UNM Health Sciences Library interior
By Sally Bowler-Hill

Medical Library Association Kudos

HSLIC Faculty Members Gale Hannigan and Lisa Acuff Receive National Awards

Two faculty members at The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library & Informatics Center (HSLIC) have been recognized for their work by the Medical Library Association (MLA).

Research Professor Gale Hannigan, PhD, MPH, MLS, AHIP, has been named an MLA Fellow. She will officially be inducted at the MLA's 2023 annual meeting, May 16-19. This fellowship is conferred in recognition of MLA members who have made outstanding contributions to the health sciences librarianship profession.

Assistant Professor Lisa Acuff, MSIS, MPH, AHIP, has received a Research, Development and Demonstration Project award from MLA for the Diabetes Language Project, a research study to analyze and promote evidence-based usage of empowering language in online patient education materials for those with Type 1 diabetes.


From left to right, Lisa Acuff, MSIS, MPH, AHIP, and Gale Hannigan, PhD, MPH, MLS, AHIP
From left to right, Lisa Acuff, MSIS, MPH, AHIP, and Gale Hannigan, PhD, MPH, MLS, AHIP
Melissa Rethlefsen
I am delighted that the Medical Library Association recognizes the impact HSLIC faculty have on our profession nationally, at all stages of career.
β€” Melissa Rethlefsen, HSLIC Executive Director

"I am delighted that the Medical Library Association recognizes the impact HSLIC faculty have on our profession nationally, at all stages of career," said HSLIC Executive Director Melissa Rethlefsen. "Dr. Hannigan joins former HSLIC directors Erika Love and Holly Shipp Buchanan and Dr. Jonathan Eldredge as the fourth HSLIC faculty member to achieve MLA Fellowship. Professor Acuff's award is a sign of the increasing breadth of HSLIC's research impact."

Hannigan joined HSLIC in 2011 as a visiting professor after a more than 30-year career in academic health sciences libraries, including the Texas Medical Center Library, the University of Minnesota Biomedical Library and the Texas A&M Medical Sciences Library – with one foray into industry to establish a medical library at the Upjohn Company. In 2013, she was appointed a Research Professor, both positions part time.

Over the past 12 years, Hannigan has lent HSLIC her expertise and passion for health sciences librarianship to developing the Biomedical Informatics Seminar Series. She has also assisted in establishing a systematic review service, identified and written outreach grants, responded to research and reference assignments for faculty members and other library users and provided invaluable mentorship to HSLIC’s faculty and staff.

One of her outreach awards, “I Heard It on the Radio,” funded by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) produced a series of public service announcements promoting the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) consumer health information website,

Another one of her outreach awards, “Good Information for Good Health,” also funded by NNLM, developed and made available online UNM’s AMA-accredited continuing education modules, designed specifically for rural New Mexico primary care providers and their patients, highlighting NLM information resources.

As one of her many contributions to MLA and medical librarianship, Hannigan chaired the task force charged with revising the MLA Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success in health sciences librarianship, which received the 2018 Medical Library Association President’s Award. She has also received two of MLA's other highest honors, the Estelle Brodman Award for Academic Medical Librarian of the Year (1996) and the Lucretia W. McClure Excellence in Education Award (2011).

"Gale has a tremendous positive influence on the direction and climate within our library,” Rethlefsen said. “Not only is she calm, thoughtful, and endlessly inclusive, she remains flush with exciting ideas that spur us to think about bettering our library and our world.

“I cannot really remember a time when I didn't recognize her name as one of the greats in our field. But, it wasn't until I got to work with her at HSLIC that I truly understood how great she actually is. I feel honored to work with her. This recognition is long overdue and well-deserved."

Acuff joined HSLIC in February 2022 as an assistant professor. She has instructed in universities (University of Tennessee and Harding University), managed a school library, created community library programs, directed the National Geographic Society's corporate learning program, and coordinated the Smithsonian Institution's volunteer research program (National Postal Museum).

In her most recent position as Health Sciences Librarian at Harding University, she designed and delivered systematic instruction within the university's Center for Health Sciences to support research and learning.

Acuff is currently enrolled in MLA’s Research Training Institute, and the Diabetes Language Project also serves as her research project for the Institute. A preliminary article on this study is scheduled for publication in The Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet later this spring. Acuff's colleagues Gwen Geiger Wolfe (University of Kansas) and HSLIC’s Sally Bowler-Hill partner on this research.

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