Consumer Health

Information Pathfinder

The purpose of the Consumer Health Pathfinder is to provide resources to allow you to find medical and health information. We have included both print reference materials available for use at the library and a number of websites that provide information on specific diseases, medications, preventive health, and alternative medicine. There are many other sources for health information available online, however, not all are reliable. In order to assist you, the Medical Library Association provides a step-by-step guideline for making sure the health information you find on the internet is reliable at the Medical Library Association’s Find Good Health Information page.

General Health Databases

MedlinePlus: This National Institutes of Health site “brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand.”

National Library of Medicine Directories: Start your search for a doctor, dentist, facility or service here.

Health Care Division: A gateway to information on Massachusetts health care advocacy, enforcement, and consumer protection.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: Covers “Diseases & Conditions,” “Healthy Living,” “Traveler’s Health” and more.

Alternative Health

National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health: An “A to Z” list of topics.

Mother Earth News Natural Health Page: Information and advice on a healthy diet and natural medicine.

Diseases & Conditions

Mayo Clinic Diseases and Conditions Page: Comprehensive guides on hundreds of conditions.

National Association of Rare Diseases: A brief description of, and more importantly, links to organizations addressing rare diseases and conditions.

Drugs & Diet Supplements

Drug Information Portal: Quick access to quality drug information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Search by medical or common name or by category.

DailyMed: Information on over 46,000 marketed drugs including FDA labels and package inserts.

Dietary Supplements Labels Database: Information on label ingredients for more than 7,000 selected brands of dietary supplements, including a tool for comparing labels of different brands.

Mental Health

Al-Anon: Al-Anon offers help and support for alcoholics and their families.

National Eating Disorders Association: The NEDA Helpline is available Monday-Thursday from 9AM to 9PM ET, and Friday from 9AM to 5PM ET. Contact the Helpline for support, resources and treatment options for yourself or a loved one. This website also offers information about many different types of eating disorders.

National Institute of Mental Health: Learn about mental disorders. NIMH offers expert-reviewed information on mental disorders, a range of related topics, and the latest mental health research.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Environmental Health

Household Products Database: Health and safety information on household products including Auto, Arts & Crafts, Personal Care (including make-up), and Pet Care.

Academic Resources An excellent place to find out information on what clinical trials are, what to expect if you participate in one, and to find the results of clinical trials across the nation.

Health Reference Center Academic: This award-winning, multi-source database provides access to the full text of nursing and allied health journals, plus a wide variety of personal health information. You may need to use your library card to sign in.

PubMed: For academic information, use this U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health citation database of professional articles.

Reference Books

The library has physical reference books that contain health information. Books marked “REF” may not be checked out or removed from the library, but a reference librarian can help you locate and use these books in the Reading Room.

"Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment": Although it’s rather technical, this book provides useful information on medical tests. REF 616.075 CUR, E-book (available through catalog) 2016.

"Physician’s Desk Reference Prescription Drugs": This classic will tell you more than you need to know about any drug that you’ve been prescribed. REF 615.1 Phy 2017.

"Physician’s Desk Reference Nonprescription Drugs": Over-the-counter drugs get the PDR treatment. REF 615.105 PDR 2014.

These books are located in our stacks and can be checked out for use outside of the library. Click on the title to be redirected to the library catalog where you can reserve these items.

Magill’s Medical Guide: Covers diseases, disorders, treatments, procedures, specialties, anatomy, biology, and issues in an A-Z format, with sidebars addressing recent developments in medicine and concise information boxes for all diseases and disorders. In five volumes.

Complete Home Medical Guide: This reference on family medicine and health from the American College of Physicians encompasses the latest advances in medical science and technology as it discusses more than seven hundred diseases and disorders, their symptoms, and treatment options.


The following magazines are available in the library:
  • Health
  • Men’s Health
  • Prevention
  • Psychology Today
  • Web MD
  • Weight Watchers
  • Yoga Journal