New hi-tech projects bring health info to underprivileged

Technologically underserved areas in 34 states will soon have greater access to health information from the world's largest medical library thanks to the Internet and funding from the National Library of Medicine.

Donald Lindberg, director of the NLM, last week announced grants for 49 electronic health information projects designed to increase Internet access to medical data for those in underserved areas. The projects involve getting computers to places such as middle schools and senior citizen centers in rural, inner city and suburban areas.

"These are imaginative and well-targeted projects that will help us determine how we can best provide millions of Americans who are still not connected to the Internet with access to health information," Lindberg said in a release. "They will stimulate medical libraries, local public libraries and other organizations to work together to provide new electronic health information services for all citizens in a community."

Ideally, the project will help minorities and low-income populations use the Internet to make better informed health decisions.

The grants total more than $1 million and will run from one year to 18 months. There are descriptions of each project on the NLM Web site at www.nlm.nih.gov.

The NLM is a component of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., and is the world's largest medical library with more than 5 million books, journals and other resources.

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