Posts Tagged ‘health’

Services for the Homeless at Libraries

Atrium, San Francisco Public Library

Atrium in the San Francisco Public Library [Photo courtesy of Katherine Jardine, Public Relations Officer, San Francisco Public Library]

One of the SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issues my colleague Amy and I work on at ProQuest is Homelessness. Learning about the different challenges the homeless face on a daily basis, we wanted to know more about what is being done to help them. After some initial research, we came across the San Francisco Public Library and Leah Esguerra who was hired there as the nation’s first library social worker helping homeless patrons. Here’s what we learned from our conversation with Leah Esguerra and an infographic highlighting the different services offered for homeless patrons at some libraries.

Typical Work Day

Leah Esguerra has been a social worker at San Francisco Public Library for almost eight years (she contracts out from the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team) and described to us how her work has evolved and changed over time. Today, she has a team of eight people, 7 are outreach workers known as Health and Safety Associates (HASAs). The HASAs are employees who have dealt with homelessness at some point in their lives. The goal is for the HASAs to link homeless patrons with outreach and resources they can use on their own. She supervises the outreach workers, who work in four shifts.

They have a visible place in the library, known as The Spot where patrons can check in and up with the HASAs. In addition to working with the outreach workers, Esguerra does walkthroughs and acts as a consultant for staff in dealing with situations that arise with patrons. She answers questions about social services, behavioral issues, and mental health. Some days, she sees as many as 15-30 people.

The library also works to establish community partnerships with Veteran’s Affairs, Lava Mae  (a service providing mobile showers for the homeless) and others.

The Role of Health and Safety Associates (HASAs)

The HASAs do outreach in the bathrooms to find people who are inappropriately using the bathrooms (for example, sleeping in the stalls or bathing) and use their own experience as formerly homeless to help and to tell them about places they can go to for help. The HASAs provide inspiration and patrons are drawn to them because of relatable experiences.

Some of the original HASAs have moved on, continuing to grow in their line of work. One is in civil service and another is now a senior case manager.

Biggest Challenges

Challenges include the housing crisis in the Bay area. Esguerra’s original position 8 years ago was tied to finding housing. She would link homeless patrons with single room occupancies. Now, finding housing is a tougher issue. Finding housing is possible, but it often takes more than a year. They went from 400 to 30+ available rooms. She also said she has little access to these rooms and the rooms are not solely for library use. Another challenge presented itself with displacement among the elderly.

Rewards of the Job

People will come back to Esguerra after many years and thank her for her help. They tell her they are working and still have a house or that she’s helped them deal with mental health issues. She gets calls during the holidays from people she’s helped as well.

Esguerra said the HASAs are seen a safety net too. Staff will first call the HASAs if homeless patrons are causing a disturbance instead of calling security.

Best Practices for Homeless Outreach Programs

It is essential for libraries to have social services and/or social workers. Libraries without the means available to hire a social worker can partner with universities or create other partnerships with community organizations. Social service programs in libraries are great for both staff and patrons. Esguerra told us how the homeless have said the library is their sanctuary. She and her team at the library consider themselves ambassadors. They make the homeless feel included in the community. Having HASAs work at the library brings a different face of homelessness to the staff. The HASAs work very hard and are really good at what they do. They humanize the homeless and raise the level of compassion and understanding.

“Libraries are the community living room.” — Leah Esguerra

Esguerra says other libraries who are interested in starting a social services program should definitely give it a try. She said there are many ways to accomplish it.

Today, the movement is international. The San Francisco Public Library has inspired libraries and institutions elsewhere around the world – including Korea, Japan, and Australia – to implement their own social service programs.

Libraries and Homelessness [Infographic]

Asian Inspiration!

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The populations and cultures of this diverse ethnic group have enriched the national landscape and inspired popular culture in so many ways. Let’s take a look at some.


Many Americans enjoy Asian cuisine. Chinese dumplings, Chinese fried rice, Thai pad thai, Thai curry dishes, Japanese sushi, Japanese tempura, Korean kimchi, Indonesian satay, Vietnamese pho, Filipino adobo…the list could go on and on. The depth and vastness of Asian cuisine certainly can’t be covered in a blog post!

Japanese Sushi Bento Box

Japanese Sushi Bento Box (Public Domain) [by Binh Giang, via Wikimedia Commons] via Wikimedia Commons

Suffice to say that the (somewhat Americanized) Asian cuisines we know today crossed the ocean with the first immigrants to the United States. The dishes we enjoy today in America were likely inspired by immigrants who maintained their eating traditions and shared them with Americans who were intrigued by these new and exciting foods. Chinese food started to become popular in the 1920s—the first Asian cuisine to make its mark in the United States. Many American Chinese dishes can trace their origins to immigrants from the rural region of Toishan, near the city of Canton, during the late 19th century.

Art and Entertainment

Japanese art and culture have been inspiring Western imagery for more than a century. Japonism, first coined in 1872, refers to the impact of Japanese aesthetics on Western culture, particularly Europe. Impressionism, for example, was greatly influenced by Japanese art. The Japonism movement made its way overseas to the United States and is celebrated in museums around the country.

Nowadays, take a peek in any toy store or watch any animated children’s program and you will see the influence of Japanese art on American youngsters’ popular culture. Many stuffed animals, dolls, figurines, and action figures embody the artistic sensibilities of Japanese anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics). Clean lines, exaggerated features, and emotions, and very stylized backdrops and characters are a few of the many anime and manga features that inspire American popular culture.

Japanese masks

Japanese Masks (Public Domain) [via Wikimedia Commons] via Wikimedia Commons

Adults seem to love anime and manga, too! These art forms—and the toys, art, tv, film, and culture that they inspire—are not only for kids but for adults, too! Some Hollywood films are derived from Japanese manga or anime stories or imagery, such as The Matrix and Avatar. And the Japanese trend of Cosplay—dressing up and acting like characters from graphic novels, video games, films, or television shows—has become very popular among some adults in the U.S.


American alternative medicine and healthcare practices have embraced Asian wellness modalities, such as yoga, herbal medicine, acupuncture, and feng shui. These and other practices have changed the way many Americans view health and wellness. The concepts of qi (energy) and yin/yang (opposing forces, such as dark/light or feminine/masculine, create balance) has powerfully shifted approaches to medical treatment and theories of healing.

These are simply a peek into the massive influence that Asian cultures and traditions have had on American culture. Curious about more? Be sure to check out this month’s SKS Spotlight of the Month on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.


Health Care Reform in a New Era

Infographic Created by Jaclyn Rosansky via Piktochart

Health Care Reform is an excellent issue to bring up with your students for engaging classroom discussion. With Election 2016 coming fast around the corner, this is a campaign issue that impacts us all. We live in a changing world where the cost of health care is rising and the services offered may or may not meet our needs. Even with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, some of us still cannot afford health care. Health Care Reform is an issue that presidential candidates must address openly and honestly.

Let us shed light on 5 Health Care Reform viewpoints that should be explored and the ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher Leading Issues that cover these topics:

  1. Should there be more government involvement in health care in the U.S.?

    Our Leading Issue on Health Care Reform gets to the heart of this debate. Does more government involvement mean more insured citizens? Or does it mean a lower quality of care? What amount of government involvement is the right amount?

  2. Should health insurance cover treatments for mental health disorders?

    Our Leading Issue on Mental Health Insurance addresses a growing concern around the world, especially in the U.S. Is the cost to insure people with mental illness worth it for smaller employers? Should mental health coverage be expanded? With more and more people needing mental health services, why isn’t more being done to fulfill those needs?

  3. Should there be stricter federal regulation of the off-label use of prescription drugs?

    Our Leading Issue on Federal Regulation of Prescription Drugs pinpoints issues with the pharmaceutical industry. Does stricter regulation of prescription drugs protect patients or hurt them? When traditional treatments reach a limit, should patients be allowed to try experimental drugs?

  4. Should medical practices and decisions be regulated?

    Our Leading Issue on Medical Practice Regulation highlights the ethical practices of doctors and medical facilities. Can doctors make poor ethical decisions? Will stern regulation prevent it? Should patients and their families have more control than doctors when it comes to their quality of life and medical decisions?

  5. Should there be caps on pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases?

    Our Leading Issue on Medical Malpractice considers the financial impact of malpractice by doctors. Would a cap on medical malpractice lower health care costs? Would they increase medical negligence? How often do doctors worry about medical malpractice complaints?

In the Classroom

ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher brings these health care reform topics and others front and center with supporting articles selected by editors that represent all sides of these debates without bias. We research and curate each issue to bring you the best content including overviews, timelines, and statistics. Check our A-Z List for related health care related topics to discuss with your students.

Health Care Reform Leading Issue in ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

Health Care Reform Leading Issue in ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

On Social Media

Are you and your students discussing health care reform? We want to know! Leave a comment below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.


We Are ProQuest: Jennifer Genetti

We Are ProQuest: ProQuest is only as successful as its staff. The ProQuest difference is people behind-the-scenes using their skills to create products and features to provide the optimal research experience from kindergarten to post-graduate to life-long learner. We Are ProQuest features profiles of some of our talented team members. Today let’s meet ProQuest Editor Jennifer Genetti.

quarter marathon pic 1

Jen Genetti with her medal after running the quarter marathon at the Live Ultimate Run on South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida (December 14, 2013).

Jen works on several ProQuest products, with a focus on SIRS Researcher and eLibrary. As an Editor II in Boca Raton, she works with a team of editors in that location as well as in Louisville, Kentucky, and Provo, Utah. In addition to her role as editor, she is also involved in our company’s Vitality wellness program. Vitality helps employees improve or maintain their health by providing knowledge, tools and rewards to help them achieve their health goals. Jennifer serves as one of two Vitality Champs for our Boca Raton office. I caught up with Jen to find out more about her role as a Vitality Champ and what motivated her to become involved in the wellness program.

Tell me more about your role and responsibilities as Vitality Champ?

As a Vitality Champ, I help promote the wellness program. Along with my co-Vitality Champ, I’ll organize events like the Walking Club and the Fitness Challenge which reward members for participation.  I’m also available to answer any questions that employees may have about the program or how to raise their status in the program.

Why did you become a Vitality Champ?

Over the years, I’ve developed a strong interest in living a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising. My hope was that by becoming a Vitality Champ, I could motivate and encourage others to live a healthy lifestyle too.

walking club

Editors Jeff Wyman and Jaclyn Rosansky participating in the Walking Club.

You and your co-Vitality Champ have helped coordinate so many health and wellness activities and events in our Boca Raton office, ranging from the ongoing Walking Club to CPR training. What were some of your favorites so far?

The Fitness challenge was pretty fun. Over the course of 30 days, we challenged employees to work out and whoever logged the most minutes or miles in that time period was declared the winner. Everyone’s competitive spirit came out, and it was quite a battle there at the finish. 

I was also very glad we were able to conduct onsite CPR training, because the training can literally save someone’s life one day.

What types of health and wellness activities do you like to do outside of work?

motion for the oceanjpg

Jennifer Genetti crossing the finish line in the Motion for the Ocean 5k at John U. Lloyd State Park, Dania Beach, Florida (April 14, 2013).

I do various fitness activities to switch things up and keep myself interested. I usually weight train a few days a week, and I practice yoga at least once a week. I also run, and I have run a number of 5ks. I recently completed a quarter marathon—my longest distance yet—and I hope to run a half marathon sometime this year.

Thanks, Jen, for promoting good health at ProQuest!


National Preparedness Month


September is National Preparedness Month, a campaign designed to prepare citizens, schools and communities for emergencies and natural disasters.

Explore the Natural Disasters feature in SIRS Issues Researcher to learn the science, history, and economic impact of natural disasters as well as ways students and communities can best prepare for such events. Simply select the Natural Disaster tab from the SIRS Issues Researcher homepage to get started.

Have a safe and healthy September!

Curriculum Support @ SIRS Discoverer

Skills Discoverer, a Database Feature in SIRS Discoverer, quickly connects users to a variety of editorially-selected, high-quality educational websites.   Motivating game-like activities and challenges engage kindergarten through ninth graders as they practice building skills in art, health, language arts, math, science and social studies.  Skills Discoverer promotes differentiated instruction and learning for individuals or groups, at school with classmates or at home with the family!