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Meet Erica Brody: Health sciences research expert serves VCU School of Dentistry

September 14, 2017

New to the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences this semester Erica Brody brings years of hands-on health sciences research experience to her position as liaison to the School of Dentistry. She holds a master's in public health policy and management from Emory University in addition to the master's in library science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She shares a bit of information about her goals and approaches. 

What strengths do you bring to VCU that will help you serve the School of Dentistry students and faculty?

I am passionate about connecting people with information, particularly in pursuit of improved health and patient care. I started my career with a Master’s degree in public health that allowed me to conduct health sciences research in a variety of settings. My experience includes work in library and clinical settings, the CDC and EPA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and RTI International, a contract research organization. I have contributed to numerous health services research projects funded by a variety of organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Specifically, I have conducted in-depth literature reviews, as well as  collected, managed, and analyzed qualitative and quantitative data about the delivery of health care. In addition, I have extensive experience researching health literacy, consumer health information, and patient education. While  working in a clinical setting, I coordinated a program to evaluate the effectiveness of psychiatric hospitalization and presented the results during a survey by a commission.

All of these experiences have given me a solid understanding of the infrastructure of health care and graduate medical education. I look forward to applying this knowledge to support the information needs of students, faculty, and staff at the School of Dentistry.

What are your goals for the 2017-18 academic year?

My goals include becoming acquainted with the School of Dentistry curriculum and faculty research interests, so that I may support student success in the classroom, as well as the scientific stature of the school. I am committed to ensuring that all members of the School of Dentistry community know about the library’s electronic and print resources and services. In particular, I look forward to supporting the evidence-based dentistry curriculum by providing instruction on developing good research questions and searching academic literature.

I plan to increase awareness of resources for publishing scientific findings in traditional as well as open access platforms, such as Scholars Compass, VCU’s a publishing platform for the intellectual output of VCU’s academic, research, and administrative communities. This resource has the potential to provide wide and stable access to the exemplary work of VCU’s faculty, researchers, students, and staff.

Can you share an example of how VCU Libraries develops custom content for specific courses or groups?

I am currently developing a professional development session for faculty to learn about the mobile versions of two key resources, UptoDate and Visual Dx. In the future I hope to use my understanding of the course curricula to become more thoroughly embedded with evidence-based dentistry. The more I know and understand about the course the better I can provide specialized training on library resources related to the content or assignment.  

How do you hope to become actively engaged with the school?

I am actively engaged with the school by serving on the curriculum committee and participating in course review meetings, where I have the opportunity to suggest information resources to support the curriculum. I have begun conducting one-on-one and small group consultations to address specific questions about searching the literature and organizing citations. I look forward to collaborating with faculty on evidence-based dentistry instruction in the spring.

Are there particular services or opportunities VCU Libraries provides that you want to stress?

The dentistry research guide,, is a great place to start your search for information. We encourage everyone to take advantage of these following free services:

  • One-on-one and small group research consultations

  • Curriculum-integrated instructional sessions

  • Sources for acquiring images to support teaching and learning

  • Expertise in scholarly communications

  • Assistance with systematic reviews and other types of literature reviews

  • Support for evidence-based dentistry

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