Summer or Fall 2012 Paid Practicum – HHS Office of Minority Health


HHS Office of Minority Health Resource Center (OMHRC)
Knowledge Center
1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 650
Rockville, MD 20852
Tel. (301) 251-1797 x231   Fax (301) 251-2160


Established in 1986, the overall mission of the HHS Office of Minority Health is to improve and protect the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will eliminate health disparities.  It advises the HHS Secretary on public health program activities affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.  The library is contracted to serve the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Minority Health staff members as well as public patrons, providing access to information resources specifically related to minority health and health disparities within the United States.

The OMHRC Knowledge Center contains a non-circulating collection of 10,000 documents, reports, books, journals, media, and more than 30,000 articles related to the health status of racial and ethnic minority populations. It is staffed by two full time librarians, and works within the Resource Center which has a staff of 20.  The non-library staff provides a number of other services and programs for the federal office.

The library collection also includes sources of consumer health material in more than 35 languages. Use of the OMHRC Knowledge Center is available for research purposes only, and it is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by appointment.

Work description and specific tasks:

This Practicum / Field Study will provide a MLS student with experience in special librarianship in some of the following areas: cataloging, indexing, learning reference resources, website development, and database management. The student should expect to be trained and assigned to some of the following tasks, depending on coursework requirements:

  • Edit and update existing library catalog records to coordinate with a new Integrated Library System, using INMAGIC software
  • Edit records and ship documents to the Library of Congress, FedScan service, for digitization.
  • Perform original cataloging for article records entered into the database
  • Assist in reviewing and developing new content for the Knowledge Center website
  • Initiate, track and organize publisher responses to copyright permission requests
  • Participate in staff training, user education and Federal office outreach events

Skills and knowledge required for the position:

The student must be currently enrolled in an accredited MLS or Masters in Information Studies degree program, and have an interest in special libraries, public health, or health disparities issues. Additionally, the student should be detail-oriented and have excellent organizational, communication, and Internet skills. The ability to work independently is also preferred.  The candidate should have some experience in using Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  Some physical work will be required to inventory and weed the collection, as part of a digitization project. Minority students are encouraged to apply.

Opportunities for the student:

The student will be trained in the use of INMAGIC Genie integrated library software, and will learn the specialized cataloging procedures developed by the OMHRC Knowledge Center.  The student also will be exposed to the wide variety of technical literature and reference resources related to public health, health disparities, HIV/AIDS education, and health promotion.  The student will learn to use databases such as OVID, ProjectMuse, PsycArticles, and PubMed.  The student will have an opportunity to work with a diverse, international, multilingual staff.  Work hours are flexible.

Special stipulations:

Students will not receive any wages for work completed.  Work products will become the property of the site library and government agency, but may be presented for course credits.  The student will be expected to comply with basic standards of business behavior, confidentiality and dress codes, as defined in the contracting company employee handbook.  The OMHRC service contract is currently managed by HeiTech Services, Inc.  The student and library staff will be accountable to that company management during the project.  The student must obtain a signed agreement from their educational institution to complete this practicum/field study segment under the auspices of their university.

Contact information:

Faye Williams, Library Services Manager
Phone:  (301) 251-1797   x231