Learn the difference among the good, the bad and the ugly

By Cecilia Nasmith

Health-care information on-line might be said to fall under one of three categories – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Helping you learn the difference is the subject of the next PACE session on March 20, with librarian Amanda Ross-White leading the way.

Ross-White has been a librarian at the Bracken Health Sciences Library at Queen's University in Kingston for more than 10 years. A senior member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals, she is also co-author of more than 25 peer-reviewed papers. Her book Joy At The End Of The Rainbow: A Guide To Pregnancy After A Loss won an American Journal of Nursing award.

Her current research examines the impact of predatory or deceptive publications on practice guidelines.

Using the phrase, “If I apply...” Ross-White will guide a discussion of questions we can ask when evaluating health information on-line. By thinking about and checking our own internal biases before evaluating the information found on the web, she will demonstrate how we can ensure we are getting the best and most recent information on health topics. Using a mix of “personal” steps and “source” steps, she will look at sample web pages to evaluate the information found along the parameters of various criteria – identifying emotions attached to the topic, finding unbiased reference sources, having intellectual courage, establishing authority, considering purposes or points of view, and identifying the publisher, list of sources and year of publication.

Bring your questions, your suggestions and your experiences, and join in what is expected to be the latest lively discussion in the PACE series. If you have a smart phone, you are invited to bring it along to participate in real-time event feedback – audience feedback will also be gathered without the help of technology.

PACE stands for Personalized Assessment and Change Education. The monthly series was begun as a TED Talk-style presentation by Dr. Mukesh Bhargava in response to the health-related questions he was hearing from his patients. The series is made possible through a partnership among NHH, the NHH Foundation, Community Health Centres of Northumberland, Northumberland Family Health Team, IM Care Internal Medicine Specialists and Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology (whose Film and Television Production program supports audio and visual recording and distribution).

The March 20 session begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Education Centre at Northumberland Hills Hospital (1000 DePalma Dr., Cobourg). Like all PACE events, this one consists of a 30-minute talk, a 20-minute question-and-answer period with the guest speaker, and a 10-minute moderator summary.

Also like all PACE events, this one is free but pre-registration is requested to help manage room capacity. Register at, where you will also find a listing of upcoming speakers and topics as well as video highlights from recent talks.

The one in April is The Science of Mindfulness with Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix. This one is scheduled for April 20 at the Community Health Centres of Northumberland (99 Toronto Rd., Port Hope), and registration will begin in late March.