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Fact Sheet
Division of Specialized Information Services

The Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) produces information resources on a range of topics covering toxicology, environmental health,  HIV/AIDS,  drug and consumer product information, and disaster/emergency preparedness and response. The Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP) component covers toxicology, environmental health, and chemistry. The Outreach and Special Populations Branch (OSPB) seeks to improve access to quality and accurate health information by underserved and special populations. The Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) helps provide online and downloadable information resources relevant to national emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. SIS also coordinates many of the National Library of Medicine's HIV/AIDS information activities.

Toxicology and Environmental Health Information

The Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP) maintains a comprehensive web site with access to resources produced by TEHIP and by other government agencies and organizations.  Its flagship resource is TOXNET®, an integrated database system of hazardous chemicals, toxic releases and environmental health. TOXMAP®, another resource, uses United States maps to explore data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Superfund programs. The Haz-Map® database contains information on the health effects of exposure to chemical and biological agents used in industry, on the job and at home.

Some SIS resources address the information needs of the general public. One such resource is Tox Town®, an interactive guide to toxic chemicals and environmental health issues in everyday locations. It is available in English and Spanish. The Household Products Database provides information on the potential health effects of chemicals contained in common products used inside and around the home. The interactive site ToxMystery™, also available in English and Spanish, helps children age 7 to 10 learn about toxic substances in the home. The tutorials Tox Tutor and ToxLearn, written at the introductory college level, provide a basic knowledge of toxicology.

Outreach to Special Populations

The Outreach and Special Populations Branch (OSPB) manages and develops programs in an effort to eliminate disparities in health information access by providing community outreach support, training health professionals on NLM's health information databases, and designing special population websites that address specific concerns in various racial and ethnic groups. These outreach programs reach health professionals, public health workers and the general public especially about health issues that disproportionately impact minorities such as environmental exposures and HIV/AIDS. OSPB collaborates with other components of NLM involved in similar activities, particularly the National Network of Libraries of Medicine® and the Office of Health Information Programs Development. As part of its outreach, OSPB has created web sites with information of interest to targeted populations: American Indian Health, Arctic Health, Asian American Health, Refugee Health Information Network, and Women's Health Resources.

OSPB works to improve access to toxicology and environmental health information to underserved communities, health-related disaster information in Central America, HIV/AIDS information resources by community-based organizations, and health information for all minorities and underserved populations.

The branch has a growing program for the elementary through high school community of educators, students and parents, including the Environmental Health Student Portal. The portal has links to government and other reviewed and selected sites and provides a safe and reliable environment for teachers and students to study the environment and its impact on health.

Disaster and Emergency Response Information

The Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) was created to help with national emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. DIMRC focuses on: maintaining access to health information during disasters, developing innovative products and services to serve emergency responders and managers, conducting research to support disaster health information management, and collaborating with other agencies and communities.

Additional resources for disaster and emergency response include WISER® (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders) which is designed to assist first responders in hazardous material incidents. It is available for iPhone®/iPod touch®, Blackberry®, Windows Mobile®, and the Palm OS®. A web-based WISER (WebWISER) is also supported.

The Radiation Event Medical Management System (REMM) offers easy-to-follow algorithms on clinical diagnosis, treatment, and management of radiation contamination and exposure during mass casualty radiological/nuclear emergencies. REMM is available for iPhone/iPod touch, BlackberryWindows Mobile, Palm OS, and for Microsoft Windows and Mac PCs.

Drug and Dietary Supplement Information

SIS produces several resources that can help professionals and the public learn more about drugs and dietary supplements.

The Dietary Supplements Labels Database has information from product labels currently in the marketplace, including vitamins, minerals, and herbs. Ingredients in this database are linked to other National Library of Medicine databases giving users information about uses in humans, adverse effects, and mechanisms of action.

The Drug Information Portal provides a portal to current drug information for over 17,000 drugs. The portal covers drugs from the time they are entered into clinical trials ( through their entry in the U.S. market place (Drugs@FDA).

Health and HIV/AIDS Information

SIS produces DIRLINE®, a directory of organizations and other resources in health and biomedicine and Health Hotlines®, a database of health-related organizations operating toll-free telephone services. Health Hotlines is available as an iPhone/iPod touch app.

SIS coordinates many of NLM's HIV/AIDS information activities and its web site provides access to a comprehensive list of resources within and outside of NLM. SIS collaborates with other agencies to produce AIDSinfo, the primary Department of Health and Human Services web site for federally approved treatment guidelines, clinical trials, drug, and vaccine information.

Staying in Touch with SIS

There are several ways to keep up to date with what's happening at SIS and its various resources. SIS has several email listservs: AIDSinfo, infoSIDA, DISASTR-OUTREACH-LIB, NLM-TOX-ENVIRO-HEALTH-L, REMM, and WISER. There are RSS feeds: SIS News and TOXMAP News. In addition, SIS can be followed on Twitter: AIDSinfo and SIS News.

Further Information

For detailed information, contact:

Specialized Information Services
National Library of Medicine
Two Democracy Plaza, Suite 510
6707 Democracy Boulevard, MSC 5467
Bethesda, MD 20892-5467
Telephone: (301) 496-1131
FAX: (301) 480-3537

For information on NLM services, contact:

Customer Service
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
Telephone: 1-888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656)

A complete list of NLM Fact Sheets is available at:
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Or write to:

Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20894

Phone: (301) 496-6308
Fax: (301) 496-4450