We Come from the Four Directions: Sharing Our Stories of Workplace Wellness@Your Library
By Loriene Roy, Professor, School of Library and Information Science, The University of Texas at Austin
Our first annual Workplace Wellness@Your Library Symposium is nearing (March 23-24, 2012). Thanks to federal funds from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health, under Contract with the Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library, the University of Texas at Austin will welcome some exciting visitors. In addition, local presenters will be sharing their special knowledge. As with all medical sources of information, I remind you to consult with your health care professionals before incorporating medical advice into your life.
In many indigenous communities, the cardinal directions have special meaning. The directions help center us but also remind us that we receive wisdom and support from many quarters. We ourselves do not provide all of the answers—they come to us from the east, west, north, and south as well as from the center, zenith or world above, and nadir or world below. Tribal nations associate the directions with different colors, learnings or roles. For example, Cajete considers the south the place of the philosopher or teacher, a place where nourishment comes in the form of winds or rains (Cajete, p. 159). It is logical and comforting to acknowledge that our wellness symposium is placed in the south where we gather to learn, share, and nourish each other and ourselves.
Cajete reminds us that we start with teachings from the east, the place of the light of dawn and beginnings. Joining us at the symposium from the east is Dr. Joanne Gard Marshall. Known as an award winning health informatics researcher, Dr. Marshall has a Master of Health Degree and a Ph.D. in Public Health in addition to her Master’s Degree in Library Science. Her presentation at the symposium introduces us to a model of locating health and wellness information that incorporates an approach focused on body/mind traditions. Those interested can join Dr. Marshall in learning some chair yoga exercises to start a journey to accessing our own body’s knowledge.
Mr. Analu Kame’eiamoku Josephides from the Yolo County Public Library in California arrives from the west, the seat of artistry and poetry. He brings with him his orientation as a Native Hawai’ian and will lead the symposium in an exploration of the practice of seated hula in the workplace!
Todd Whitthorne, President and CEO of Cooper Concepts, a division of The Cooper Aerobics Center will travel to Austin from Dallas in the north, the place of the hunter or warrior and a direction of strength. Mr. Whitthorne is a leader in preventive medicine whose career has included years in broadcasting, work for which he received an Emmy award.
Local representatives support our symposium with their strengths in finding information and advice.
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region will provide training on how to use MedlinePlus.gov and other products from the National Library of Medicine as sources of workplace wellness information.
A Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) representative will join us to present an overview of resources available from LAF including the successful Survivorship Notebooks.
Dr. Barbara Bergin from Texas Orthopedics will join us for her well known cave-man talk that will help us understand how to maintain our bodies so that they last longer than the 25 year life span of our early ancestors. Check out her blog (http://drbarbarabergin.com/) for friendly and useful advice on helping our bodies with information on topics such as plantar fasciitis, hip and shoulder bursitis, and tennis elbow. Known for wearing her beloved Dansko shoes and for her skills in competitive horse reining, Dr. Bergin is also an award-winning author. Her novel, Endings (Santa Fe, NM: Sunstone Press, 2007) was a finalist for the New Mexico Book Award and received the Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing. This story brings us to the lonely and heartwarming lands of west Texas where one woman finds her recovery from unspeakable tragedy.
Together, our speakers will help us find and center on our own strengths as we lift each other to reaffirm our professional wellness community. We welcome you to the Circle of Wellness!
Cajete, G. 1994. Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education, Skyland, NC: Kivaki Press.
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