Med school professor receives award
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 22:10
Rick Wallace, the assistant director of the Medical Library at ETSU’s James H. Quillen College of Medicine, is the recipient of the 2013 Michael DeBakey Library Services Outreach Award.
The award recognizes outstanding service to rural or underserved communities.
“Dr. Wallace’s role in the success of our medical library’s activities is immeasurable,” Suresh Ponnappa, a professor and associate dean at Quillen said. “He has been a part and parcel of our library receiving numerous accolades for the innovative services that we have been able to provide not only to our students and faculty, but also to the surrounding community, as well. His receiving this prestigious DeBakey Award is yet another testament to his vision and commitment to our outreach program.”
Wallace has helped the Medical Library earn more than $500,000 in extramural grant funding, including a $107,000 grant from the National Library of Medicine to place personal computers with MD Consult subscriptions in rural hospitals for physicians to use.
Wallace also partnered with the Tennessee Hospital Association to get personal digital assistants, with pre-loaded medical software, into the hands of physicians and nurses in eight rural hospitals.
He received two additional grants to provide these devices for clinicians in 18 rural hospitals. Wallace has also been a driving force in a Quillen Medical Library program that has taught librarians throughout West, Middle and East Tennessee how to help the public access quality health information on the Internet.
“We’ve made it our mission at the Medical Library to perform outreach to underserved and rural communities and that fits right in line with the mission of the College of Medicine,” Wallace said.
“We’ve visited and served the medical library needs of more than 40 hospitals and more than 40 clinics through the years, in some of the most remote areas of the state. Our approach was this in terms of outreach: these people need our help, so let’s go get it done. Some of them wouldn’t have access to crucial information without these outreach programs.”
Though he has had an estimable career as a medical librarian, Wallace did not originally intend to become one. He was in seminary when friends suggested he explore library science as a career, ostensibly a career as a theological librarian.
“I think medical librarianship is my true calling,” Wallace said, “especially when it comes to the outreach programs we do here. I like to get out and participate in projects that make a direct impact; I don’t like meetings or being tied to a desk. The most rewarding part of the job is being out in the community providing people the information they need.”