February 17, 2018

Dean Giustini | Movers & Shakers 2009 – Tech Evangelists

Dean Giustini, Vancouver General Hospital, BCSpur for Innovation

In his preweb library days, Dean Giustini noticed that consumer health groups for breast and prostate cancer, along with the AIDS movement, were using the library intensively. “That was a major reason I liked health libraries,” says Giustini, who, as University of British Columbia (UBC) biomedical branch librarian, works in a hospital. “I could help people find information so they could make life-death decisions.”

Now, the forward-thinking Giustini is known as an innovator, “an author, editor, blogger, wikimaster, and, most important, health librarian,” says nominator Allan Cho, program services librarian at UBC’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

When Giustini started blogging in 2005, he admits, “I didn’t really know why I was doing it or what I was getting into.” But recent posts on his UBC blog show him at the forefront of dialogs about technology and health: check out “Google’s Impact on Brain Morphology & Cognition” and “’Maple Leaf’ Twitter: Why Aren’t More Canadian Librarians on Twitter?”

An active participant in discussions about Web 3.0 and the Semantic Web, Giustini presses librarians to work with other information professionals to locate “some pretty cool solutions to our findability and information overload problems in the digital age.” He also created the UBC Health Library Wiki for health librarians as a way to store all of the information they were using to teach, as well as share information.

Giustini’s savvy has yielded tangible results. Last year, he helped to secure a million donation that went toward improving the Biomedical Branch Library and starting a clinical librarian program at Vancouver General Hospital. Others benefit from Giustini’s expertise as well. Every once in a while after he has taught a class, “researchers come back to me and say that either our teaching or one of the tools we purchased led them to improved grant-writing and clinical trial formulation,” he says. “That’s very rewarding.”

Innovations aside, Giustini admits to being “overly resistant” to buying his own cell phone, Blackberry, or iPhone and says that some of his best job perks come down to real-life, technology-free encounters. “I really enjoy it when someone brings in a baby or a toddler,” he says, “or when the pet therapist here at the hospital brings around her golden retriever.”


Vancouver General Hospital, BC

POSITION University of British Columbia Biomedical Branch Librarian

DEGREE M. Ed., Adult Learning & Globalization, 2008; MLS, 1989, both University of British Columbia

NETWORK blog: weblogs.elearning.ubc.ca/googlescholar; wiki: hlwiki.slais.ubc.ca; twitter: twitter.com/giustini