Students from the following schools are invited to attend InterProfessional Student Advisory Gatherings (#IPSAG): School of Dental Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine (both M.D. and BGS), School of Nursing, and School of Veterinary Medicine. In addition, any students from the other Penn schools who are interested in working in health care settings, conducting biomedical-related research, or pursuing other health-related careers are welcome to participate. Wellness at Penn considers #IPSAG an example of Social Wellness. To learn more about #IPSAG, please read the #IPSAG Charge. For additional resources, check out the Health Sciences Student Resources Guide.
Subscribe to the Biotech Commons's blog, Biomeditations to for the latest information on events and other news.
Input in Library Resources & Services:
Through feedback collected from the Center for Public Health Initiatives and various student groups at Penn, the Biotech Commons opened a Relaxation Room in the newly reopened Stemmler side of the library in late October 2018. The Relaxation Room is a quiet space intended for folks to take a break from studying and other stressful things. You are welcome to stretch on the yoga mats, do chair yoga, color, write positive thoughts, listen to soothing music, do a puzzle, squeeze a stress ball, and/or play with a fidget spinner! In addition, the Biotech Commons is looking for feedback about the Relaxation Room, so please continue to add suggestions to the Relaxation Room Wish List.
On Thursday September 9th, 2021, 13 people registered to "Meet Your STEM LIbrarians" virtually on Kumospace, a web-based community building platform.
On Monday April 12th, 2021, 4 university staff and students registered for the IPSAG Health Tea & Coffee Chat in observation of the Spring 2021 Engagement Day.
On Monday January 25th, 2021, 20 students and university staff members attended "Together in Gather.Town", which was held in the Penn Libraries Gather.Town, a virtual community site with various types of meeting, networking, group study, and wellness spaces. During the event, attendees got a tour of Gather.Town and participated in team-based Kahoot trivia challenge. This event was co-sponsored by Penn Nursing.
9 people including staff from Penn Libraries and students from Penn Medicine, Penn Dental, Penn Vet, and Penn SAS Pre-Health registered for the Virtual Kahoot Olympics was held on Monday October 19th, 2020.
On September 9th, 2020 at 12pm, Penn Libraries, Alpha Iota Gamma (Penn’s first and only professional healthcare fraternity) and Synapse (Penn’s undergraduate student-run medical journal) hosted a virtual lunch-time conversation about the responsibility of health sciences students during the COVID-19 pandemic. 56 students from SAS, Vet, Dental, Wharton, SEAS, and Nursing registered for compelling discussions, led by Penn Libraries staff members.
On Thursday Jan 16th, 2020, 73 people from Dental, Vet, Nursing, PSOM, and SEAS registered for the #IPSAG Welcome Back Lunch held at the Dental Library. Students played games and mingled with each other as well as staff from the Biomedical, Dental, Vet, and Chemistry Libraries. Students learned about the 3D printing service available at the Biotech Commons.
On Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2019, 72 people from PSOM, SON, SEAS, Design, Dental, and more registered for the #IPSAG Mid-Semester Lunch, where students had the opportunity to play health or library-related card and board games with staff from the Biotech Commons and Dental Library. Some students asked questions about using the 3D printers, virtual anatomy tools, and other Penn Libraries resources.
On August 27th, the Biotech Commons held its Fall 2019 Welcome (Back) Lunch. 176 students from PSOM, Vet, Dental, SON, SEAS, and SAS expressed interested in attending this event to mingle with library staff from the Science & Business Libraries Division. During the event, students talked about the goals for the semester and for their careers along with concerns about the winter weather. Students also asked about Penn Libraries services, spaces, and resources.
On Tuesday April 30th, 2019 from 11:30am to 1:30pm at the University Club, Aman hosted a group of 10 students representing SEAS, Dental, and PSOM for a "Lunch with a Librarian." The students talked about career ambitions, hobbies, families, finance, healthcare provider burnout, academic wellness, national board exams, technologies, housing, and job-seeking. The dental students are particularly interested in collaborating with the vet students. There were comments about needing access to software applications outside of desktops available at the Biotech Commons and outside of labs. Students were also interested in learning about the day in the life of a librarian and how one becomes a librarian.
On Tuesday March 19th, 2019 from 12pm to 2pm, the Biotech Commons hosted the #IPSAG Health Sciences Lunch. 76 people from SEAS, PSOM, SON, SAS, Wharton, and Vet registered for this networking event geared towards students interested in health-related careers. A first-year medical student presented about Walk With a Future Doc. Students were invited to participate in a feedback activity that involved suggesting ideas that would then be up and down-voted by their peers.
On Friday January 18th, 2019 from 12pm to 2pm, the Biotech Commons hosted the #IPSAG Welcome Back Lunch. 126 people from SEAS, PSOM, SON, SAS, SP2, Wharton, and Vet registered for this networking event geared towards students interested in health-related careers. Library staff mingled with students to learn about students' needs and wants regarding library spaces and services that can support their academic and non-academic interests. Several students mentioned the difficulty of finding a quiet 24/7 study space both on and off campus.
On Tuesday December 11th, 2018 from 12pm to 2pm, the Biotech Commons hosted the #IPSAG Lunch Break, in which students provided feedback about the upcoming renovation. 47 students from PSOM, SON, SEAS, Wharton, and SAS registered and/or attended the lunch. The students discussed needs and wants for quiet, collaborative, and wellness spaces.
On October 30th, 2018, 44 people from across campus (PSOM, SAS, SEAS, Dental, Wharton, Vet, and more) registered for the Tech 'n' Treat Lunch in the Biotech Commons Conference Room, in which attendees were encouraged to provide feedback about technologies that they would like to see available at the Biomedical, Vet, and Dental Libraries. Rashmi Kumar from the Weingarten Learning Resources Center also stopped by to get feedback about a new study tips campaign, in partnership with the Vet Libraries. Also, attendees got a tour of the Biotech Commons's new Relaxation Room, which was set up with almost exclusively via student feedback.
On Wednesday August 29th, 2018, #IPSAG held its 2nd Annual Welcome (Back) Lunch at the Biotech Commons. 79 students, staff, and faculty members presenting PSOM, SEAS, SON, Vet, SAS, Wharton, Dental, and Penn Health-Tech registered for the lunch, which was held in the newly renovated space on the Stemmler side of the Biotech Commons. Students talked about their programs, courses, summer plans, study spaces, research experiences, software needs, and e-journal needs. Students were able to get a tour of the Biotech Commons's makerspace. Staff from Penn Health-Tech discussed upcoming interdisciplinary opportunities for students including the Penn Health-Tech Student Ambassadors and Rothber Catalyzer Makerthon.
On Thursday March 26th, 2018, IPSAG partnered with Penn Health-Tech and the School of Nursing to hold #ExtremeByDesign at Class of 1978 Pavilion in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. About 35 students, staff, faculty, and alum from SON, SEAS, PSOM, Wharton, Penn Design, SAS, Vet, and PCI along with clinicians from CHOP and external visitors watched Extreme By Design, a documentary that focuses on health sciences, engineering, business, and design graduate students who are taking an interdisciplinary service learning course at Stanford. In this course, the students use design thinking skills to design and build prototypes for low-cost devices that address health and environmental problems they observe abroad.
Following the documentary screening, there was an interdisciplinary panel co-moderated by Aman (the Community Health & Engineering Librarian) and Marion Leary (SON/PSOM). The panelists were:
Ocek Eke (SEAS)
Pamela Cacchione (SON)
Brian Litt (PSOM, SEAS, and Penn Health-Tech)
Karen Meador (Wharton alum)
Sarah Rottenberg (Penn Design and SEAS)
They discussed their overall impressions of the documentary, their experiences in interdisciplinary teams, and similar opportunities at Penn.
Following the panel discussion, undergraduate engineering students, Erica, Julia, and Kate, discussed their impressions of the documentary and experiences in service learning courses at Penn. Afterwards, there were light refreshments served. For a complete list of credentials of the panelists, students, and co-moderators, visit https://www.smore.com/e8mj7.
On Monday February 26, 2018, IPSAG partnered with the Student Healthcare Alliance at PEnn (SHAPE), OneHealth, GAPSA, the Medical Student Government, and the School of Nursing Student Government to hold an event titled "Opioid Crisis: Interdisciplinary Perspectives" in the Fagin Hall Auditorium. About 120 students from PSOM, SON, Vet, and SP2 registered for this event. Faculty presenting PSOM, SON, and PennVet discussed the opioid crisis from their points of view as health sciences professionals.
The IPSAG BodyViz Demo was held on Monday February 5th, 2018 in the Biotech Commons Conference Room. There were about 15 people in attendance including several folks from Penn Libraries, a faculty member from the School of Nursing, and dental and med students. Everyone provided the BodyViz representative feedback on the immersive anatomy and virtual dissection tool. This feedback will help the Biomedical, Vet, and Dental Libraries decide whether or not to purchase BodyViz or similar tools.
The Spring 2018 IPSAG Virtual Reality Anatomy Demo & Lunch was held on Tuesday January 16th in the Biotech Commons Conference Room. There were 30 people in attendance including students and faculty representing Vet, PSOM, Dental Schools along with other health sciences-related programs throughout Penn. Students provided feedback on the Visible Body app, videos, and modules. This feedback will help the Biomedical, Vet, and Dental Libraries decide whether or not to purchase the app.
On October 31st from 12pm to 1:30pm, 25 student representing Vet, PSOM, and SON attended the IPSAG Halloween Lunch at the Hill Pavilion, the home of the Vet School Library. Students focused their discussion on OneHealth, the intersection of environmental, animal, and human health. Students also provided suggestions on how to increase increase across the schools via interactive activities and other learning experiences at the Biotech Commons.
24 students attended the Fall 2017 IPSAG Welcome (Back) Lunch held on Sept 6th in the Biotech Commons Conference Room. The students represented CAS/SAS, Vet, Nursing, PSOM, and Dental. The students met 8 health sciences librarians from the STEM Libraries as well as Dr. Rosemary Polomano, a faculty from the School of Nursing who teaches the popular interprofessional course on Pain. The group discussed summer experiences including research/clinical experiences, courses, internships, travel, and exam prep. Some students commented on the library services including:
2 graduate students attended the Spring 2017 IPSAG Meeting held on April 5th in the Biotech Commons Conference Room. The students represented SAS, the Vet School, and PSOM. The students met with health sciences librarians and Dr. Gregg Lipschik, the Coordinator of InterProfessional Education at PSOM. The group discussed interprofessionalism at Penn in both curriculuar and extracurricular ways. For example, the One Health Initiative provides research funding and lectures geared towards Vet, Med, and Public Health students. Med and BGS students mingle at social events. Health sciences PhD students are encouraged to take courses in each other's programs. There is a lot of overlapping coursework that future clinicians should take together. Some academic buildings restrict access to those only students, staff, and faculty within certain programs and schools, so it can be hard for students to attend events outside of their programs.
The group also talked about how graduate students who are participating in research activities would be available for IPSAG breakfasts in Fall 2017. However, the timing may not work out for all students. Students have classes throughout the day. IPSAG may also change its name in the future to be more inclusive.
During the second half of the meeting, students provided feedback on the proposed Biotech Commons website such as including mouse-overs that provide additional information about library staff, databases, and widget sections. Students discussed using Browzine, Articles +, Franklin, and FindIt. Reserving a room and accessing the proxy were also things students did when going to the Biotech Commons website. Students will have two weeks to share the new design with other health sciences students and provide additional feedback to librarians.
7 students attended the Spring 2017 IPSAG Lightning Talks held on February 15th in the Biotech Commons Conference Room. Alfredo, a student and research coordinator, talked a virtual reality study that he is involved in. He is looking for more participants and partner organizations.
Rebecca, a library intern, discussed her experiences piloting a new library service in the School of Nursing, which led to a larger discussion about libraries, resources, and services. Students gave suggestions on how to strategically implement a satellite reference program (librarians setting up temporary reference desks outside of libraries).
We discussed that libraries are awesome study spaces. Librarians are in a great position to help students navigate Penn's many resources and services through one-on-one consultations, orientations, and workshops.
The Fall 2016 IPSAG Student Lightning Talks event was held on Wednesday November 9th. 4 students attended representing PSOM and the College. Students shared experiences regarding research projects and library usage. The BGS students discussed research projects along with software needs, thesis writing, data management, and database alerts. A BIBB student talked about the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) and collaborative study spaces. Students gave librarians feedback on book requests and workshop availability.
The Fall 2016 IPSAG Reception was held on Wednesday September 14th. 11 students attended representing Vet, Nursing, SAS, SEAS, & Wharton. Students shared summer experiences including mentoring students on campus, working in labs, interning around the world, and completing research projects. Students and librarians conversed about online classes, cool places to visit in Philadelphia, and changes in library spaces.
George Lin, a researcher from the Center of Resuscitation Science, shared information regarding a virtual reality study. If you are interested in learning more about the study, please email him at
How do you find research articles? Penn Libraries UX Testing Team Opportunity
The Penn Libraries User Experience Team is looking for up to 5 students to join a short online research study.
What: join a 10 minute Zoom session and tell us about your experience finding research articles online
When: sign up for a timeslot between 10/27 and 11/3
Why: your feedback will help design better online research support for students like you!
Interested in joining the Penn Libraries UX Testing Team for more opportunities like this? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Penn Walks 2 Wellness is a university-wide initiative that transforms on-campus wellness walks into informal networking and learning experiences. This initiative is jointly coordinated by the Penn Libraries and the Center for Public Health Initiatives. All Penn students, staff, and faculty are invited to participate. Learn more at https://www.cphi.upenn.edu/Weekly-Themed-Wellness-Walks.html.