President's Message

Stephanie Fulton, MSIS, AHIP, FMLA
AAHSL President 2023-2024
Associate University Librarian
Texas A&M University 



May 14, 2024

The summer is quickly approaching and there has been quite a bit of activity for AAHSL since March! I am happy to share upcoming scholarship and leadership opportunities and other items of interest.

Deadlines are fast approaching for the following:

AAHSL Future Leadership Diversity Scholarships

The AAHSL Future Leadership Committee is pleased to announce the availability of AAHSL Leadership Diversity Scholarships. The scholarships support career development opportunities for persons from diverse and under-represented racial and ethnic backgrounds who are interested in leadership roles at all levels in academic health sciences libraries. The scholarships are also designed to increase the diversity of leaders in health sciences libraries, strengthen the profession’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity, and develop a more diverse pool of new and emerging library leaders.

To be considered for the AAHSL Leadership Diversity Scholarships, applications and all supplemental materials must be received by close of business on Friday, May 31, 2024. Apply Today!

Gerald J. Oppenheimer Cornerstone Award

Deadline extended! Please submit your letter of nomination for the Gerald J. Oppenheimer Cornerstone Award, which should include the name of the nominee, their affiliation, and description of the contribution including the relevance to AAHSL to [email protected]. Nomination letters will be accepted if submitted by 5:00 PM (Pacific Time) May 31, 2024.

New and Interim Directors Symposium

As mentioned in a message earlier this month, we are bringing back the New and Interim Directors Symposium. This year’s program will be facilitated by M.J. Tooey, retired Associate Vice Provost and Dean of the Health Sciences and Human Services Library at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. This is a great opportunity for those who have started as a director or interim director since 2020. Enrollment is set at 20 and will be first come, first served. Apply using the online application form.

Deadline to apply is June 16, 2024, at 11:59 PM PT.

Member Activity

Three new task forces have been approved by the AAHSL Board. I am excited about each of these as they represent key areas for our membership including hiring and onboarding into our libraries; defining and promoting impactful educational research/assessment strategies; and the AAHSL website.

Onboarding and Education of Librarians New to Health Sciences

The idea for this task force started during February’s Friday Salon with AAHSL directors. Enough interest, momentum, and follow through resulted in this task force launching this spring! The task force is charged with exploring, evaluating, and recommending strategies for establishing a dispersed formalized program aimed at efficiently onboarding and educating individuals new to the field of health sciences librarianship. Co-chairs are Deb Werner and Zahra Kamarei. Members include Erinn Aspinall, Melissa Helwig, and Melissa Rethlefsen. Dan Burgard is the liaison for the Board.

MLA/AAHSL Educational Research/Assessment Task Force

This joint task force is continuing the work of the Competency-based Medical Education Task Force. The goals of this task force include:

  • Identify/develop standards for conducting educational research/assessment for health sciences librarians.
  • Identify/develop standards for reporting health sciences educational research/assessment.
  • Increase the competency of health sciences librarians conducting educational research by outlining a plan for webinars and other training opportunities for health sciences librarians interested in conducting educational research/assessment.

This task force is chaired by Joey Nicholson, and AAHSL members include John Cyrus, Molly Knapp, Brandon Patterson, and Laura Zeigen. Kelly Thormodson is serving as the Board liaison.

Web Refresh Task Force

This group will review the current Association website content and make recommendations for updates with a focus on the following areas:

  • Highlighting our calendar of events
  • Reviewing content behind the Member login page for consideration for our public website.
  • Updating the Quick Links
  • Highlighting Committees
  • Determining display and archival policy for committee reports and other documents

Members include Hal Bright and Jeff Slagell, along with AAHSL's Marketing & Communications staff. I am working directly with this group.

Mark Your Calendar for the Fall Meetings: Business and Annual

The Business Meeting will be held virtually again this year. The meeting date is October 16, at 9:30–10:30 AM PT / 12:30–1:30 PM ET. Don’t delay - RSVP today!

The Annual Meeting is in Atlanta, Georgia, with the education programming starting at 1:00 PM on Thursday, November 7, followed by a full day on Friday, November 8, and concluding with a reception Friday night. More information to come as plans are finalized.

Peace to one and all,




March 26, 2024

As we ease into spring, I wanted to share updates from the February Board Meeting held in lovely Albuquerque, New Mexico. We were fortunate to have the full Board attend this meeting in person. Due to illness, we were without our fearless AAHSL staff, however, with their stellar planning and communication the meeting went very smoothly! We were happy to have our colleague Melissa Rethlefsen from the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Library & Informatics Center join us for dinner.

Mark Your Calendar!

The Business Meeting will be held virtually again this year. Meeting date is October 16, 2024, 9:30–10:30 AM PT / 12:30–1:30 PM ET. Don’t delay - RSVP today!

The Annual Meeting will be on November 7-8, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia, with the education programming starting at 1:00 PM on Thursday, November 7, followed by a full day on Friday, November 8, and concluding with a reception Friday night. More information to come as plans are finalized.

Recent Activity

AAHSL endorsed the AAMC’s Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research’s Recommendation for increased NIH funding for FY2025.

Committees Updates

Assessment and Statistics Committee

Please see Matt Wilcox’s message from 3/11/2024 announcing that the 46th Annual Survey and Salary Survey are ready for review. Thank you to the 133 libraries that participated this year AND big kudos to the committee for sharing results months ahead of last year!

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

This year’s book club begins in April. The book for this year is: Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces. There are five groups and 51 participants.

Future Leadership Committee

The committee is full steam ahead with the current cohort of Fellows and also planning for next year. The Leadership Institute will be held at the University of Minnesota on April 8-10, and the Capstone and Graduation will be hosted at the University of Maryland on September 26 & 27.

Joint MLA/AAHSL Legislation Committee

The committee has an updated charge that includes these primary activities:

  • Communicating with legislators to advocate for funding to NLM and NIH.
    • It was decided there will not be Hill visits in 2024. This decision was made during recent meetings and will allow the committee to focus on developing new processes and procedures following the retirement of Mary Langham as well as recognizing the challenges of this type of work during an election year.
  • Reviewing and recommending support letters for MLA and AAHSL to sign.
  • Responding to relevant RFIs.
  • Drafting statements for AAHSL/MLA to submit to the Senate L-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee in support of NLM and NIH funding.  

Program and Education Committee

A review of member feedback from the Seattle meeting is underway and planning for 2024 has begun. The eSalon series continues to be popular, with the committee members serving as facilitators for these director focused sessions. Check out the AAHSL Calendar for upcoming dates.All recorded Matheson lectures are available online. Please note, access to these recordings is limited to AAHSL members and require you to login.

New and Interim Directors Committee

The committee is planning a half-day symposium in Atlanta for directors who are new to their roles. More information will be communicated via the listserv once the program details are finalized. If you are considering this, please note that the symposium is planned for the morning of Thursday, November 7.

Scholarly Communication Committee

In January, the committee sponsored a well-attended webinar, “Promoting Citational Justice in the Health Sciences.” This committee also ensured our signature on the November 3, 2023, SPARC letter advocating for the removal of section 552 of the US House of Representatives Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The section would block implementation of the 2022 OSTP guidance, i.e., the Nelson memo, requiring immediate, free access to US taxpayer-funded research.

Membership Update

AAHSL Membership reported at the Board Meeting:

Associate            17
Canadian Full      4
Developing         15
New                     1 
US Full              143

Total                  180

Did You Know?

Anyone from an AAHSL member library is eligible to serve on an AAHSL committee or task force, this includes serving in a leadership capacity.

AAHSL has three listservs!

  • AAHSL-all is open to anyone at member institutions. The AAHSL Office requests that directors are copied when individuals ask to be added OR directors can provide additional names. Please provide the following for each person at your library who wants to be added: first/last name, email address, school, library, work address, work phone number, title/position.
  • AAHSL–Directors is available to the voting member from a member institution.
  • AAHSL-SIC (Second in Command) is an informal group under the current leadership of Heather Holmes, Lisa McGuire, and Regina Raboin. Directors can send in their SIC contact information to [email protected] to be added to the listserv.  


  • Please submit your letter of nomination for the Gerald J. Oppenheimer Cornerstone Award, which should include the name of the nominee, their affiliation, and description of the contribution including the relevance to AAHSL to the [email protected]. Nomination letters are due no later than May 15.
  • As announced a few weeks ago the Web Refresh Task Force is charged with reviewing our website and providing recommendations to refresh and update. There is still time to join, so if you are interested, please let me know.

I appreciate the time and commitment of the membership of AAHSL. You are all responsible for the great work that is being done to further the AAHSL mission to help us succeed as academic health sciences leaders through professional development and leadership programs; promoting best practices; advocacy; strategic partnerships and collaborations; fostering a community of colleagues; and enabling a diverse and inclusive association.

Thank you!


December 15, 2023

Greetings from College Station, Texas! I am excited as I begin my year as your AAHSL President. 

AAHSL November 2023 Recap

It was wonderful to see and talk to so many AAHSL colleagues in Seattle. As we have all become accustomed, our Program and Education Committee delivered another excellent day of learning and networking. 

Thank you again to our panel of Barbara Kern (UChicago); Len Levin (Harvard); Chris Shaffer (UCSF) for furthering the discussion on transformative agreements. As one of the 44 Texas libraries in the Texas Library Coalition for United Action , it was a good reminder that we are all at different places at our campuses and libraries with open science and publishing. There is not one right place to be, other than in the conversation. 

AAHSL members can watch the recorded AAHSL/GIR Matheson Lecture from Chirag Shah, PhD, from the 2023 Annual Meeting in Seattle. 

Thank you to AAHSL committee chairs and members. There was so much energy and discussion at these Round Tables. If you were unable to attend the meeting or only had the opportunity to sit at one table, check out the AAHSL Committees webpage for the rosters, charges, and annual reports. The call for volunteers is in the summer and new appointments start after the annual meeting. 

Oppenheimer Cornerstone Award

The 2023 Oppenheimer Cornerstone Award winner was the Osteopathic Membership Task Force. The task force members were: Lori Fitterling, Sandra Franklin, Joanne Muellenbach, and Stephanie Ferretti. An excerpt from a nomination letter highlights the impact of the work of this task force: 

They studied the issue and recommended that COM libraries be given full member status. While this only affected a minority of members, it has given several COM libraries the ability to participate fully within the AAHSL structure, bringing more diversity of perspective and lived experience into AAHSL as an organization. Among the criteria for the Cornerstone Award are efforts or contributions that have had a significant impact on AAHSL. Noting the longstanding separations that have existed between osteopathic and allopathic teaching and provider communities, this act of coming together in partnership in light of shared interests and goals is historic in the legacy of AAHSL.


Pictured from left to right: Joanne Muellenbach, Lori Fitterling, Sandra Franklin, and Stephanie Ferretti 

NLM/AAHSL Fellows Program 

The NLM/AAHSL Fellows Program is now entering its 21st year. I invite everyone to join me in another round of applause for this remarkable program that continues to shape our leaders. Rose Bland provided an excellent tribute that I wanted to share with you all: 

“As we gathered to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate our profession, let’s take a moment to observe a wonderful milestone – the 20th anniversary of the NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program
To date, there have been 107 fellows in the program of which 63% became or are currently AAHSL directors.
For two decades, this program has nurtured the growth of future leaders in our field. This accomplishment is due to the work of our passionate colleagues who started the program and those who continue to support it. To the NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program and everyone who helped make a premier leadership program, here’s to two decades of excellence and to many more years of continued success. Cheers!”


Thank you, Rose, and all who have participated as a learner, mentor, or educator. 

Looking ahead

Planning is underway for the virtual business meeting and in-person annual meeting in Atlanta, GA. In 2024 we are piloting an additional half-day of content based on feedback provided over the last few years. So, mark your calendars for all members educational program for AAHSL 2024 to start the afternoon of Thursday, November 6, 2024.

Another significant project for the coming year is the reworking of the MLA/AAHSL Joint Legislation Committee. As many of you know, Mary Langman is retiring from MLA this month. She has been the engine behind the advocacy work during her 34-year career. Several meetings have taken place this fall to bring MLA and AAHSL leadership together to discuss moving to a new model. I have asked Darell Schmick to serve as the AAHSL point person for this transition. Along with Darell, Melissa De Santis and Jill Deaver are serving as the AAHSL committee members. We are fortunate to have Maggie Ansell as the chair of the committee this year to bring her wealth of knowledge and expertise to help guide our next steps. 


Peace to all as we enter 2024!