IQ Solutions currently operates information centers for seven U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health (NIH) contracts, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Information specialists at IQ Solutions are subject matter experts on the front lines of these centers and provide resources and referrals to the public and medical providers in English and Spanish, via phone, live chat, email, postal mail, and in person at national and local conferences.
IQ Solutions celebrates National Information and Referral Day annually to recognize the work of our information specialists who provide resources daily (sometimes 24/7!) to those who are eager to improve the quality of their lives. Below are the experiences of three of our information specialists, Courtney Carlson, Michelle Correll, and Lisa Pizzo.
In our rapidly evolving world, it could be easily overlooked that many people do not have the ability to simply turn on their computer and get the health information they need. Information is power, but can also be overwhelming. We provide services to reach individuals most in need in communities across the United States, or those without an advocate in their immediate community to help them get treatment for a new diagnosis, or perhaps understand the recent diagnosis of a loved one. It is rewarding to help people get the information they need, to ease their minds, or ensure them that we are available to answer questions about a new condition before or after a medical appointment.
I chose a career in public health to promote and protect the health of people and the communities where we live, learn, work, and play. As a health resource specialist, I am given the opportunity to promote and protect the health of others daily by speaking with callers and providing them with helpful resources. My daily interactions with health professionals, physicians, researchers, and the public has not only deepened my knowledge and skills, but has also allowed me to fulfill my desire to improve health through health promotion. Being able to educate and provide available health resources to those in need is an instrumental part of my job, and one I do not take for granted.
As I grow older, my parents confide in my sister and me to help them with the fast-advancing technology around them. We find ourselves helping them quite frequently with what we view as “simple tasks” like turning on a computer, sending a text message, or understanding what an “emoji” is. While these tasks may seem simple to some, my experience as an information specialist at IQ Solutions has helped me realize just how important the role of connecting people with the information they need truly is. I am grateful that if my parents needed health resources, they could simply call one of our NIH information centers to easily get the information they need. I would also want my parents treated patiently and with respect like the information specialists here at IQ Solutions do with all their callers.
Along with being an information specialist, I am lucky to travel to national and local conferences and community health fairs where we showcase our educational materials. It is nice to interact in person with the people whom we usually speak to on the phone. Attendees typically comment how it is great to speak to a “real” person on the phone and how helpful the free materials we offer are. There aren’t many free resources out there, so I am happy we can still provide this complimentary service to the public. Celebrating the National Information and Referral Day, I am grateful to be a member of a team whose main goal is help people in need and improve their well-being.