In Memoriam: Naomi Cordero Broering (1929-2023)

Alan F. Carr, M.L.S., M.P.H., AHIP

Former MLA President Naomi Broering passed away on January 11, 2023, in La Jolla, CA, after a two-year battle with cancer. During Naomi’s remarkably long and distinguished career in health sciences librarianship, she served in a number of key leadership positions. Born in New York City, Naomi lived throughout her career in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. (Georgetown), Houston, and finally, La Jolla.

Naomi received her MLS from UCLA, followed by a one-year NLM Postgraduate Fellowship at the UCLA Biomedical Library. She also completed all coursework for a PhD in history at UCLA, and earned an MA and BA (cum laude) from California State University, Long Beach. Naomi served as Reference Librarian at the USC Norris Medical Library and completed a year of law school from West LA University in 1970-71, while also serving as Hospital Librarian at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

Naomi’s last position was the Dean of Libraries at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) in San Diego, beginning in 2001. Previously, she was Director of the Herrick Library at Grossmont Healthcare District in La Mesa, CA. Prior to her relocation to the NNLM Pacific Southwest Region in 1999, Naomi was the Executive Director of the Houston Academy of Medicine–Texas Medical Center Library in Houston and Director of the NNLM South Central Region for nearly five years. Before that she was the Director of the Biomedical Information Resources Center and Medical Center Library at Dahlgren Memorial Library, Georgetown University Medical Center, for 22 years. Naomi announced her retirement in March 2018.

During her tenure at PCOM and at the Grossmont Healthcare District, Naomi and I developed a close working relationship. Naomi could be counted on to participate in an NNLM focus group, assist at an NNLM exhibit, contribute to any NIH or NLM Request for Information, or provide other needed assistance to the RML. Naomi had an exceptional track record of successfully applying for NNLM and NLM outreach awards. She highly valued and respected the work of both organizations. Naomi conducted a number of projects involving extensive outreach to various communities in San Diego County. The projects ranged from 12-18 months, targeting both health care professionals and consumer audiences. In these projects, Naomi developed collaborations with many community organizations, including public libraries, churches, community centers, veterans centers, and HIV/AIDS clinics. She reached underserved communities populated by Hispanics, African Americans, Native and Pacific Islander Americans, and areas of high HIV incidence. Naomi was well known and respected for her efforts promoting access to NLM and NIH health information resources.

A particularly notable result of Naomi’s successful efforts with the Senior Health Project: Access to Electronic Health Information in San Diego was the PCOM Library being named one of the top ten finalists for the 2006 U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) Health Information Awards for Libraries. In addition to NNLM outreach awards, Naomi also successfully competed for several NLM HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Program awards, furthering outreach penetration in the San Diego area. She also received an NLM Disaster Health Information Outreach & Collaboration Award in 2012, to conduct a project reaching out to San Diego County’s Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). To enhance the visibility of these significant outreach contributions, Naomi highlighted them as an author of many scholarly articles and presenter of papers and poster sessions, such as three articles in the Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet, including “HIV/AIDS Health Information Outreach Service in San Diego” in 2012.

Naomi accumulated an extensive list of professional honors, awards, and contributions during her long career. She served as President of the Medical Library Association (MLA) in 1996-97. Naomi received MLA’s Marcia Noyes Award in 2003, the association’s highest professional distinction. She was named an MLA Fellow in 1995 and a Distinguished Member of MLA’s Academy of Health Information Professionals. Naomi was the 21st editor of the Journal of the Medical Library Association (formerly the Bulletin) from 1991 to 1996. In 1986 she received MLA’s Frank Bradway Rogers Information Advancement Award. In service to the National Library of Medicine, Naomi was a member of a Planning Panel for the NLM Long Range Plan (2000-2005) and a member of the NLM Biomedical Library and Informatics Review Committee. In 2015, Naomi received MLA’s first Hispanic Heritage Award in recognition of her past accomplishments in medical librarianship and library informatics. She co-founded the Friends of the NLM and served as Secretary of the Board of Directors.

Naomi was the Principal Investigator of the Georgetown University IAIMS Program, an NLM grant program. She oversaw development of the Georgetown University Library Information System, which included a “Mini-MEDLINE” search system component. She authored over 200 scholarly journal articles, two books, and presented papers at national and international library conferences. At other related associations, Naomi was Secretary and Board member of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) from 1992-1996 and was elected Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) in 1989-90. Other professional honors include the Special Libraries Association (SLA) 1999 Winifred Sewell Award, the SLA 1987 Professional Award, and the Vicennial Award from Georgetown University in 1995. She was an active ALA member her entire career and was a lifetime member of ALA, MLA and retired member of AMIA/ACMI.

Personally, it was a joy to collaborate with Naomi. I especially relished her volunteer assistance at NNLM exhibits and the chance to hear some of her many tales about the profession. Her fluency in Spanish often came in handy! When I encountered her at MLA Annual Meetings, she would gladly introduce me to people in her vast network of colleagues, including current NLM director Patti Brennan. These contacts were invaluable to me as the NNLM PSR Associate Director.

Naomi was very generous. She endowed the MLA Naomi C. Broering Hispanic Heritage Grant. Never forgetting her roots at UCLA, she donated to a scholarship fund at the Graduate Program in Library and Information Studies. Naomi was always invited to the annual dinner honoring the contributions of donors and the scholarship recipients. She often had scheduling conflicts with the dinners, and offered me her ticket to attend in her stead. I always appreciated this opportunity to maintain contact with the faculty and students.

The totality of Naomi’s career had a tremendous impact on the profession. Her considerable knowledge and boundless enthusiasm were priceless assets, which will be greatly missed by many. I will always treasure the memories of Naomi as a friend and colleague.

Naomi is survived by her husband, Gregory Chauncey, and two nieces, Emily Albrecht and Jaye Meyer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Naomi Broering’s honor to the Gregory A. Chauncey and Naomi C. Broering Engineering Veterans Scholarship at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), or to the Naomi Cordero Broering Endowed Scholarship Fund (#31359C) at the UCLA Foundation.

Alan F. Carr, M.L.S., M.P.H., AHIP,, is the retired Associate Director, NNLM Pacific Southwest Region, UCLA L. Darling Biomedical Library, Los Angeles, California, 90095.