NIH News Release
National Library of Medicine

Friday, October 5, 2001

Contact: Robert Mehnert
Kathleen Cravedi
(301) 496-6308

ArcticHealth: A New Website for the Polar Regions

(Bethesda, Md.) — Special populations have special health needs. Do they also have special needs for health information?

The National Library of Medicine believes they do, and it has created a Web site aimed at the special needs of the inhabitants of the Arctic. ArcticHealth, as it is called, provides access to evaluated health information from hundreds of local, state, national, and international agencies, as well as from professional societies and universities. The new site has sections devoted to chronic diseases, behavioral issues, traditional medicine, environment/pollution, and environmental justice.

According to Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., the Library's Director: "For the last several years we have been connecting Native American communities in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest to the Internet. Now the communities in the far north — the hospitals, clinics, libraries, and remote villages — will have a Web site devoted to those health issues of most concern to them."

The Library has in the last three years created several Web-based information services that serve the broad public directly. MEDLINEplus and are two notable resources that together are receiving more than 50 million page hits per year. ArcticHealth was created for a much narrower audience. It is the first in what may become of series of health information Web sites for special populations and the health professionals who serve them.

Having created the site, the National Library of Medicine plans to work with the Regional Medical Library at the University of Washington in Seattle to have ArcticHealth hosted and maintained by a university already working with issues important to the Arctic region.

The Web address of ArcticHealth is

The National Library of Medicine, a component of the National Institutes of Health, is home of one of the first Federal Web sites, created in 1994. The Library is the largest such institution in the world, and much of its collection is accessible through its site at