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Locating Health and Medical Information

Science Reference Guide No. 34

Information about doctors ... Medical & health information ...Dictionaries, Abbreviations, Syndromes, Eponyms ... Medical tests & examinations, Dealing with doctors ... Information on drugs ... Complementary& alternative medicine, Wellness, Nutrition ... Hospitals, HMOs, Nursing homes ... Magazines, newsletters, ... Guides to navigating the Internet ... Selected Web sites

The following is a list of sources often used in the Science Reading Room of the Library of Congress for locating health and medical information. For books which are frequently updated, the edition number and year consulted for this guide are in parentheses, so you might want to check for a later edition. While the call numbers and location designations given pertain only to the Library of Congress, these books, journals and newsletters can also be found in many public or college libraries. Your local librarian can help you use these titles or may be able to suggest other materials more appropriate to your request. The sources listed, however, are not a substitute for consulting with a healthcare provider.

If you are seeking articles in medical journals, the major index to biomedical literature is MEDLINE, compiled by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in Bethesda, Maryland. MEDLINE is available on the Web as PubMed ( Be aware that this is primarily an index with abstracts of the journal articles, although it now includes some links to full text, as well as to other related resources. A complementary repository of full text electronic journal literature is available at PubMedCentral ( Although many journals or selected volumes are now available online, you may still need to find print copies in a library or obtain them through a document delivery service. Your local library may also provide access to additional health-related electronic resources.

Millions of consumers have turned to the Internet to find information on health issues. However, caution must be exercised concerning information provided on both conventional and alternative medicine. Propaganda, sales pitches and promises of miracle cures, as well as misleading, inaccurate, outdated and potentially dangerous information may be encountered. This guide lists Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) for selected, reliable Web sites, some of which review and recommend other dependable sites and may link to them. Many Web sites have passed Health On the Net Foundation’s rigorous HON Code of Conduct for the provision of authoritative and reliable medical information (see The HON Web site itself is a good source of health information with a search feature, daily news, and in-depth reports. The American Accreditation HealthCare Commission also has a program that measures health Web sites against rigorous standards to assure quality information to consumers. Its list of accredited sites is at (click on “consumer information”). Additionally, the Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS) of the Medical Library Association (MLA) has a committee which evaluates and selects its Top 100 Web sites for health consumers (see: ). MLA also has an extremely useful “User’s guide to finding and evaluating health information on the Web” written by medical librarians at NLM provides a “MedlinePlus guide to healthy web searching” at


America's top doctors. New York, Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. (4th ed., 2004)
   R712.A1A655 <SciRR Desk>

The Best doctors in America. Aiken, S.C., Woodward/White, Inc., 1994. 1131 p.
   R712.A1N25 1995 <SciRR Desk>

   Other titles in the best doctors series from Woodward/White:
   The Best doctors in America. Central region. R712.A2M53225 1996-1997 <SciRR Desk>
   The Best doctors in America. Midwest region. R712.A2M5323 1996-1997 <SciRR Desk>
   The Best doctors in America. Northeast region. R712.A2N9525 1996-1997 <SciRR Desk>
   The Best doctors in America. Pacific region. R712.A2W383 1996-1997 <SciRR Desk>
   The Best doctors in America. Southeast region. R712.A2S693 1996-1997 <SciRR Desk>
   There are no updated editions of these books, but they are still useful.

Consumers’ guide to top doctors. Washington, Center for the Study of Services, Consumers’ Checkbook. (2002)
   R712.A1C66 <SciRR Desk>
   For information:

Directory of physicians in the United States. Chicago, AMA Press (American Medical Association). Irregular. (39th ed., 2005)
   R712.A1A6 <SciRR Desk>
   URL: (click on "doctorfinder")

The Official ABMS directory of board certified medical specialists. St. Louis, Elsevier Saunders. Annual.
(37th ed., 2005)
   R712.A1O335 <SciRR Desk>
   URL: (click on "Who's certified" to check on a physician, also gives general information on the training and certification of specialists)

Questionable doctors disciplined by states or the federal government. Washington, Public Citizen Health Research Group, 2000. 4 v.
   RA399.A3Q47 <SciRR Desk>
   For information:

The Washington physicians directory. Washington, National Directories, Inc. Annual. (2003)
   R712.A3W42 <SciRR Desk>



Barclay, Donald A., and Deborah D. Halsted. The Medical Library Association consumer health reference service handbook. New York, Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2001. 197 p.
   RA776.B234 2001 <SciRR>

Cecil textbook of medicine. Edited by Lee Goldman and Dennis Ausiello. Philadelphia, Saunders. (22nd ed., 2004)
   RC46.C423 <SciRR>

The Complete directory for people with chronic illness: DCI. Lakeville, CT, Grey House Pub. Annual. (6th ed., 2003-2004)
   RC108.C645 <SciRR>

The Complete directory for people with disabilities. Lakeville, CT, Grey House Pub. Annual. (13th ed., 2005)
   HV1553.C58 <MRR>

The Complete directory for people with rare disorders: a comprehensive guide to over 1,000 rare disorders from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. Lakeville, Conn., Grey House Pub. Annual. (2002/2003)
   RC48.8.C66 <SciRR>
   Index or rare diseases; rare disease database; index of organizations; organizational database.

The Consumer health information source book. Edited by Karen Bellenir. Detroit, Mich., Omnigraphics, c1999. 618 p.
   RA776.5.C655 1999 <SciRR>
   Omnigraphics has an entire Health Reference Series with more than 70 titles with health information on a broad range of health topics. There is also a teen health series and a list of forthcoming books (titles are regularly updated).

Current medical diagnosis & treatment. Stamford, CT, Appleton & Lange. Annual. (44th ed., 2005)
   RC71.A14 <SciRR>

Encyclopedia of medical organizations and agencies. Detroit, GaleResearch. Annual. (14th ed., 2005)
   R712.A1E53 <SciRR Desk>

Everything you need to know about medical emergencies. Springhouse, Penn., Springhouse Corp., c1997. 660 p.
   RC87.E83 1997 <SciRR>
   Subject-classified information on medical and health-related national and international organizations; state and regional organizations; foundations and other funding organizations; U.S. Federal and State government agencies; research centers; and medical and allied health schools.

First aid manual. Jon R. Krohmer, medical editor. (American College of Emergency Physicians) New York, DK Pub. (2nd American ed., 2004)
   RC86.8.F565 <SciRR>

Griffith's 5 minute clinical consult. Baltimore, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Annual. (2005)
   RC55.A12 <SciRR>
   This is a quick medical reference for current diagnosis and treatment.

Handbook for mortals: guidance for people facing serious illness. Joanne Lynn, Joan Harrold and the Center to Improve Care of the Dying, George Washington University. New York, Oxford University Press, 1999. 242 p.
   R726.8.H353 1999 <SciRR>

Handbook of diseases. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (3rd ed., 2004)
   RC55.H265 <SciRR>

Handbook of signs & symptoms. Ambler, PA, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (3rd ed., 2006)
    RC69.H246 <SciRR>

Harrison's principles of internal medicine. Edited by Dennis Kaspar, and others. New York, McGraw-Hill. 2 v. (16th ed., 2005)
   RC46.H333 <SciRR>

The Harvard Medical School family health guide. Edited by Anthony L. Komaroff. New York, Free Press. (2005)
   RC81.H38 <SciRR>
   Online companion:
   The companion has updates for the family health guide; an emergency & first aid section; and a “your disease risk” assessment resource.

Informed decisions: the complete book of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Edited by Harmon Eyre, and others. Atlanta, American Cancer Society. (2nd ed., 2002)
   RC262.I4985 <SciRR>
   More information:

Introduction to reference sources in the health sciences. 4th ed. Compiled and edited by Jo Anne Boorkman, Jeffrey Huber and Fred Roper. New York, Neal-Schuman Publishers, c2004. 389 p.
   Z6658.I54 2004 <SciRR Desk>
   Classic reference work and the premier guide to health science reference sources.

Magill’s medical guide. Medical consultants, Anne Chang, and others. Pasadena, CA, Salem Press. 4 v. (3rd rev. ed., 2005)
   RC41.M34 <SciRR>
   Medical encyclopedia with references and index

Medical and health information directory. Farmington Hills, Mich., Gale Group, 2001. 3 v. Irregular. (17th ed., 2005)
   R118.4.U6 M43 <SciRR Desk>
   v.1--medical and health-related organizations, agencies and institutions (national, international, state & regional organizations, foundations, funding, consulting, peer review & medical ethics organizations, hospital management & pharmaceutical companies, Federal & State government agencies, Federal domestic assistance programs, university & other nonprofit research centers, Federal government research agencies, facilities & programs, medical & allied health schools.
   v.2--medical and health-related publications, libraries, and other information resources (journals & magazines, abstracting & indexing services, newsletters, directories, publishers, electronic resources, U.S. and Canadian libraries and information centers, internet search engines).
   v.3--clinics, treatment centers, care programs, and counseling/diagnostic services.

The Merck manual of diagnosis and therapy. Edited by Mark H. Beers and Robert Berkow. Whitehouse Station, NJ, Merck. (17th ed., 1999)
   RC55.M4 <SciRR>
   The Web site has The Merck manual of diagnosis and therapy(RC55.M4);
   The Merck manual of health & aging (RA777.5.M47 2004 <SciRR>);
   The Merck manual of geriatrics (RC952.55.M47 2000 <SciRR>); and
   The Merck manual of medical information–home edition(RC81.M535 2003 <SciRR>).



Bartolucci, Susan L., and Pat Forbis. Stedman’s medical eponyms. Baltimore, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2nd ed., 2005)
   R121.F67 <SciRR Dict>

Davis, Neil M. Medical abbreviations: 15,000 conveniences at the expense of communications and safety. 10th ed. Huntingdon Valley, PA, N.M. Davis Associates. (11th ed., 2003)
   R123.D35 <SciRR Dict>
   24,000 current acronyms, symbols and other medical abbreviations and their 22,000 possible meanings, plus a cross-referenced list of 3,300 generic and brand drug names. Lists dangerous abbreviations which may be misinterpreted and a section on normal lab values.

Dictionary of medical acronyms & abbreviations. Compiled and edited by Stanley Jablonski. Philadelphia, Elsevier Saunders. (5th ed., 2004)
   R123.J24 <SciRR Dict>

Dorland's illustrated medical dictionary. Philadelphia, Saunders. (30th ed., 2003)
   R121.D73 <SciRR Desk>

Lagua, Rosalinda T., and Virginia S. Claudio. Nutrition and diet therapy reference dictionary. 5th ed. Ames, IA, Blackwell Pub., c2004. 407 p.
   RM217.L34 2004 <SciRR Dict>

Mosby’s dictionary of complementary and alternative medicine. Edited by Wayne B. Jonas. St. Louis, Mosby, c2005. 519 p.
   R733.M678 2005 <SciRR Dict>

Mosby's medical, nursing, and allied health dictionary. Edited by Douglas M. Anderson, and others. St. Louis, Mosby. (6th ed., 2002)
   R121.M89 <SciRR Dict>

Taber's cyclopedic medical dictionary. Philadelphia, F. A. Davis Co. Quadrennial. (20th ed., 2005)
   R121.T18 <SciRR Dict>

Tsur, Samuel A. Elsevier’s dictionary of abbreviations, acronyms, synonyms, and symbols used in medicine. Amsterdam, San Diego, Elsevier. (2nd enl. ed, 2004)
   R121.T787 <SciRR Dict>

Winter, Ruth. A consumer's dictionary of food additives. 5th ed. New York, Three Rivers Press. (revised and updated 6th ed., 2004)
   TX553.A3 W55 <SciRR Dict>



Fischbach, Frances Talaska, and Marshall Barrett Dunning. A manual of laboratory and diagnostic tests. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (7th ed., 2004)
   RB38.2.F57 <SciRR>

Mosby's guide to physical examination. Edited by Henry M. Seidel, and others. St. Louis, Mosby. (5th ed., 2003)
   RC76.M63 <SciRR>

Professional guide to diagnostic tests. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, c2005. 1106 p.
   RB37.P735 2005 <SciRR>

Rosenfeld, Isadore. Power to the patient: the treatments to insist on when you're sick. New York, Warner Books, c2002. 448 p.
   RC81.R829 2002 <SciRR>



AHFS drug information current developments. Bethesda, MD., American Society of Hospital Pharmacists, Inc. Annual, with quarterly supplements. (2005)
   RS131.2.A47 <SciRR>

Complete guide to prescription & nonprescription drugs. New York, Berkley Publishing Group. Annual. (2005)
   RM301.15.C65 <SciRR>

Conn's current therapy. Edited by Robert E. Rakel, M.D. and Edward T. Bope, M.D. Philadelphia, Elsevier Saunders. Annual. (2005)
   RM101.C87 <SciRR>

Consumer drug reference. Yonkers, N.Y., Consumer Reports, Consumers Union/Thomas MICROMEDEX and the U.S. Pharmacopeia. Annual. (2004 ed.)
   RS51.U65 <SciRR Desk>

Drug interaction facts. Edited by David Tatro. St. Louis, Facts & Comparisons, Walters Kluwer Health. Annual. (2005)
   RM302.D76 <SciRR>

The Johns Hopkins consumer guide to drugs. Medical editor, Simeon Margolis, M.D. Prepared by the editors of the Johns Hopkins medical letter: health after 50. Redding, CT, Medletter Associates. (2005)
   RM301.12.J636 <MRR>
   Features information for older consumers.

Physician's desk reference: PDR. Montvale, NJ, Thomson PDR. Annual. (59th ed., 2005)
   RS75.P5 <SciRR Desk>
   See also:
   PDR companion guide (to drug interactions, side effects, indications, contraindications). Annual. (58th ed., 2004)
      RS75.P37 <SciRR Desk>
   PDR for nonprescription drugs and dietary supplements. Annual. (25th ed., 2004)
      RM671.A1P48 <SciRR Desk>
   PDR for herbal medicines. Irregular. (3rd ed., 2004)
      RS164.P375 <SciRR Desk>

The Pill book. Harold M. Silverman, editor-in-chief. New York, Bantam Dell. (11th ed., 2004)
   RS51.P55 <SciRR>

The United States pharmacopeia. Rockville, MD, United States Pharmacopeial Convention, Inc. Quinquennial. (27th revision, 2004, includes National Formulary, 22nd ed. and supplements)
   RS141.2.P5 <SciRR Desk>

USP dictionary of USAN and international drug names. Rockville, MD, United States Pharmacopeial Convention, Inc. Annual.
   RS55.U54 <SciRR Desk>



Fontaine, Karen Lee, and Bill Kaszubski. Absolute beginner’s guide to alternative medicine. Indianapolis, IN, Que, c2004. 365 p.
   R733.F66 2004 <SciRR>

American Herbal Products Association's botanical safety handbook. Edited by Michael McGuffin. Boca Raton, Fla., CRC Press, c1997. 231 p.
   RA1250.A44 1997 <SciRR>

Anspaugh, David J., Michael H. Hemrich, and Frank D. Rosato. Wellness: concepts and applications. 4th ed. Boston, McGraw-Hill. (6th ed., 2006)
   RA776.A57 <SciRR>

Cataldo, Corinne Balog, Linda Kelly DeBruyne and Eleanor Noss Whitney. Nutrition and diet therapy: principles and practice. Belmont, CA, Thomson/Wadsworth. (6th ed., 2003)
   RM216.C36 <SciRR>

The Complete German Commission E monographs: therapeutic guide to herbal medicines. Developed by a special expert committee of the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices; senior editor, Mark Blumenthal. Austin, TX., American Botanical Council; Boston, Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998. 685 p.
   RM666.H33 C67 1998 <SciRR>

D'Amelio, Frank S. Botanicals: a phytocosmetic desk reference. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, c1999. 361 p.
   RS164.D274 1999 <SciRR>

Donatelle, Rebecca J. Access to health. . San Francisco, Pearson/Benjamin Cummings. (9th ed., 2006)
   RA776.D66 <SciRR>
   Also by Donatelle: Health: the basics. (6th ed., 2005) RA776.D663

Ebadi, Manuchair S. Pharmacodynamic basis of herbal medicine. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, c2002. 726 p.
   RM666.H33E23 2002 <SciRR>

Encyclopedia of human nutrition. Edited by Benjamin Caballero, and others. San Diego, Academic Press. 4 v. (2nd ed., 2005)
   QP141.E526 <SciRR>

Foster, Steven, , and Varro E. Tyler. Tyler's honest herbal: a sensible guide to the use of herbs and related remedies. 4th ed. New York, Haworth Herbal Press, c1999. 442 p.
   RM666.H33T94 1999 <SciRR>

Griffith, H. Winter. Vitamins, herbs, minerals & supplements: the complete guide. Rev. ed. Tucson, Ariz., Fisher Books, c1998. 504 p.
   QP771.G75 1998 <SciRR>

Fugh-Berman, Adriane. The 5-minute herb and dietary supplement consult. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, c2003. 475 p.
   RM666.H33F835 2003 <SciRR>

The Handbook of clinically tested herbal remedies. Edited by Marilyn Barrett. New York, Haworth Herbal Press, c2004. 2 v.
   RM666.H33H363 2004 <SciRR>

Harkness, Richard, and Steven Bratman. Drug-herb-vitamin interactions bible: from A-Z, know the dangers and benefits of combining drugs, herbs, and vitamins. Roseville, CA, Prima, c2000. 430 p.
   RM302.H3675 2000 <SciRR>

Natural medicines comprehensive database. Edited by Jeff M. Jellin, and others. Compiled by the editors of Pharmacist’s letter, Prescriber’s letter. Stockton, CA, Therapeutic Research Faculty. (6th ed., 2004)
   RM258.5.N38 <SciRR>
   Safety ratings, drug & natural medicines interactions, drug influences on nutrient levels & depletion.

Navarra, Tova. The encyclopedia of complementary and alternative medicine. New York, Facts on File, c2004. 276 p.
   R733.N38 2004 <SciRR>

Navarra, Tova. The encyclopedia of vitamins, minerals, and supplements. 2nd ed. New York, Facts on File, c2004. 353 p.
   QP771.E53 2004 <SciRR>

Peirce, Andrea. The American Pharmaceutical Association practical guide to natural medicines. New York, Morrow, c1999. 728 p.
   RM666.H33 P45 1999 <SciRR>

Professional’s handbook of complementary and alternative medicines. Springhouse, PA, Springhouse Corporation. (2nd ed., 2004)
   RM666.H33P765 <SciRR>

Robbers, James E., and Varro E. Tyler. Tyler's herbs of choice: the therapeutic use of phytomedicinals. New York, Haworth Herbal Press, c1999. 287 p.
   RM666.H33 R6 1999 <SciRR>

Skidmore-Roth, Linda. Mosby’s handbook of herbs & natural supplements. St. Louis, Mosby. (2nd ed., 2004)
   RM666.H33 S575 <SciRR>

Swartzberg, John Edward, and Sheldon Margen. The complete home wellness handbook: home remedies, prevention, self-care. With the editors of the UC Berkeley wellness letter. New York, Rebus, c2001. 672 p.
   RC81.S9685 2001 <SciRR>

Whitney, Eleanor Noss, and Sharon Rady Rolfes.Understanding nutrition. Belmont, CA, Thomson/Wadsworth. (10th ed., 2005).
   QP141.W46 <SciRR>



AHA guide to the health care field. Chicago, American Hospital Association. Annual. (2005)
   RA977.A1A46 <SciRR Desk>

America's best hospitals.
   U.S. News & World Report issues an annual guide to America's best hospitals, usually in the July issue of the magazine (see HOSPITALS vertical file in SciRR for current guide) You can also find this information on their Web site: (click on "health" and go to best hospitals).

The Directory of hospital personnel. Millerton, NY, Grey House Pub. Annual. (6th ed., 2004)
   RA977.D4718 <SciRR Desk>
   Profiles of U.S. hospitals, plus key decision makers.

Directory of nursing homes. Baltimore, HCIA Inc. Annual. (2001)
   RA997.A2D49 <SciRR>

Hospital blue book. Atlanta Billian Pub. Annual. (2003)
   RA981.A2H56 <SciRR Desk>
   Hospitals, healthcare systems, medical schools.

HMO/PPO directory. Millerton, NY, Grey House Pub. Annual. (16th ed., 2004)
   RA413.5.U5H586 <SciRR Desk>
   Profiles of U.S. managed healthcare organizations & key decision makers.

The Johns Hopkins medical handbook: the 100 major medical disorders of people over the age of 50: plus a directory to the leading teaching hospitals, research organizations, treatment centers, and support groups. Medical editor, Simeon Margolis. New York, Rebus, 1999. 652 p.
   RC952.55.J64 1999 <SciRR>
   Although the information is dated, a useful section is “teaching hospitals.” These hospitals are listed by state & city with their teaching specialties and also listed by disorder.

Sherer, David, and Maryann Karinch. Dr. David Sherer’s hospital survival guide: 100+ ways to make your hospital stay safe and comfortable. Washington, Claren Books, c2003. 309 p.
    RA965.6.S53 2003 <SciRR>



Consumer reports on health. Current issues only <N&CPR>

FDA consumer. HD9000.9.U5A1735 <SciRR>

Harvard health letter. RC81.A1H35 <SciRR>
   URL: (for all Harvard health newsletters)

Harvard men’s health watch. Current issues only <N&CPR>

Harvard women's health watch. Current issues only <N&CPR>

Health. (San Francisco) RA773.H254 <SciRR-UCR>

Health News. <SciRR-UCR>

HerbalGram. (Herb Research Foundation; American Botanical Council) RS164.H375 <SciRR>

Johns Hopkins medical letter: health after 50. <SciRR-UCR>

Nutrition action health letter. (Center for Science in the Public Interest) <SciRR>

Prevention magazine. RA421.P68 <SciRR>

Tufts University health & nutrition letter. <SciRR-UCR>

University of California, Berkeley, wellness letter. <SciRR-UCR>



eMedguides. Princeton, NJ, Thomson PDR. Updated frequently.
   Online and print Internet directories in medicine. Web site has free content from specialty guides and patient guides on single medical topics.

The Medical Library Association encyclopedic guide to searching and finding health information on the Web. Edited by P. F. Anderson and Nancy J. Allee. New York, Neal-Schumann Publishers, c2004. 3 v.
   R859.7.I58M436 2004 <SciRR computer shelf>
   v.1--search strategies/quick reference guide.
   v.2--diseases & disorders/mental health & mental disorders
   v.3--health & wellness/life stages & reproduction/cumulative index





Consumer Gateway
   This is a one-stop link to a multitude of federal information resources online. For health topics, choose the health category on the Web site banner.

   FedStats is the gateway to statistics and information produced by over 100 agencies in the federal government, as well as state, county and local area data. The site can be searched by specific terms with the A-Z list or agencies by subject area or agency name. Budget documents, working papers and Federal Register notices are also available.
   The U. S. Government’s official Web portal. In the “information by topic” section, click on health and nutrition.
   A portal to the Web sites of a number of multi-agency health initiatives and activities of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal departments and agencies.

National Food Safety Initiative
   Gateway to U. S. Government food safety information.
   This Web site leads to all federal recalls, including consumer products, food, medicines, cosmetics and environmental products. Reporting agencies include the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
   Search 17 U. S. Government science organizations within 12 federal agencies. Click on health and medicine or agriculture and food.


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
   This consumer Web site aims to help users “eat smart.” It links to ( where individuals can find help choosing nutritious foods based on the food guide pyramid.

Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC)
   FNIC is one of several information centers at the National Agricultural Library. Among the features of this Web site are an A-Z list of food and nutrition topics, food safety, dietary supplements, food composition, dietary guidelines, the food guide pyramid, and various reports and studies.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

HHS Home
   This site has an incredible collection of information: diseases and conditions; safety and wellness; drug and food; disasters and emergencies; grants and funding; families and children; aging; specific populations (men, women, children, seniors, disabled, racial and ethnic minorities, homeless); resource locators for healthcare providers and healthcare facilities; policies and regulations; and reference collections (dictionaries, databases, publications, statistics and reports).

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
   The mission of the AHRQ is to improve the quality, efficiency, safety and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. Of interest is the section for consumers and patients, which has information on health plans, health insurance and on quality of care.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
   The CDC home page links to current topics, travelers’ health information, vaccines and immunization information, an alphabetical health topic index, publications list, state and national data and statistics, and more. Direct access to a variety of CDC reports, guidelines and other data is available at

Other CDC Web sites:

National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
   NCHS is responsible for the collection, analyses, and dissemination of health statistics. An index of subjects, FASTATS A-Z, gives the researcher the latest statistics and links to comprehensive reports.

The CDC National Prevention Information Network (NPIN)
   Telephone: 1-800-458-5231 (M-F, 9a.m.-8p.m. ET)
   NPIN provides information on HIV, STD and TB prevention.

   In 1997 HHS launched this user-friendly, consumer-oriented Web site.

   Telephone: 1-800-Medicare
   Provided by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In addition to general information on Medicare and benefits, there is a Nursing Home Database (“Nursing Home Compare”) listing every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home. A new feature is the beneficiary portal for personal information:

National Health Information Center (NHIC)
   The NHIC was established by HHS in 1979 by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion ( as a health information referral system. The Web site provides a list of the Federal Health Information Centers and Clearinghouses, a list of the annual National Health Observances, the current Toll-Free Numbers for Health Information, many publications, and a Health Information Resource Database.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
   NIH is one of the eight agencies of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. It consists of 27 separate institutes and centers. To access any of these off the home page, click on "institutes" and choose from the list for a direct link. Choose "health information" on the home page for links to Health Topics A-Z, body systems, conditions and diseases, and quick links to information on the health of children, men, women, seniors and minorities..

Among the NIH centers of interest to consumers is:

National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).
   Telephone: 1-888-644-6226
   The NCCAM Clearinghouse responds to inquiries and distributes publications.

National Library of Medicine (NLM)
   A wealth of information is offered by NLM, the world's largest medical library and a part of the National Institutes of Health. MEDLINE, its database of references and abstracts, is available as PubMed on this Web site. This is also the site for NLM's online catalog and many other medical databases. There is a link to the extensive list of databases on the home page. Among the databases are:

   NLM created MedlinePlus to help consumers more easily access health information (it is also available in Spanish). MedlinePlus provides extensive information on diseases, conditions, and wellness issues and has a dictionary, drug information, and directories to find doctors, dentists and hospitals.
   URL: provides regularly updated information about federally and privately supported clinical research in human volunteers. It states the trial’s purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details. This information should be used in conjunction with advice from health care professionals. There is also general information about clinical trials.
   See also: NIH clinical alerts and advisories
   NLM provides these alerts to expedite release of findings from the NIH-funded clinical trials where the release could significantly affect morbidity and mortality.
   See also:
   This is a central, Web-based repository for clinical study results in a reader- friendly, standardized format. The information is provided in the interest of full scientific disclosure of clinical study results for U.S. marketed pharmaceuticals and is for informational purposes only.

Household Products Database
   Health and safety information on household products, including Material Safety Data Sheets prepared by manufacturers.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
   The FDA regulates food, drugs, medical devices, biologics, animal feed and drugs, cosmetics, and radiation-emitting products. The site has information on recalls and product safety, FDA activities, laws and regulations, and current news. There is an A-Z index for searching.

The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)
   CFSAN is one of six centers within the FDA. It deals with cosmetics, food labeling, plant and dairy foods and beverages, seafood, and special nutritionals, such as dietary supplements and infant formula.


Alternative Medicine Foundation
   The Alternative Medicine Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1998 to provide responsible and reliable information about alternative medicine to the public and health professionals. The Foundation has a fee-based “AskMed” service.

The Alternative Medicine Homepage
   For over a decade Charles B. Wessel, a medical librarian at the Falk Library of Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, has been responsible for this outstanding resource. The index to Internet resources and list of databases are extensive and comprehensive. There is a separate listing for HIV/AIDS information. The Web site now features a page on hospital and health systems which have CAM and integrative medicine.

American Association of Poison Control Centers
   For poison emergencies: 1-800-222-1222
Along with a listing of poison control centers, the Web site has a rumors section which deals with internet hoaxes and urban legends. There are links to relevant Web sites on toxicology, chemicals and pharmacology.

American Hospital Association Resource Center--Consumer Health Information
   This is a really superb, comprehensive listing of information. It’s pretty much “one-stop shopping” for everything you need to know. The topics include finding health information; understanding the health care system; making informed choices; locating a health care provider; preparing for your health care experience; partnering for safe, high-quality health care; and getting the support you need.

CenterWatch Clinical Trials Listing Service
   Centerwatch includes listings of active industry and government-sponsored clinical trials, as well as new drug therapies in research and those recently approved by the FDA.

   The information in this Web site is provided to the public by Administrators in Medicine (AIM), a nonprofit organization whose members are State Medical and Osteopathic Board executives. The database contains licensing, background and disciplinary information on physicians and other health care practitioners, with more detailed medical malpractice, hospital discipline and criminal conviction information from participating state medical boards.
   This site has information on prescription and OTC drugs sold in the U.S. and is updated daily. It also includes a listing of pharmaceutical manufacturers with addresses and telephone numbers and a health encyclopedia that includes medical tests and surgeries with illustrations.
   eMedguides has been previously mentioned, but special attention is directed to the listings on the home page under General Medicine Guide: reference. The list offers an incredible wealth of different types of health and medical information, including online medical books and journal articles.

eMedicine Consumer Health
   The parent company, eMedicine, has the largest and most current Clinical Knowledge Base available to physicians and other healthcare professionals. In 2003 it launched a consumer health Web site. Articles on the site are written by physicians and then reviewed by other physicians before publication.
   This health information Web site is from the American Academy of Family Physicians. It features a “smart patient guide” on managing health care, understanding health insurance and dealing with end-of-life issues.

   This Web site was conceived to make it easier to connect people dealing with the same medical condition. It features message boards offering support on over 140 diseases, conditions and topics. Detailed information on health topics is provided through a partnership with WebMD.

   InteliHealth is a subsidiary of Aetna. Its information sources include Harvard Medical School and the Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery. A special feature is the section on dental health. Other features are daily health news and “Harvard Commentaries” in which Harvard Medical School experts write on health topics

Internet Public Library
   This Web site, maintained by the University of Michigan School of Information, has celebrated its tenth year. It has much more than basic consumer information and links to a large number of useful Web sites. Under “subject collections” on the home page, choose health. There is an “Ask a Question” service and a list of frequently asked reference questions

Kaiser Family Foundation
   The Kaiser Family Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation focusing on the major health care issues facing the nation. Through its web sites you will find many reports, polls and statistics.
   See also:;;; and

   KidsHealth was created by the Nemours Foundation and received an excellent rating by Consumer Reports in its September 2005 issue. The Web site has separate sections for parents, kids and teens.

Lab Tests Online
   Lab Tests Online is organized by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) and is a collaboration among professional societies representing the clinical laboratory community. All the information a patient or caregiver needs to understand clinical lab tests is available here
   This is Mayo Clinic’s consumer site with information on diseases, conditions and treatment options, drugs, first aid, a healthy living centers feature and a free weekly email newsletter.

   The Web site was created by the American Medical Association in partnership with six of the nation’s medical societies. Many more societies, which are listed on the Web site, now participate in bringing health information to consumers. A special feature is a secure site to create an online health record.

National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF)
   NCAHF is a consumer organization dealing with health misinformation, fraud and quackery.There are links to its allied Web sites, such as Quackwatch, a guide to quackery and fraud run by Stephen Barrett, M.D. at: and Barrett’s Diet Scam Watch at:

National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)
   NARIC provides a gateway to disability and rehabilitation-oriented information. Their largest database is Rehabdata from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education. Information brochures prepared by NARIC librarians on special topics are available for download, and there is also live online help. The NIDRR also provides disability information on its ABLEDATA Web site at:

Patient Advocate Foundation
   Patient Advocate Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability. Foundation caseworkers help patients find local, state and federal programs that provide assistance for their individual needs.

Rxlist--The Internet Drug Index
   Rxlist provides drug information for both consumers and professionals. It has an advanced search engine which allows searching by drug name, keyword, ID imprint code or NDC. Taber’s Medical Encyclopedia is available on the Web site.

Shape Up America!
   Shape Up America! is a nonprofit organization committed to raising awareness of obesity as a health issue. It was founded by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D. The site has fitness and nutrition information, a support center to help users stay motivated, and information on the U.S. Government’s 10,000 steps program.

Virtual Hospital
Virtual Hospital was a popular digital health sciences library created in 1992 at the University of Iowa. It ceased in January 2006 due to lack in funding, but the patient education content is still available from University of Iowa Health Care at the above URL. There is also an archive of consumer health reports, health care news by medical specialty, and "Well & Good", a health and wellness resource for consumers.

   A popular site featuring news, information on drugs and herbs, diseases and conditions, and health and wellness. There is a special program to check symptoms, information on medical tests, and a service to locate a physician and make an appointment. Another Web site from WebMD is Medscape:, which provides free access to selected journal contents and medical specialty sites after free registration.


Google Directory--Health
   An alphabetical listing of topics, including search engines.

Hardin MD (Hardin Meta Directory of Internet Health Sources)
   Hardin MD was launched at the University of Iowa in 1996 as a source for finding the best directories of information in health and medicine on the Internet. In recent years, direct links to primary information and to images have been added. The Web site has a list of “comprehensive health and medical index sites” and those that are found to be consistently outstanding are given the “Hardin MD Clean Bill of Health” award.

   HealthWeb is a collaborative project of the health sciences libraries of the Greater Midwest Region (GMR) of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) and those of the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC), and is supported by the National Library of Medicine. Among the user guides on the Web site is Document Delivery (how to obtain journal articles): There are links to the Web sites of Biomed Central, Highwire Press, Free Medical Journals, and the Directory of Open Access Journals, all of which offer access to full-text scholarly publications at no cost.

INASP (International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications)
   INASP is a cooperative network of partners established in 1992 to enhance the flow of scientific and scholarly information within and between countries, especially those with less developed systems of publication and dissemination. INASP Health Links is a gateway to more than 600 selected Web sites for health professionals and others. Among the resources featured are health news, image collections, full-text materials, dictionaries and conference listings.

   This search engine from Health on the Net Foundation can search either the medical Web sites approved by HON or all medical Web sites.

   MedWeb is a catalog of biomedical and health-related Web sites maintained by the staff of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library at Emory University. Its primary audience is the academic and research community at Emory, but it is also a useful site for consumers.

   OMNI (Organising Medical Networked Information) is a gateway to evaluated, quality Internet resources in health and medicine. It is created and maintained by a team of information specialists at the University of Nottingham Greenfield Medical Library in the United Kingdom.

YAHOO! Health Directory
   Choose from an alphabetical list of categories.


BioMed Central
   BioMed Central is an open access publisher. Original research articles are freely accessible immediately upon publication. There are also links to biomedical databases on the Web. Some other products and services available require a subscription.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
   The Directory aims to cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content (peer review or editorial quality control). It is coordinated by Lund University Libraries in Sweden.

   Both Web sites are products of Flying Publisher, a company which promotes free access to medical information.

HighWire Press
   HighWire Press is a division of the Stanford University Libraries which produces the online versions of high-impact, peer-reviewed journals and other scholarly content. It hosts the largest repository of free, full-text life sciences articles in the world.

LookSmart Find Articles
   Search millions of articles from leading academic, industry and general interest publishers.

   MedBioWorld is the Internet’s largest medical and bioscience information resource and reference site, providing access to journals, associations, and databases. Special features of MedBioWorld are its links to Web sites of document delivery services and to suppliers of online medical, anatomical and biological images and illustrations.
   URL: is a digital library of authoritative medical information for medical students, but is also very useful to consumers. The Web site includes hundreds of textbooks, as well as medical journals, consumer health information and links to medical organizations.

National Academies Press (National Academies of Science)
   Hundreds of books and reports can be downloaded free from NAP.
   See also: Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
   Click on “reports” for a full list of reports from the IOM.

NCBI Bookshelf
   The National Center for Biotechnology Information Bookshelf is a growing collection of online biomedical books and is one of the databases at NLM/NIH. It can also be accessed through the NLM Web site.

The Online Books Page
   The Online Books Page was founded, and is edited, by John Mark Ockerbloom, who is a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. The University Library hosts the Web site. The purpose of the Web site is to facilitate access to books that are freely readable over the Internet. There is an index to thousands of books, pointers to directories and archives of online texts, and special exhibits of particularly interesting classes of online books.

PLoS Medicine
   PLoS Medicine is a peer-reviewed, open access journal published by the nonprofit organization Public Library of Science (PLoS).

PubMed Central
   As mentioned in the introduction to this guide, PubMed Central is a digital archive of life sciences journal literatures at NIH and is managed by NIH’s National Center for Biotechnology Information in the National Library of Medicine.

Compiled by Stephanie Marcus
Updated September 2005

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  October 1, 2007
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