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Wellness in the Academy: A Virtual International Symposium: Jones, Et al.

A LibGuide archiving presentations for Wellness in the Academy: A Virtual International Symposium

Virtual Chat & Chew: Radical Self-Care for BIPOC Information Professionals


During the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the African American Medical Librarians Alliance (AAMLA) Caucus of the Medical Library Association formed a weekly virtual forum known as the “Chat & Chew.” The purpose of these weekly check-ins was to build community and provide support amidst a series of unprecedented health crises adversely affecting Black Americans, including the coronavirus pandemic and the long-standing issue of police killings and brutality. In coming together for these weekly check-ins, group participants benefited by actively practicing self-care and exchanging ideas and information with colleagues across the country. Each gathering incorporated various presentations and discussions, including topics related to self-care and wellness, microaggressions and stigmatization in the workplace, virtual technologies, plant care, book discussions, and opportunities to engage in diversity, equity, and inclusion work. This chapter provides successes for member engagement and best practices that made the program sustainable throughout 2020 and beyond.


Shannon Jones is both the Director of Libraries for the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and Director for Region 2 of the Network of the National Library of Medicine headquartered at MUSC. Prior to her arrival at MUSC, Shannon worked as the Associate Director for Research and Education for Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Shannon focuses her research on staff recruitment and retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion in libraries, and leadership in academic health sciences libraries. She is currently pursuing an Ed.D in Educational Leadership at Charleston Southern University

Kelsa Bartley is the Education and Outreach Librarian in the Learning, Research & Clinical Information Services Department at the Louis Calder Memorial Library, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Her role includes providing library education and research services, in addition to outreach and promotion of library services and resources.  Her research interests include diversity, equity and inclusion in libraries, library marketing, outreach and social media, technology for health information promotion, and library instruction and instructional design.

Beverly Murphy  is the Assistant Director, Communications and Web Content Management at the Duke University Medical Center Library & Archives. She is also the Hospital Nursing Liaison for the Duke Health System and Liaison for the Watts College of Nursing. Her research interests include librarian core competencies; diversity, equity, and inclusion; health literacy; library administration; and leadership and management.

Tamara Nelson currently serves as User ServicesCoordinator, SeniorResearch & Learning Services Librarian and Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN where she also liaises to the College of Medicine and manages the information service desk. Her research interest include library instruction, information literacy, leadership & management, mentorship; and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Aidy Weeks is an Assistant Professor and the Director at the School of Medicine Library at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Aidy began her career in medical librarianship as a hospital librarian with Orlando Health and has 17 years of library experience in both public and medical libraries ranging from outreach, collections development, systems, and medical reference support. 

Jamia Williams is a Health Sciences Librarian at SUNY Brockport’s Drake Memorial Library. She serves as the liaison to the following academic programs: African & African-American Studies, Biology, Health Science/Healthcare Studies, Public Health, Health Education, McNair Program, and Nursing. Williams is the co-creator and co-host of the podcast LibVoices which amplifies the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who work in archives and libraries. Jamia founded the Diversity Fellow’s blog which is a platform used to document her journey as a Black librarian.

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