Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders: From NLM Associate Fellow to Health Sciences Library Director

Nine former NLM associates fellows share their paths to success as leaders in the field of health services librarianship, how the fellowship helped them, and what’s important now.

The National Library of Medicine Associate Fellowship Program is a leadership program for early career librarians interested in a career in health sciences librarianship. Though leadership can come in many forms—servant-leaders, thought leaders, entrepreneurial leaders, and more—the leaders we celebrate in this post are the alumni associate fellows who became organizational leaders in the field of health sciences librarianship.

Meet Kris Alpi, Lori E. Harris, Shannon Jones, Stephen Kiyoi, Mellanye Lackey, Anne Linton, Alison E. Rollins, Catherine B. Soehner, and Tanner Wray.

Kris Alpi | 1997-1998 Associate

formal headshot of Kris Alpi

Current position

University Librarian
Oregon Health & Science University

When did you become director?

December 3, 2018

What is your educational background? Or additional training?

Although I followed my MLS with a Master’s of Public Health while an information services librarian at Weill Cornell Medical College and a PhD in Educational Research and Policy Analysis while directing the Veterinary Medicine Library at North Carolina State University, the training most relevant to my work as a university librarian at Oregon Health & Science University came early in my education. While pursuing my BA in Spanish and the history of art at Indiana University, I completed a certificate in business foundations, which consisted of courses in business law, marketing, finance, economics, and business communications, to prepare non-business students for the business aspects of their careers.

What was the career path that led to your current position?

Before the NLM fellowship, I was a hospital librarian at Wishard Health Services in Indianapolis, which was also the home of the Regenstrief Institute for Biomedical Informatics. It was there that I developed a passion for informatics, which drew me to NLM for the fellowship and sustained me as a member of MLA and the American Medical Informatics Association. One of the best aspects of my directorship at Oregon Health & Science University is that the Library and the Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology share a building and a long history of collaboration.

What are your top three priorities now?

My top three priorities are helping my colleagues recruit new librarians to join us at OHSU; making time for us to grow together as a cohesive team; and as a faculty member, continuing to investigate and publish about important questions in health sciences librarianship and education.

What did you learn as an Associate Fellow that you use in your position as director today?

As an Associate Fellow, I benefited from diverse mentors. I remember lessons on organizational strategy during lunches with Sheldon Kotzin, former associate director for Library Operations; refining research questions with Zoë Stavri, an alumni associate fellow and former coordinator of the Associate Fellowship Program, who directed the Fellowship during my year; and evaluation and community building from Angela Ruffin, former Head of the National Network Office. I still channel these experiences when I mentor others. Now that I am a new director, I am cognizant that I also need to seek mentorship in this stage of my career from within and outside my new organization.
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2 thoughts on “Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders: From NLM Associate Fellow to Health Sciences Library Director

  1. Impressive education, indeed. And some ignorant people might say that being a librarian is nothing special. Truly impressive range of knowledge.

  2. Thank you so much for commenting, Robert. We agree with you! Please keep reading NLM in Focus. Later this month we’ll be featuring NLM associate fellows from 10 years ago.

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