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The Tragedie of Macbeth

Tis’ the season for trick or treat, and while our Himmelfarb Library resources might be limited on dragon scales and tooth of wolf, Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth was not entirely far fetched when it came to medicinal trends in the 1500s.

“Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark”

Did you know, that while poisonous, practitioners used diluted hemlock for its sedative, antispasmodic, and paralyzing properties? Beware, this species is not as appealing as it may sound for in Ancient Greece, the plant was actually used in the execution of condemned prisoners. Find out more via the library's Natural Medicines database which has a professional-level monograph on Hemlock.

Natural Medicines can provide information and evidence on plants, roots and herbs and allow you to learn about what people use it for as well as safety, effectiveness, dosing and administration, adverse effects, and toxicology.  Natural Medicines can also help you identify possible interactions with drugs, food, laboratory tests, and diseases.

“... slips of yew

Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,” Macbeth

While one can only imagine what ‘Witches Mummy’ and ‘slips of yew’ may have been used for, why not take a look at our database and see what unusual remedies you can find?

Witch no. 1 lithograph by Joseph E. Baker (circa 1837-1914)

Salem Witch Trials—Bewitchment or Ergotism

From the JAMA archives just in time for Halloween, check out The Salem Witch Trials—Bewitchment or Ergotism which presents a new theory for what caused temporary blindness, skin lesions, convulsions, and hallucinations and eventually led to the Salem witch trials.
Interested in learning more about how ergot may have made history?  Search PubMed by Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) to find more articles: "Ergotism/history"[MAJR]

hsrcLooking for a way to increase and track the reach of your research?

Our Health Sciences Research Commons recently surpassed 500,000 downloads from around the globe! Students, faculty, and staff of SMHS, SPH, and SON are invited to submit their citations for new publications to By sending us citations for your recent publications, you help to ensure that your research reaches the widest audience possible, and helps us ensure that we have an accurate portrait of GWU health sciences scholarship.

Students in particular are encouraged to submit research materials, such as posters, capstones, and dissertations, for our student research archives. Archiving your materials allows you to participate in the scholarly communications process by making your ideas and research available to your peers in the health sciences community. You can track how many times your abstract is viewed or your project downloaded with our integrated PlumX metrics “Plum Print” – a visual indication of five different metrics categories: Usage, Captures, Mentions, Social Media, and Citations.

If you have any questions about getting your research into the HSRC, you can check our FAQ, or reach out to Sara Hoover (

Fun Fact: Our HSRC Dashboard includes a readership map of all HSRC content. Where in the world will your research end up?

sysrev3Are you interested in writing a systematic review and aren’t sure where to start? Have you already started a systematic review, but aren’t sure if you’re following the right steps, or are having trouble staying organized? 

Systematic reviews can seem daunting, but like anything, are a series of steps. Come learn more about the steps involved and some techniques for staying organized during the process. Register for The ABCs of Systematic Reviews session led by Himmelfarb’s Paul Levett, Reference and Instruction Librarian.

Date: Saturday, October 26, 2019

Time: 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Location: Online via WebEx

Categories: GWSPH Refine Your Research Skills workshops

Register for this session to learn the steps of systematic reviews and strategies for staying organized that can help set yourself for success for your next systematic review!

Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee workers traveling to communities, 1980s
Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) workers traveling to communities, 1980s: Women between the ages of twenty and fifty are recruited by BRAC to teach oral rehydration therapy. Because Bangladeshi culture does not always allow women to travel far from their homes, men chaperone the workers and introduce them at each village they visit. Courtesy BRAC Bangladesh

The Himmelfarb Library and the SMHS Office of Diversity and Inclusion will be hosting the National Library of Medicine (NLM) exhibit:  Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health.

Per the National Library of Medicine, Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health examines stories of the community groups that are making a difference in global health around the world. People are working on a wide range of issues—from community health to conflict, disease to discrimination. As we learn more about the challenges of the past, we join a growing community of people committed to global health. A revolution in global health is taking place—see this exhibition and learn more."

The exhibit will be located on the first floor of Himmelfarb Library from October 21 until November 20, 2019.  We hope you will visit!


NationalsCan supporting your local team (GO NATIONALS!) make you happier?

Examining the Potential Causal Relationship Between Sport Team Identification and Psychological Well-being by Daniel Wann uses past research and theory to develop a team identification model which suggests that high levels of identifying with a local supports team leads to positive psychological health.


Identifying with a distant sports team or being a fan in general doesn't provide significant well-being benefits.     Local team fans benefit from a larger social group, and "associations to other fans form the basis for a valuable connection to society at large and serve as a buffer to loneliness, isolation, and so forth."


You can read more about this topic by searching databases such as SPORTDiscus and PsycINFO which are available in Himmelfarb Library's collections.


Image citation: Fagen, A. (2009). Nationals Park.  Retrieved from:

qsen1The American Journal of Nursing is hosting a free webinar on QSEN in an Amazon World on Wednesday October 16, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET.

More than an acronym, the specific knowledge, skills and attitudes of QSEN (Quality and Safety for Nurses) assist nurses and their interprofessional partners to continuously improve the quality and safety of the healthcare systems in which they work.

Join Jane Barnsteiner, PhD, RN, FAAN and Joanne Disch, PhD, RN, FAAN, two of the developers of QSEN, as they discuss the competencies required for professional practice. They will compare and contrast the values and practices of Amazon, known for delivering accurate, individualized, and efficient service, with current best practices implemented by health care settings and schools of nursing to ensure high quality safe care.


GW faculty Dr. Y. Tony Yang recently published an opinion piece in JAMA Pediatrics on vaccine misinformation on social media and the government’s role in regulating its spread. He and his coauthors Dr. David Broniatowski (of the GW School of Engineering and Applied Science) and Dr. Dorit Rubenstein Reiss examine the current legal landscape and weigh First Amendment concerns with the public interest in maintaining a well-vaccinated public.
They argue that private social media companies, government agencies, and public health officials all need to work in tandem on combating the spread of vaccine misinformation. Ultimately, they call for additional research to get to the root of why there is a demand for vaccine misinformation in order to best counter its spread and help correct misinformation that is already in the public sphere.
Yang YT, Broniatowski DA, Reiss DR. Government Role in Regulating Vaccine Misinformation on Social Media Platforms. JAMA Pediatr. Published online September 03, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.2838


Image citation: Toddler about to receive a vaccine from a doctor. Retrieved 09/30/2019 from

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