Library of Medicine Adds Defense Journal to Database
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 21, 2011 The U.S. National Library of Medicine is recognizing the Defense Department’s Medical Surveillance Monthly Report by adding it to the library’s vast wealth of sought-after medical research publications.
The report, published by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, is the Defense Department’s direct line to documented health patterns affecting service members and their families. It also influences improvements in the health, fitness and readiness of troops.
The library, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., owns the MEDLINE database, which has more than 18 million references to articles published in 5,500 of the latest biomedical journals in the United States and 80 foreign countries. The Medical Surveillance report will be indexed into MEDLINE this month, beginning with its January 2011 issue.
“The recognition is phenomenal, and makes [MSMR] even more relevant,” Navy Capt. (Dr.) Kevin Russell, the center’s director, said. “It’s been recognized in the Defense Department, and now with this honor, it [gives it] more stature.”
The report was one of 400 applicants, from which about 25 percent are chosen per year. An NIH committee made selections based on scientific merit, editorial work quality and the peer-review process.
Russell described the addition of the journal into MEDLINE as “recognition of its scientific rigor.”
The center’s epidemiologists study health-event patterns in military settings, and in the armed forces overall, to look at data for risk factors and trends in disease and injury. From there, Defense health officials make evidence-based medical decisions on the best approaches to treatment and preventive medicine for the armed forces, Russell said.
The MSMR also is expected to make contributions to the civilian medical research forum.
“The importance of Defense Surveillance extends beyond the military population,” Russell said. “[The armed forces] is such a robust system and produces material the Centers of Disease Control doesn’t have access to.”
Among its most notable work that can be applied to civilian medicine, the MSMR documented the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic and its impact on troops and family members, and regularly follows data on critical areas such as deployment health, traumatic brain injury and mental health.
The National Library of Medicine began collecting material for its database in the 1940s. Since then, MEDLINE has become the top reference resource for medical professionals and students worldwide.