New Clinical Librarian, Kaitlyn Van Kampen

Kaitlyn Van Kampen became the University of Chicago Library’s new Clinical Librarian on February 27. Prior to this, Kaitlyn served as the Library’s Kathleen A. Zar Clinical Library Resident since January 2020. Kaitlyn has a Master of Library and Information Science with a Graduate Certificate in Information Management, specializing in Health Informatics and Data Analytics, from Wayne State University and a B.A. in Psychology with a pre-medical focus from The Ohio State University.

As the Clinical Librarian, Kaitlyn works closely with clinical staff at UChicago Medicine by attending rounds and providing point-of-need services and information support, assisting with clinical questions that arise. She works with the broader University of Chicago health sciences community providing research support, collaborating with faculty and students at Pritzker School of Medicine for in-depth literature review support, and offering instruction on using biomedical databases and tools, and developing research strategies for retrieving high-quality evidence. Additionally, Kaitlyn works on community outreach programs.

image of Kaitlyn Van Kampen

Deb Werner, Director of Library Research in Medical Education, interviewed Kaitlyn about her role here at the University of Chicago and how she works with faculty and students.

How did you become interested in clinical librarianship?

I came to clinical librarianship, and the librarian profession, in a roundabout way. I have my undergraduate degree in Psychology with a Pre-Medical focus and went through the entire process of taking the MCAT and applying/interviewing at medical schools before deciding I didn’t want to go in that direction. I started looking at other roles I could do with my background and interests, and came across hospital librarianship. I’d always loved research and had some medical terminology/practice knowledge, which would help in that kind of position, so I went to graduate school and focused on Health Science librarianship. After graduation and having worked in both public and other academic libraries, I knew I wanted a librarian role where I could be servicing both an academic library and a hospital. I saw the posting for the Clinical Library Resident, which matched exactly what I was interested in, and the rest is history!

What are some of the highlights of working with clinical teams at the Medical Center?

I love being part of a larger team within the patient care setting. I work with attendings (the senior doctor), residents (the newer doctors), and medical students, but we also work with other disciplines, so there are often pharmacists, dieticians, and nurses involved in rounds as well. A lot of what I do is called Evidence-Based Practice, so I am essentially helping these medical teams find the newest evidence (research) that will help with patient care and decision making. It is also great to watch the students and residents grow in their time with the teams!

What was a particularly interesting project you have worked on?

I’ve worked on quite a few interesting research projects, but my favorite so far is the UChicago Educational Support Team for COVID-19 and being part of expanding it into an ongoing course for the medical school. With the original team, I worked with medical students, a resident, and an infectious disease fellow to answer questions from front-line clinicians during the start of the COVID pandemic when a lot of information was being pushed out at varying levels of reliability. With how successful that team was, we were able to create an elective for Pritzker School of Medicine where 4th year medical students learn how to find and critically appraise articles for clinical questions. They attend rounds with a hospitalist team and collect questions about patients we currently have, so they are able to take the skills they learn and apply them in direct ways.

What are you interested in outside of libraries?

I’m a big reader – I actually run a book review Instagram page and get advanced reader copies (ARCs) from publishers to review and post there and on other reviewing platforms. It’s fun to express my creative side with that, while getting free books to read! I also have a dog and a cat who are both named after book characters. Luna is a 7 year old puggle (pug and beagle mix) and Lysandra is a tabby kitten who will turn 1 in April! I enjoy spoiling them with too many toys and treats and giving them lots of pets and cuddles. My family and boyfriend both live in West Michigan, so I’m often taking the drive over there and will spend many a summer weekend at the beach! I’m a big sports fan as well, especially college football. You will catch me every Saturday in the Fall watching all the games and cheering for my Buckeyes!

What have you been reading, listening to, or watching lately?

I’ve been watching The Last of Us on HBO lately, which I have really enjoyed! It’s based off a video game of the same name and is a post-apocalyptic series where a fungus causes a pandemic in which infected people turn into zombies.

As I said, I read a lot! At the time of answering these questions I am reading an ARC called The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by S. A. Chakraborty which is a blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and pirate adventures! I'm also reading Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren't Your Best Source of Health Information by Paul Offit for the NNLM book discussion this Spring.

Kaitlyn’s office is in the Regenstein Library, Room 263. Contact her at or 773-702-4557.