HSDA believes that sharing the success and accomplishments of our members helps us to build a strong network from which we can all benefit. Whether big or small, we can learn from each other. If you have something you would like us to share, we want to hear from you. Email us!
HPC Library Management Service

NorthBay Healthcare Fills Gap with Medical Research & Library Service from Hilton Publishing

HPC deployed their Medical Research & Library Service to help NorthBay Healthcare review its library research subscriptions, and ensure they had the right combination of resources to meet the needs of its staff, at the lowest cost.  It's a helpful tool for any healthcare provider, because this service can be established quickly to conduct ongoing research, in the rapidly changing areas of the COVID-19 pandemic and all related topics.  To find out more, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

HPC stepped in on short notice to assist us with reviewing our library subscriptions prior to the renewal deadlines.  Our assigned HPC librarian identified a subscription where our pricing appeared high.  She negotiated a price reduction on our behalf of nearly 50% versus what we were paying. 

Going forward, our healthcare system will also be utilizing the Library Services from HPC to provide evidence based literature needed by our clinical teams.  This will free up our clinicians from this time consuming responsibility, so we can focus on our patients.  I have already heard back from one of our program managers who told me that our assigned HPC librarian helped save him hours of literature search time to find evidence for a clinical question he had.  The HPC librarian was able to retrieve 10 articles within only 2 days on a topic that he thought there wasn’t a lot of evidence available.

We have not had a medical librarian in our organization for a few years and it was a gap that we have been wanting to fill.  I have been so happy and grateful for their services!

Elisa J.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
NorthBay Healthcare - CA


ZRG Medical: Announcing New Team Member, Sydney Humes

2020 has already brought an abundance of change—a new decade, a world population united by a pandemic, and a cry louder than ever for affordable healthcare services.

With these new circumstances, ZRG Medical is on a mission to provide affordable healthcare to those in need. By assisting more hospitals manage their excess medical products and devices, we can extend the life of equipment and offer it at a more accessible rate.

As a result of ZRG's rapid expansion in providing hospital liquidation services, we are welcoming a new team member—Sydney Humes as Business Development Director.

Sydney is joining our team with an existing foundation in the healthcare industry and is familiar with the level of service our community has come to expect. As the new lead for our acquisition team, Sydney will extend her high standard of service to new prospects and existing clients alike, paving the way for more diverse suppliers to enter the field.


Join us in Atlanta on August 30 – September 1, 2020 at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center for the 5th Annual National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2020.

Event Details

NMMS 2020 Summit Sponsors

Discover the latest innovative market trends, pitch your products to large corporations, learn new strategies and methods from manufacturing experts and convene with leading Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) manufacturers during the National MBE Manufacturers Summit (NMMS) 2020

Engage with corporations, OEMs and government agencies to establish relationships for business opportunities.

Experience the Innovation Pod Showcase powered by the future, as technology companies reveal cutting-edge products and bots designed to optimize your processes and systems.

Explore top-of-the-line manufacturing plants and identify ways to improve your supply chain through the Manufacturing Technology Tour.

Expose your company to a national audience by participating in the annual Poster Walk Competition.



The Atlanta Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Advanced Manufacturing Center will host the first NEXTTECH 2020 Pitch Day at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta on May 19, 2020.

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We’ve identified corporations and federal agencies who have a specific need or challenge to overcome. Decision makers are seeking businesses with a market-ready technology, product or service that can address their challenges. NEXTTECH 2020 Pitch Day will match Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) to these decision makers. 

Next Tech 2020 VR man

ELIGIBILITY: To qualify, MBEs must own a technology, product or market-ready service and have the capacity to address the needs of participating corporations and federal agencies.

Are you interested in participating in NEXTTECH 2020 Pitch Day?

MBEs, corporations and agencies interested in participating in NEXTTECH 2020 Pitch Day may apply at NEXTTECHPitch.com.

MBE applications are being accepted until April 15, 2020.

HIDA Establishes New Supplier Diversity Council

Congratulations to HIDA, Andrea-Reubel Walker of Kerma Medical Products and Mara Maddocks of MAC Medical for establishing the new Supplier Diversity Council

--- Alexandria, VA --- The Health Industry Distributors Association is pleased to announce the formation of the Supplier Diversity Council, a new group providing networking and learning opportunities for diverse distributors, manufacturers, and other supply chain partners.

Andrea Reubel Walker

Andrea Reubel-Walker
Kerma Medical Products

Mara Maddocks MAC Medical

Mara Maddocks
MAC Medical

“This new council will facilitate the exchange of ideas and communication among distributors, manufacturers, GPOs, and IDNs to help address key issues unique to supply businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, and members of the LGBTQ community,” said council co-chairs Andrea Ruebel-Walker with Kerma Medical Products and Mara Maddocks with MAC Medical.

“HIDA is committed to supporting supplier diversity,” said HIDA President & CEO Matt Rowan. “This new council creates a networking forum for the diverse supplier community, further strengthening our nation’s supply chain.”

The council’s charter meeting will be held in March during HIDA’s Executive Conference, an event for leaders involved in healthcare distribution, manufacturing, group purchasing, and related services.

Source: https://www.hida.org/hida/news/press_releases/distribution/news/press-releases/HIDA-Establishes-New-Supplier-Diversity-Council.aspx

A Unique Artificial Intelligence (AI) Powered Collaborative Resource Planning Platform for Supplier Diversity Programs


LOCOMeX annouces DivedIn: a cloud-based collaborative diversity resource planner platform with artificial intelligence (AI), data integration and blockchain solutions for small businesses & diverse suppliers to maintain competitiveness in the digital age.

Think of DivedIn as a Software As a Service (SaaS) supplier diversity platform solution for developing and implementing diverse supplier spend planning and tracking. This tool can be use for both Tier 1 & Tier 2 annual program goal setting, spend analytics and compliance & utilization reporting.

The platform offers a comprehensive suite of functionalities/features such as B2B2G Marketplace, Digital Matchmaker, Portal, Diversity & COPEX Planner, Invoice Tracker, RFP Creator, Team & BAFO Optimizer, Blockchain-based Contract Management Hub, Integration Gateways, etc. to optimize small & diverse businesses market share and profitability in the healthcare sector.

LOCOMeX's mission is to provide an innovative cloud-based platform using artificial intelligence, blockchain, data integration and digital content sharing, to small business & diverse supplier enterprise ecosystem.

HPC Announces Enhancement to Books, Magazines and Publications Service

hilton publishing
HPC is proud to announce the launch of their new Books, Magazines & Publications PRIME Service (Savings Assurance Program).  HPC already uses GPO contracted pricing to lower overall costs by 6-12% versus current spend for virtually any type of published content such as books, magazines, patient education, textbooks, medical coding books, clinical study aids, certification course materials, anatomical charts, and countless other publications for hospitals, caregivers, and patients.

In addition to overall savings, HPC launched the new PRIME Service which provides additional line item review of quoted items to ensure the most competitive pricing is provided item by item. To learn more about HPC’s new PRIME Service, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Dir of Business Development.

Bernard J. Tyson Image Credit: REUTERS/ Lucy Nicholson

HSDA Recognizes Inspired Leadership: Bernard Tyson

A sign of confident, inspirational leadership is making good things happen for other people. Bernard Tyson manifested the concept of inspired leadership through his active involvement as co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Health Governors Community, serving on the boards of the American Heart Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the International Federal of Health Plans and so much more.

Bernard J Tyson
Image: World Economic Forum

These are all, indisputably, very laudable achievements.  However, in recent reflections of the life and influence of Mr. Tyson, it is clear that the most profound and everlasting legacy of Mr. Tyson is how he deliberately used who he was, his intelligence, his visibility, his position, his influence, to make things better and how this impacted individuals as well as institutions. HSDA notes, as President of Kaiser Permanente, Mr. Tyson’s vocal support of the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010. He did not shrink from the controversy but chose instead to endeavor to make things better for other people, those struggling to acquire healthcare insurance. 

HSDA, as an organization comprised of executives in healthcare, committed to exploring and executing substantial improvements in the levels of supplier diversity, acknowledge the excellence and legacy of Mr. Tyson; and reaffirm our commitment to make things better for capable, committed diverse suppliers endeavoring to understand how to build companies in the transformation of the healthcare industry.  For us, Mr. Tyson was and through his legacy, will continue to be, a beacon of light, that continues to illuminate, as we chronicle his rise from entering as an intern, to becoming Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. Mr. Tyson, along the way, made clear through his everyday actions, and interactions with people, his determination and proclivity to leave things better than he found them. It is this, that inspires HSDA to acknowledge Bernard Tyson as an incredible person and an impactful leader.

IBEX IT Business Experts and CEO Tracey Grace honored with Diversity Awards


IBEX IT Business Experts was honored with the Earl G. Reubel Diverse Enterprise of the Year Award at the 2019 Earl G. Reubel Awards ceremony, which were presented on November 7, at a gala dinner hosted by Owens & Minor and Kerma Medical Products in Richmond, VA. The annual awards event recognize healthcare industry leaders — individuals and organizations — who advocate for diversity and inclusion within the healthcare supply chain.

The Earl G. Reubel Diverse Enterprise of the Year Award is given to a healthcare supplier delivering differentiated value as a minority-, woman-, veteran (disabled)-, or disabled-owned business enterprise (MWVBE). The 2019 honoree, IBEX IT Business Experts, is an Atlanta- based minority- and women-owned IT training and solutions small business led by Tracey Grace, President and CEO. IBEX created a Supplier Diversity Management System that helped UPMC Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to increase its diversity spend; bringing a diverse vendor base to a community health system.

Grace was also recognized in November by the Greater Women's Business Council (GWBC) as a 2019 LACE (Ladies Achieving Continuous Excellence) Trailblazer Award recipient (Category III). The GWBC announced the award winners at its annual LACE Awards Gala on Nov. 8 at the St. Regis hotel in Atlanta. This annual Black-tie event recognizes outstanding corporate partners and women business enterprises (WBEs) for their commitment and contributions in supporting women-owned businesses. The Trailblazer award recipients are selected based upon being a pillar in their community, contributing their time and talent with a proven track record of mentoring, partnerships, volunteerism and supporting other WBEs.

Earl G Reubel Awards 2019 Civic Leader of the Year Winner, Gil Minor, III

Owens & Minor Celebrates the 2019 Earl G. Reubel Award Winners

Healthcare Industry Leaders Recognized for their Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Owens & Minor is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Earl G. Reubel Awards, which were presented on Thursday evening, November 7, at a gala dinner hosted by Owens & Minor and Kerma Medical Products in Richmond, Virginia. The annual awards recognize healthcare industry leaders — individuals and organizations — who advocate for diversity and inclusion within the healthcare supply chain.

The Earl G. Reubel Awards, created by Owens & Minor in 2012, are given in three healthcare industry categories: Civic Leadership, Diversity Enterprise and Large Corporate Leadership. The awards are named in honor of the late Earl G. Reubel, the brilliant entrepreneur who built Kerma Medical Products into one of the largest veteran-, minority-owned medical supply companies in the country, and one of Owens & Minor’s largest minority suppliers for over 30 years.

This year’s recipients are the following:

The Earl G. Reubel Civic Leader of the Year Award: G. Gilmer Minor III, the retired Board Chairman and CEO of Owens & Minor (shown above)
EarlGReubel Awards 2019 Diverse Enterprise of the Year Winner IBEX IT

The Earl G. Reubel Diverse Enterprise of the Year Award: IBEX IT of Atlanta, Georgia, a minority- and women-owned small business led by Tracey Grace, President and CEO
Earl G Reubel Awards Jackson Health 2019

The Earl G. Reubel Large Corporation of the Year Award: Jackson Health System, a nonprofit academic medical system in Miami, Florida

Click here to learn about the winners and read the full press release on our website.

HPC's Announces New Supplier Agreement with Acurity

hilton publishing HPC

HPC proudly announces its brand new regionally enhanced supplier agreement (effective August 2019) with Acurity, a wholly owned subsidiary of GNYHA and close partner of the Premier group purchasing organization. Founded in 1996 and headquartered near Chicago, Illinois, HPC will provide members of Acurity access to 3 core product and service offerings that each promote education, drive savings within the healthcare supply chain, and support supplier diversity initiatives.

  • Books, Magazines & Other Publications: Members can purchase all the books, e-books, magazines, patient education, textbooks, medical coding books, clinical study aids, certification course materials, anatomical charts and other publications they need for their hospitals, clinics, urgent care centers and other medical facilities. HPC offers a one-stop shop experience for healthcare organizations to buy any type of content from any publisher they need through a single source, so that every item can be purchased through one trusted supplier at special discounted prices.
  • Association & Conference Concierge Service: Much like a corporate travel agency managing an organization’s spend on airfare and other travel expenses, HPC’s Association & Conference Concierge Service manages an organization’s spend on education-related purchases like professional association memberships, corporate subscriptions, conferences and other continuing education expenses. HPC provides a dedicated team to create a centralized process for the entire organization, taking individual requests from professional staff who have an upcoming education expense and then negotiating prices with vendors, overseeing internal expense approvals and processing payment to vendors. Most health systems spend well into the millions of dollars every year on these types of educational expenses. And yet, because of payment delays, confusing decentralized processes and too much paperwork, most health systems suffer from an inefficient unmanaged system that leads to headaches for staff and overspending year after year. HPC’s program reduces these costs one transaction at a time to produce significant savings for the organization, while at the same time integrating simpler centralized processes and eliminating time-consuming hassles for your professional employees and caregivers so they can get what they need quickly and painlessly.
  • Evidence-based Research & On-Demand Medical Library Services: HPC provides a wide range of clinical research and medical library-related services to members to promote improved caregiver access to evidence-based content and to support evidence-based practice in nursing, medicine and supply chain. Whether it’s having HPC manage your library budget and annual subscription renewals, or relying on HPC’s experienced medical librarians to provide on-call research support to your caregivers 7 days a week, or providing your supply chain with easy-to-understand evidence on complex medical device purchases, or completely outsourcing the management and oversight of your medical library to HPC in a more cost-effective virtual library model – HPC customizes service for each and every member we serve to support you wherever you need the extra help.

Contact HPC today to learn more: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (219)922-4868, www.hiltonpub.com.

IBEX Unveils New Supplier Diversity VMS at WBENC

IBEX IT Business ExpertsCertifiably Diverse

Atlanta-based IBEX IT Business Experts has unveiled to the public the pre-launch of their highly anticipated supplier diversity vendor management system, Certifiably Diverse. As an exhibitor at the Women's Business Enterprise National Council’s (WBENC) Annual Conference in June, IBEX introduced booth visitors to the new system with wide acclaim from both prospective buyers and suppliers alike. IBEX is an African-American, woman-owned IT solutions and delivery firm.

Originally developed for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), Certifiably Diverse is a cloud-based supply chain management solution that advances and transforms supplier diversity commitments into a scalable and results-driven platform. “Thanks to the mentorship and partnership of UPMC, we have built a best-in-class system that will meet the needs of both new and mature supplier diversity programs alike,” said Tracey Grace, president and chief executive officer of IBEX.

#HSDAforDiversity on Social Media

hashtag graphic

Hashtags create great visibility for a campaign, and help you reach your target audience by using relevant hashtags that you know your audience is already following. When used to promote an event, the hashtag not only connects you with your followers, but your followers with each other. When HSDA Members share commentary or their photos with the #HSDAforDiversity on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, they are expanding their content reach, amplifying their brand, targeting their market, getting your content found, improve their SEO, and more. And, if you are not already following #HSDAforDiversity on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, please do so today!  It’s a great way to see what our organization is up to, besides our newsletter.

Premier and Print Media Celebrate 20 Years

Robert Gonzalez at 2019 Premier Breakthroughsprimiere print media 20 years

On June 17th, the Premier Supplier Diversity Committee held its “8th Annual Supplier Forum”  – allowing small and diverse suppliers (active contracted suppliers) an opportunity to spend a day with the members on the committee.  This year was particular special because Premier is celebrating 20 years of supplier diversity initiatives! Along the way, Premier has provided many small and diverse suppliers the opportunity to partner and support their efforts to continually lead the way in healthcare innovation – approximately 390 diverse contracts currently in place. Print Media is extremely proud that we were Premier’s very first awarded diverse supplier, and that we were given an opportunity to share our story and provide a testimonial for a supplier diversity strategy during this year’s forum.

NMSDC President/CEO Adrienne Trimble Testifies Before U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion

Adrienne Trimble, President and CEO of NMSDC, will testify Wednesday before the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, on a panel of three diversity professionals discussing "Good for the Bottom Line: A Review of the Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion."

The testimony is scheduled to be televised live Wednesday on CSPAN from 2:00 PM-3:30 PM (EDT).

A part of the House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH).

This hearing represents Trimble's first opportunity to speak before Congress as NMSDC's President and CEO.

Her address to the subcommittee will reinforce the bottom-line value of the business case for diversity and inclusion, and advocate for NMSDC's unique position to partner with the subcommittee in developing and strengthening the government's support for diversity and inclusion strategies, as well as advocacy for minority business solutions.

Impact Consulting Enterprises Celebrates 30 Years & Partners with RWJBarnabas Health

Impact Consulting 30 years of service

Impact Consulting logoImpact Consulting Enterprises is celebrating 30 years in business and, we ae happy to report that we have been contracted by RWJBarnabas Health System to provide diverse marketing, advertising, website and communication bench support for their Social Impact Community Investment practice.

Our partnership with RWJBarnabas Health began with consultation on a spadea to promote the organization’s Social Impact Community Investment efforts through this high-impact marketing vehicle which wrapped around six different Sunday newspaper editions in New Jersey.  Click here for details: https://www.eimpactconsulting.com/rwjbarnabas-impact/

Sharon Reynolds of DevMar Products, LLC Featured Cover Story on MBE Magazine

Cover Story Sharon Reynolds DevMar

Rock Star: Making a Difference

Sharon Reynolds continues a family legacy of achievement, excellence, and entrepreneurship.

For years, scientists and gov­ernment officials have warned the public about threats to the environment because of the rapidly growing population's consumption of limited natural resources and, instead, en­couraged the use of eco-friendly products. As a result, many companies have opted out of developing products that contain harsh or toxic chemicals that may harm the planet and consumers; they've chosen, instead, to devel­op environmentally friendly products. Sharon Reynolds, president and CEO of DevMar Products, LLC in Nashville, Tennessee, has grown her company to be one of the leaders in providing environmentally friendly cleaning and safety products to help sustain the planet for future generations.
DevMar Products (a hybrid of Reynolds' two sons' names-Devin and DeMarco), distributes high-quality janitorial and san­itary supplies to companies for healthier work environments for employees, staff, and patients.

Before launching DevMar Products, in 2007, Reynolds, a fifth-generation Nashvillian, enjoyed a very successful 16-year career as a real estate broker. She was one of the youngest African-American owners of a prominent mortgage company at age 26, eventually becoming one of the top real estate brokers in Nashville and a relocation specialist for major corporations. Unfortunately, the real estate market crash during the Great Recession forced her to switch careers.  "This whole economy was about to go under. So, I really had to reinvent myself. I said, 'Okay, so what is it that I can do,"' she says.

She didn't have to look far for an idea. Reynolds' husband, DeMarco, Sr., owns a janitorial and facilities management company, operating in four states. She recognized that there was a lot of momentum toward environmental sustainability and protecting the environment in that industry. So, she approached her husband with the idea to provide his company, Reynolds & Reynolds Facility Services, with environmentally responsible cleaning supplies.

"I had some pushback [from him] because he said, 'You're a young distributor and you're going to have to actually go to larger distributors to be able to provide the products that I need. I'm going to pay more, which will impact my bottom line,"' she recalls. "He was just like any other customer and I had to make sure that he wasn't going to pay more."

Shortly after, Reynolds was awarded her first major contract with the Metro Nashville Airport Authority. When the airport authority announced that the bid, required 20 percent diversity participation, Reynolds approached American Paper and Twine Co. (AP& T), who'd held the contract for 15 years, about partnering.

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AMD's Agrawal appointed to Board of Advisors – Coalition for Government Procurement

logo AMD 2019

MIRAMAR, Fla. - March 1, 2019 - PRLog -- American Medical Depot (AMD) announces the appointment of President, Akhil K. Agrawal to the Coalition for Government Procurement Board of Advisors.

Roger Waldron, President of the Coalition for Government Procurement said, "As a member of the Coalition's Board of Advisors, Mr. Agrawal will advise the Coalition on issues of interest to its membership, particularly those involved in the Federal healthcare marketplace. In addition. Mr. Agrawal will provide invaluable insights that will help shape the Coalition's policy priorities, membership opportunities, and organizational direction. The Coalition is very fortunate to include Akhil as a member of the Board of Advisors. He is widely recognized as a leading industry expert, and we are so excited to begin working with Akhil in his new capacity."

Prior to establishing AMD, a technology-driven Medical/Surgical Supply and Equipment distribution company serving commercial and federal acute care hospitals since 1993, Mr. Agrawal served in the Banking Industry in various capacities and held numerous positions of responsibility.

Mr. Agrawal served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA), currently serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Health Industry Distributors Association, President of the Board of Directors of the National Healthcare Alliance; member of the Governor of the State of Florida's Healthcare Policy Team, and served as the co-leader of the Department of Health Transition Team. He is a Founding Board member and Chairman of the Education and Research Committee of the Healthcare Supplier Diversity Alliance (HSDA), and has served on the US Small Business Administration's National Advisory Council (NAC) Executive Committee, the State of Florida Council for Efficient Government, the Board of Directors of Indian-American Republican Council, and is active in numerous other professional and civic organizations and corporate boards serving in leadership capacities.


About AMD

American Medical Depot (AMD) is a leading healthcare supply chain solutions company based in Miramar, FL that uses technology and insight to provide smarter ways for clients to manage medical supplies and equipment utilization within complex healthcare supply chains. Having provided innovative supply chain solutions to healthcare providers for more than 25 years, AMD continually executes proven value-add models, combined with deep industry experience and strong leadership. For more information visit www.amdnext.com, or follow us on Facebook (AMDNext), LinkedIn (AMD-solutions), or Twitter (AMD_NEXT).

About the Coalition for Government Procurement

The Coalition was founded in 1979 to advocate a common sense approach to government contracting. The Coalition is the only organization specifically representing the well-being of government contractors whose contracts are administered by GSA, regardless of the industry or size of the company. With over 240-member companies, the coalition represents more than $145 billion of services and products sold to the Federal Government each year. For more information on the Coalition, membership events and opportunities, visit the Coalition's website http://www.thecgp.org.


Strategic Operational Savings for Prominent Healthcare Institution


The one image that occurred to our East Coast healthcare client as they contemplated the condition of their medical library was “junk drawer.” Disorganized, costly, unevenly supplied and staffed, they turned to HPC’s Library Management Service (LMS) to help make their library into the “toolbox” it needed to be for their medical staff, residents, and patients.

Each year this institution, which includes a prominent university medical center, sees about 13,000 patient admissions and employs a medical staff of 1,100 along with 260 residents. The library supports the entire health system and is housed at the university medical center. A highly functioning and efficient library is paramount to patient care and staff success.

HPC’s service began with a top-to-bottom analysis of their library with a focus on:

  • measuring their current spend and annual budget
  • valuing the amount and status of pending payments and open invoices
  • understanding the needs of stakeholders who most utilized the library
  • identifying staffing requirements to manage the library
  • cataloging their existing collection, understanding the utilization of content, and gathering information for future content needs

HPC initially made a series of recommendations to the health system that would improve the operational management of the library, provide a full-time remote medical librarian, and resolve media, subscription content, and other resource issues uncovered during the initial analysis. In addition, we developed a new web portal for user search requests.