The OPHLA is a community of information professionals who work in partnership to maximize capacity for information services, facilitate knowledge translation and exchange, and support evidence-informed public health practice in Ontario.
Because the scope of public health practice is broad and multidisciplinary, information needs within this discipline are extremely diverse. The information professionals of OPHLA have a unique blend of public health domain knowledge and information management expertise. This distinctive skill set gives us an intuitive grasp of the public health information landscape and allows us to understand and respond to complex public health information requests.
For clients in their home organizations, OPHLA members:
Conduct comprehensive literature searching of key public health bibliographic databases and retrieval of grey literature on demand;
Build comprehensive digital and print collections through the conscientious selection, evaluation, licensing and acquisition of public health information resources and technology;
Supply cost-saving interlibrary loan and document delivery services through access to local and international library networks;
Provide bibliographic control, editorial and publishing support;
Manage organizational copyright compliance and intellectual property;
Train public health professionals on best practices for information retrieval, management, and appraisal; and
Appraise and selectively disseminate new and relevant public health research.
For the public health community in Ontario and beyond, OPHLA:
Promotes and supports evidence-based public health practice;
Increases awareness and utilization of reliable evidence-based sources among public health professionals;
Advocates for equitable access to and stable funding for information resources;
Develops custom knowledge tools and products specifically designed for public health research;
Promotes and facilitates a knowledge sharing culture among public health professionals at all levels of government and in the community;
Maximizes return-on-investment for public health funding through resource sharing and consortial purchasing; and
Contributes expertise to provincial, national, and international public health projects and initiatives related to information management and knowledge transfer.
Currently, 16 of the 36 public health units across Ontario have libraries. In 2009 alone, OPHLA members working in these libraries conducted over 4,000 literature searches, delivered over 25,000 full text articles, and trained over 1,500 public health practitioners on accessing evidence-based information.