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Thormodson named associate dean and director of Harrell Health Sciences Library

Kelly Thormodson, director of library resources for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of North Dakota, has been named associate dean for library and information services and director of the Harrell Health Sciences Library at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey. Her first day in the new role was April 1, 2019.

Thormodson reports to the College’s vice dean for educational affairs, and her academic appointment as a faculty librarian is with Penn State University Libraries, reporting to the dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications. She will oversee the Harrell Health Sciences Library as well as the library component of the College of Medicine’s University Park medical degree curriculum.

“Kelly’s background makes her an excellent choice to oversee a modern, comprehensive health sciences library such as ours,” said Dr. Terry Wolpaw, vice dean for educational affairs at Penn State College of Medicine. “The Harrell Health Sciences Library is a vital resource for all learners that provides access to the latest innovations in care and training, and helps us develop clinicians and scientists who are ready to shape the future of health care.”

“Kelly’s experience leading multi-campus academic health sciences libraries and her active roles in national medical and academic library organizations make her ideally suited to direct the information resources and services support for Penn State’s academic programs and research initiatives in medicine,” said Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications. “We are excited to welcome her to the University and look forward to her contributions at Penn State’s Hershey and University Park campuses.”

In her role at University of North Dakota, Thormodson has overseen academic and clinical library information resources for the university’s three clinical campuses across North Dakota in addition to its main campus in Grand Forks. Previously, she served as head of Health Sciences and Outreach at the University of Iowa’s Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, where she supervised liaisons to five health science colleges and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and also was responsible for library education. Earlier in her career, she held a number of positions at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Arnold Library in Seattle.

She has presented at many national and regional professional conferences and is an active member of national professional organizations. Thormodson chairs the Medical Library Association’s Professional Recruitment and Retention Committee, among other assignments. She also served as a member of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries’ Task Force on Competency-Based Medical Education.

Thormodson’s most recent academic research has been in two areas relating to evidence-based medicine (EBM). One research area is on the education of medical students in relation to EBM: who teaches EBM, how a library can be involved in that education, what methods are used to teach and assess EBM, whether its skill set is maintained or lost by students after testing, and how core entrustable professional activities or EPAs — possibly mandated in the future by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the medical degree accrediting body Liaison Committee on Medical Education — might affect that knowledge. Her second area of research is related to the use of EBM by practitioners specifically in rural areas, where money, resources and access to resources are scarce, especially as hospitals across the nation are closing their libraries.

Thormodson was selected as a 2014-2015 Leadership Fellow of the National Library of Medicine/Association of Academic Health Science Libraries Institute and as a 2013 participant in the Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Libraries, among other awards and honors. She earned a master of arts degree in library and information science from the University of Iowa, a bachelor of arts degree in history from North Dakota State University and an associate of arts degree from Fergus Falls Community College, now a campus of the Minnesota State Community and Technical College.

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