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Naomi C. Broering: MLS Alumna Was First President of Hispanic Heritage of the Medical Library Association

By Joanie Harmon

Broering’s work benefited San Diego’s underserved communities and disaster preparedness. 

UCLA alumna Naomi C. Broering (’66, MLS) died on January 11, in La Jolla, California. An elected fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, Broering’s work has contributed greatly to developing computer systems for libraries and to medical information technology. Most recently, she served as Dean of Libraries at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) in San Diego since 2001. From 1996 to 2000, Broering was the Executive Director of the Houston Academy of Medicine–Texas Medical Center Library - one of the largest in the U.S. – and provided services for ten medical schools and more than 21 hospitals.

Throughout her career, Broering was a strong advocate for the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), taking part in focus groups, helping to create exhibits and showcase NLM resources, and successfully applying for awards from the National Institutes of Health and NLM. These were to support significant projects focused on promoting public access to health information resources of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Broering conducted a series of projects involving extensive outreach to various communities in San Diego County, targeting both health care professional and consumer audiences and developing collaborations with many community organizations, including public libraries, churches, community centers, veterans centers, and HIV/AIDS clinics. Broering’s work benefited San Diego’s underserved communities of Hispanics, African Americans, Native and Pacific Islander Americans, as well as population areas of high HIV incidence. 

Broering’s efforts with the “Senior Health Project: Access to Electronic Health Information in San Diego” led to the PCOM Library being named one of the top ten finalists for the 2006 U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) Health Information Awards for Libraries. She also received an NLM Disaster Health Information Outreach & Collaboration Award in 2012, for a project reaching out to San Diego County’s Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). Broering highlighted these significant outreach projects through numerous scholarly articles as well as presenting papers and poster sessions. She is credited as an author or co-author for several articles for the Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet, on topics including seniors’ access to online health information, and HIV/AIDS outreach in San Diego.

Prior to her work in Houston, Broering was the Director of the Dahlgren Memorial Library at Georgetown University School of Medicine from 1978 to 1996. She was the principal investigator of the Georgetown University IAIMS Program, an NLM grant program, and oversaw development of the Georgetown University Library Information System, which included a “Mini-MEDLINE” Search System component.

Throughout her career, Broering also paved the way for future medical library professionals through her teaching as adjunct faculty in health informatics and library and information departments at Georgetown University, the University of Texas Houston-Health Science Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Women’s University, and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. Broering also supported students directly through her endowed scholarship for students in the UCLA Department of Information Studies and the Medical Library Association’s (MLA) Naomi C. Broering Hispanic Heritage Grant. Broering also served as the Director of NNLM for the Greater Houston area. 

Broering served as president of MLA from 1996-1997; she is considered the organization’s first president of Hispanic heritage; she was the 21st editor of the MLA’s Bulletin. Her extensive list of awards includes the MLA’s 2003 Marcia Noyes Award, the association’s highest professional distinction. She was named an MLA Fellow in 1995, and a Distinguished Member of MLA’s Academy of Health Information Professionals. In 1986, Broering received MLA’s Frank Bradway Rogers Information Advancement Award, and in 2015, she was honored with MLA’s first Hispanic Heritage Award, in recognition of her past accomplishments in medical librarianship and library informatics. 

In service to the National Library of Medicine, Broering was a member of a planning panel for the NLM Long Range Plan (2000-2005), a member of the NLM Biomedical Library and Informatics Review Committee, and was a co-founder of the Friends of NLM, serving as secretary of the board of directors.

Broering was secretary and board member of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) from 1992 to 1996 and was elected a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) in 1989-90. Other honors include the Special Libraries Association (SLA) 1999 Winifred Sewell Award, the SLA 1987 Professional Award, and the Vicennial Award from Georgetown University in 1995. 

Broering was an active member of the American Library Association (ALA), serving on committees and programs, and was a lifetime member of ALA, MLA, and a retired member of AMIA/ACMI. Broering authored more than 200 scholarly journal articles, two books, and has presented at national and international library conferences.

Broering earned her master's degree in Library and Information Science at UCLA, and she had a yearlong postgraduate fellowship in medical librarianship at the UCLA Biomedical Library, supported by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. In addition, she completed her coursework for a doctorate in history at UCLA. Broering received her bachelor's degree in social sciences and a master's degree in history at California State University, Long Beach. In addition, she completed a year of law school from West LA University in 1970-71, while serving as hospital librarian at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. She earned a Government Management Certificate from George Washington University in 1973.

Born in New York City, Broering lived throughout her career in Los Angeles, Georgetown, Houston, and finally, La Jolla. She is survived by her husband Gregory Chauncey and two nieces, Emily Albrecht and Jaye Meyer.  

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Naomi Broering’s honor to the Gregory A. Chauncey and Naomi C. Broering Engineering Veterans Scholarship at UC San Diego or to the Moores Cancer Center at UCSD Health.