Melody M. Allison, BSN, MSLIS, is the Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Librarian and Associate Professor of Library Administration in the Funk ACES Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She was formerly the Assistant Biology Librarian in the Biology Library at UIUC for seven years, following four years as Information Services Librarian in the Cunningham Memorial Library at Indiana State University where she served as subject specialist for nursing and the life sciences.
Prior to becoming an academic librarian, she practiced as a registered nurse for over twenty years, most of which was in hospital settings in Chicago and the surrounding collar counties. Her interests in nursing continue in regards to nursing information seeking and use, nursing information resources, nurses' access to nursing information resources and services, and support of nurses in their dynamic working environments.
She has been an active member of the Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section (NAHRS) of the Medical Library Association (MLA) since 1999, and its Task Force to Map the Literature of Nursing. The task force did a massive bibliometric study of the literature in several nursing fields that recently culminated in the first ever online "Journal of the Medical Library Association" (JMLA) supplement "Symposium: Mapping the Literature of Nursing"
GenderBiology.net emanates from a long-standing interest in womens' rights, particularly as they relate to women's health care. From the pages of my first "Our Bodies, Ourselves (OBOS): A Book by and for Women" (OBOS Web site] that I got while in nursing school, the call to become a catalyst for change was awakened -- a change in how I felt about my own body -- to recognize that it was MY body -- how I wanted, and EXPECTED, to be treated -- how I HAVE A RIGHT to be treated -- in the health care system. These were no small concepts at the time. They were actually quite radical. It took a bit of self-therapy to integrate the words into self. And once they were a part of the soul, there were decades of hurdles to jump. Although the focus has been on reproductive, sexual, and related health issues, OBOS has made a most profound and lasting contribution to womens' well-being.
Since that time I have had a multitude of experiences about womens' health care in my own life, my patients' lives, and families and friends thereof, that were frustrating and frightening. Many of these experiences were, and continue to be, resulting from a lack of voice that women have in the health care system, and gender bias. Critically, another obstruction to womens' health care has been the dependence on medical information from research done on mens' bodies being superimposed to decisions about womens' care. But women are NOT LITTLE MEN. Each sex has its own individual physiology based on hormonal and genetic influences on ALL cells and body systems -- not just the reproductive ones. And as such, one can expect that there can be quite different reactions to the same disease processes, drugs, and therapies. The first stirrings that research needed to include women and well as men to validate physiological and medical reality began in the mid-1980's. The federal government has created a number of agencies and offices, policies, and regulations to foster this goal. And without these initiatives, we would likely not be anywhere near the point we are today ... with a growing body of evidence to base women's health care. But there are still gaps to be filled in getting this information to the point of care. How do I know? Ladies -- do your doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals base your health care on gender biology and gender medical research? Do you yourself know what it is? It will take the interest and demand of all stakeholders for accurate health and medical information to be used for women's health care. Are you ready?
GenderBiology.net was created to provide information relating to gender biology and gender medicine for health care professionals, health care consumers, and library and information professionals. Content includes bibliographies of related news, books, periodicals, government documents, history sources, listservs, and institutions. When possible, news items link to the original source of the news as well as PubMed biomedical literature citations from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to the actual research discussed in the news release and/or other pertinent information related to the news. All book titles were reviewed to make sure that the content related to gender biology and not traditional women;s health (reproductive focus). This way you can locate the actual item where the research was reported and not depend solely on press release summary/paraphrase. Book citations link to the publisher record for the title and to WorldCat.org title record where you can get further details, including links to the nearest libraries where one can find the title (check with your local public library about interlibrary loan is they don't have the title) or a link to purchase the title. Please feel free to suggest content for this site via Email Me.
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