I love it. Learning about the intersection between librarianship and medicine, I definitely feel like our skills are needed at the School of Medicine. That’s what makes me feel passionate about it.
Q: How rewarding is it when you can help one of our students in a research project?
A: I think our students here for the most part, are very self-directed, very motivated. They already come with a lot of experience so it feels all the more rewarding when you do get to help them with something. We’ve been helping them more in research related activities. That’s exciting because I think that’s a little bit newer for us at the library.
Q: Is it daunting when a student comes in with a challenging scientific topic?
A: It is, but with time I’ve gotten better at it. I’ve grown in confidence in my own skills to quickly learn what I need to help them.
Q: Your skills have put you in an elite group. Congratulations on being selected to the Leadership Fellows Program!
A: Thank you! It’s a very small cohort. I’m very excited about it. I know I’ve tried to focus on enhancing my leadership abilities, so this is just the next big step towards that.
Q: What will this fellowship entail?
A: We’ll do various leadership skill building activities. I’m being paired with the director of Penn State’s medical library. It’s another aspect to help us grow into our own leadership abilities. The fellowship will last a year and will end with a capstone in Washington D.C. next fall.
Q: When the fellowship is over, what will you bring back to JABSOM to enhance the library?
A: I definitely aspire to hold a leadership position someday. I know that I want to be able to carry the library forward and be equipped to make the changes to keep us relevant and make us continue to be useful to our patrons and get us out into the community a little bit more.
Matthew Campbell, Director of Communications