Records of the Consumer Health Information Center (CHIC)
Held at: Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia [Contact Us]19 S. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia was founded in 1787 "to advance the science of medicine and to thereby lessen human misery." The Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was founded in 1788 and is an independent research library of books and archives that serves hundreds of scholars, health professionals, students, and popular writers each year.
In 1990, Library services were divided into the Katherine A. Shaw Public Services Division of the Library and the Historical Collections. The Library was designated a historical library in 1996 to recognize its function as a repository for the history of medicine. The Katherine A. Shaw Public Services Division (Public Services) was expanded to provide a coordinated, cohesive approach to College programs and services designed for public access. The division now encompassed the Modern Library, the C. Everett Koop Community Health Information Center (CHIC), the College Gallery, and the Mütter Museum. The reading room became appointment only – to the general public – in 1996. In 1997, governance voted to officially make the Library a historical library, de-emphasizing modern reference and transferring most of those activities to the CHIC. The Director of the Library was in charge of the historical collections, with Public Services in charge of modern reference and the CHIC.
In 1983, the Library developed Pennsylvania's first coordinated effort to share the resources of health science libraries with public libraries and other agencies by developing the Consumer Health Information Network (CHINET). The Public Services Division headed the project. Although funding for CHINET ended in 1985, the College was able to expand these information services to state-supported institutions through a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. State funding for this project, the Health Information Services for Pennsylvania Residents (HISPAR) program ended in 1991, and the College relied on other state grants to continue these services.
Before state funding for HISPAR services ended in 1996, the College sought external funding to create a health resource center. The Health Resource Center was to support the College's mission – to disseminate medical information and to contribute to the health of the community – by providing to the public ready access to a broad spectrum of current and accurate information on medicine, health maintenance, disease prevention, and health care services.
In 1994, the College secured a two-year grant from the Connelly Foundation for planning and collection development of the Health Resource Center. The grant allowed the College to configure a physical space; purchase materials; and provide staffing, expanding on the services offered by the Library's Public Services Division. The Center opened in November 1995 as the C. Everett Koop Community Health Information Center (CHIC). The CHIC's collection included books, journals and newsletters, videos, access to the internet and computer databases, CD ROMs, and pamphlets in both English and Spanish. The CHIC moved to the "Koop" room on the first floor of the building in June 1996.
In 1996, the College received a second two-year grant from the Connelly Foundation to maintain and expand upon services offered by the CHIC; eliminate the annual $20 borrowing fee; enhance the website; and offer more educational workshops. In 1998, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contracted with MACRO International to evaluate the capability of the CHIC to serve as a national physician-based model for community health information centers. During the evaluation, MACRO recommended changes to the CHIC to improve the visibility and patronage of the CHIC. In 2000, The College contracted with MACRO to evaluate the impact of MACRO's recommendations over a three-year period.
MACRO's recommendations included increasing visibility in the community; increasing traffic from referrals; working with local health care providers; extending hours to include evening and weekends; improving the CHIC website. As part of these recommendations, the College collaborated with the Free Library of Philadelphia in an outreach program, surveyed Philadelphia-area physicians to gauge knowledge of or interest in referring patients to the CHIC, and greatly improved the CHIC website.
In the spring of 2002, the College decided to change the focus of the CHIC from a physical site to a virtual one, Philly Health Info (PHI). PHI was a web portal designed to provide consumers with increased access to medical and wellness information. With the implementation of PHI, the CHIC became defunct.
The records of the C. Everett Koop Community Health Information Center (CHIC) span the years 1991 to 2003 and include correspondence regarding planning and operations; grant proposals to fund the CHIC; basic information about the collection materials; and pamphlets, flyers, and branded realia.
The collection is arranged into five series: Organizational information; Planning; Marketing; Administration; and Grants. Researchers should note that boxes 5 and 6, part of Series V: Grants are restricted to internal (current College employee) use only.
Series I: Organizational information dates from 1991 to 2001, although the bulk of the material begins in 1994, when the College first began planning a health resource center. Correspondence regarding the planning of; securing funding for; purchasing materials for; staffing; and operating the CHIC comprises much of the series. Researchers may find the branded realia interesting; it includes jar openers and circulation desk signs. Also included in the series are informational pamphlets and fact sheets about the CHIC.
Series II: Planning dates to the first three of the CHIC, 1994-1996. Floor plans, correspondence and meeting agendas of the Advisory Committee are held in this series. Please note that the media (three 3.5" floppy disks) are not able to be viewed as the Library does not have the required hardware. Of note in this series is the 1994 "Survey of Librarians and Physicians for the Development of a Consumer Health Information Center" prepared for the College by Hoover Anwar Associates.
Series III: Marketing includes marketing plans; correspondence with the consulting firm, MCB Communications; flyers and advertisements; and a SEPTA bus sign purchase agreement, all dating from 1994 to 1997. Please note that the media (two 3.5" floppy disks) are not able to be viewed as the Library does not have the required hardware. Newsclippings and other public relations materials concerning the opening of the CHIC can also be found in this series, and date from 1996 to 2001.
Series IV: Administration spans the years 1995 to 2001, and may hold the most interest for those interested in materials found in late 20th-century consumer health collections. Along with procedures and workflows followed by employees and public access policies, this series contains lists of recommended internet links for authoritative online health resources as well as "pathfinders" – lists of resources held by the CHIC, seemingly related to disorders discussed in contemporary Museum exhibits. A very few print-outs of user statistics, arranged by year, are also available.
Series V: Grants comprises most of the records of the CHIC. Researchers should note that boxes 5 and 6 are restricted to internal (current College employee) use only. These boxes contain grant applications with sensitive information, as well as contracts, including financial receipts, for the consulting company, MACRO International. Accessible material in Series V dates from 1999 to 2003 and includes grant proposals and progress reports that document the goals, activities, and final evaluation of the CHIC. Those interested in the planning of and implementing multi-year grant projects in non-profit institutions will find these materials rich in detail.
- Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
- Finding Aid Author
- Chrissie Perella
- Finding Aid Date
- December 2017
- Access Restrictions
Boxes 5 and 6, part of Series V: Grants are restricted to internal (current College employee) use only. Please contact the Archivist for more details.
Researchers should note that the media found in this collection (3.5" floppy disks) are not able to be viewed as the Library does not have the required hardware.