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Big Changes Coming for UNM’s Native Health Database

Thursday, February 11, 2021 7:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Library & Informatics Center (HSLIC) is excited to announce a major update to its Native Health Database (NHD). Previously under the leadership of Pat Bradley (Diné) before her passing in Spring 2019, this powerful resource--comprised of just over 10,000 bibliographic citations to myriad resources focused on Indigenous health—has laid dormant for nearly two years. There has been no new content submitted to NHD since Bradley’s leadership. Shortly after beginning with HSLIC in September 2019, the library’s Scholarly Communications and Digital Librarian, Jonathan Pringle, began working behind the scenes to explore appropriate next steps for the NHD. Meetings with former NHD Advisory Board members, UNM health sciences administrators, and close colleagues and friends of Bradley’s has helped Pringle find a collaborative approach to both sustain and grow the NHD.


Pat Bradley (2nd from the right) during an NHD Advisory Board meeting in November 2016

Work has already begun on a project to migrate descriptive metadata found in the current NHD, and to move it into a new database. Mukurtu (mukurtu.org) is an open-source content management system that incorporates Indigenous control measures during the submission and sharing of resources. Mukurtu embeds nuanced cultural access protocols and traditional knowledge labels to provide for the respectful sharing of information between repositories and the communities represented in submitted material. Further, Mukurtu allows for the display of actual content in tandem with descriptions, something the current NHD does not allow for. One of the most exciting aspects of Mukurtu are the myriad possibilities for collaboration, providing information creators with a space to deposit health information resources for those communities needing them the most.

HSLIC anticipates a release of the new NHD shortly after April. In the meanwhile, anybody interested in learning more can visit the current NHD page (hslic-nhd.health.unm.edu). You may also wish to email Jonathan Pringle (jpringle@salud.unm.edu) with any comments.


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