Tuesday, 8:30am


Health Practices of Immigrant Women: Indigenous Knowledge in an Urban Environment

Miraida Morales, Xiaomu Zhou
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, United States of America


This qualitative study of folk health practices of an indigenous Mexican immigrant community in New Brunswick, New Jersey investigates the barriers this community faces, and their effects on its members’ everyday practice of health in a new urban environment. Facilitated by local community organizations, two focus group interviews were conducted with women from this community, along with a questionnaire and multiple field visits. Analysis revealed several themes related to health practices, including the role of food, and how indigenous knowledge influences the community’s beliefs about, and practices of, health. Additionally, several environmental, communication, and systemic barriers also appeared to affect the community’s health practices. This research indicates that providing healthcare access to immigrant communities is a complex issue extending beyond the availability of services and resources. A better understanding of immigrant communities’ socio-cultural health practices may be a key to improving the community’s healthy living and overall quality of life.

How is she? Information and the Surgical Waiting Lounge

Diana L. Ascher
UCLA, United States of America


This paper describes an exploratory ethnographic study of the information-seeking behavior of visitors in the Surgical Waiting Lounge at the UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion in December 2013. A model of information practice is examined in relation to existing information-seeking behavior theories, frameworks, and approaches. The finding that visitors’ information poverty and inhibited information-seeking behavior manifested in a process of information gleaning, notable for its hypervigilance and meaning inference is discussed. Similarities are drawn between this behavior, crisis situations, and situational anxiety disorder. Finally, recommendations are described, including de-biasing techniques in traditional information provision and setting expectations for technology-enabled, scheduled information provision.

The Role of Risky Behaviors and Health Education in College Students’ Health Information Acquisition on the Internet

Josipa Basic, Sanda Erdelez
University of Missouri, United States of America


Prior research shows that students use the Internet as a main source of health information. When starting college, students get greater autonomy over their behaviors and responsibility for their own health, which creates a number of health-related information needs. As a result of this newly acquired autonomy, students also frequently engage in various risky behaviors, putting their well-being in jeopardy. This study aimed to answer whether the self-reported frequency in which students engage in risky behaviors and their enrollment in health-related courses affect how frequently they obtain health-related information. A novel aspect of this study is that it incorporated both intentional and opportunistic information acquisition. An analysis of online survey responses from 810 undergraduates attending a mid-western U.S. university showed that the frequency of their engagement in risky behaviors (e.g., the use of substances and alcohol and engagement in high-risk sexual activities) is not significantly associated with the frequency of neither intentional nor opportunistic health information acquisition on the Internet. However, students enrolled in health-related courses more frequently obtain health information by both intentional search and opportunistic discovery. The study findings provide valuable directions for librarians and health educators on how to design new and improve existing e-health literacy instructions to better suit students’ current needs and information behavior patterns.