Author Archives: joanita

VHL Regional Portal has a new interface and layout

During the month of its 26th anniversary, the Virtual Health Library (VHL) launched a new interface for its Regional Portal, the main and most comprehensive instance of the VHL. Designed to facilitate users’ experience in navigating and using health information resources, the VHL Regional Portal brings together more than 37 million bibliographic records from 60 national, specialized, and international databases, as well as directories, repositories, and other types of health information sources.

Founded in 1998 as a model, strategy and operational platform for information management, “the VHL is a public good of the Region of the Americas dedicated to facilitating access to and use of scientific and technical information in health, thereby contributing to the reduction of the gap between knowledge and practice in health care and policies in Latin American and Caribbean countries” , explains Verônica Abdala, Manager of Information Products and Services at BIREME.

Coordinated and promoted by the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME/PAHO/WHO) as a standard for the other VHL instances, the VHL Regional Portal has an interface for searching and retrieving information (iAHx system) throughout its collection of databases, integrated with the DeCS/MeSH thesaurus and offering filtering resources, exporting results and advanced search. The user interface is available in four languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish and French.

“We started working on the Portal update at the end of 2023, mapping everything that was available to users and outlining the new interface,” said Verônica Abdala during the site’s launch, while thanking the teams dedicated to the project. ” We did a careful job of identifying, mapping, translating and reorganizing all the content, until we achieved this new portal, which is now online.”

Changes implemented: Information for Action in Health

In all pages of the site, a series of changes have been implemented to provide solutions and improvements in navigation, design, information architecture, amount of information available in the interfaces, and to solve versioning and updates. Among the main changes made, the Portal highlights LILACS and DeCS, which are now positioned at the top of the interface. “We have listened to a frequent request to value what is produced by our Network, our differential, which are LILACS and DeCS”, emphasized Verônica. Another important highlight was the insertion of the “Information for Action in Health” brand, which comes from BIREME’s 2023-2025 Strategy, a guiding document for the digital transformation underway at the Center.

On the homepage, the “Menu” has been reorganized with the following sections: “About”, “Products and Services”, “How to Search”, and “Ask a Librarian.” The research functionality has not changed, and the search box continues to use the standard iAHx system.

Highlighted on the homepage are also the main ” Health Decision Support Resources” developed by BIREME in technical cooperation projects, which “are products derived from databases, with systematized information in order to facilitate their use”, as explained by manager Verônica Abdala. This block gathers links to the Windows of Knowledge, Evidence Maps, Evid@Easy – Guided Evidence Search, the BIGG Portal of GRADE Guides and Recommendations and the PIE “Evidence Syntheses for Policies”.

The final content block on the “Home” page is designated for constant updates and is reserved for the publication of news and releases in various formats, as images and texts. After that, the user finds a section presenting the VHL Network, which gives access to another informational page about the model and instances, with links to the VHL of other countries and/or themes.

The footer of the Portal was also modified, and now displays the following disclaimer: “The VHL is a collaborative product, coordinated by BIREME/PAHO/WHO. As a library, it offers comprehensive access to scientific and technical health information. The VHL collects, indexes and stores citations of documents published by various organizations. The inclusion of any article, document or citation in the VHL collection does not imply endorsement or agreement by BIREME/PAHO/WHO with its content.”

With this new statement, “we intend to ensure that visitors to the site are aware that it is a product “Powered by BIREME”, that is, it results from Technical Cooperation coordinated by the Center, without receiving, however, interference or editorial mediation and curatorship of the content indexed therein”, clarifies João Paulo Souza, director of the Center.

More information about the resources available in the VHL

In addition to accessing the “Home” page, visitors can navigate through other pages on the portal to deepen their understanding of the VHL and other products and services coordinated by BIREME to facilitate information retrieval and usage.

On the “About” page, users can find institutional and historical details that describe and contextualize the VHL trajectory as a regional public good for Latin America and the Caribbean, including information about the VHL Network, BIREME’s operation and mission, and associated partners and networks.

The “Products and Services” section has been completely reorganized to make it easier for users to navigate and promote the use of the resources available there. With this, the following list is available: LILACSDeCS/MeSH; Health Decision Support ResourcesBibliographic DatabasesDirectories, Catalogs and RepositoriesServices for the VHL User; and, finally, the Courses organized by BIREME, which are free and self-learning, all available on PAHO’s Virtual Campus of Public Health.

On the “How to search?” page, there are tutorials, videos and courses produced to facilitate the search for information in the VHL. In this section it is possible to learn, for example, how to retrieve information from the VHL Portal and how to refine the results obtained. In the case of any doubts or need to validate a search strategy, users of the site can contact BIREME’s teams through the “Ask a librarian” service, available in the last section of the site.

Congratulating everyone for the progress made, director João Paulo Souza considered that “the modernization and updating of the design and functionalities of the VHL Regional Portal represent an important, as it addresses essential issues arising from regular users surveys conducted by BIREME”. New user surveys will be conducted by BIREME to monitor the performance and functionalities of the portal, so that it can be operated as a dynamic portal, including activities for its continuous improvement.

The new VHL Regional Portal has been available since March 4, 2024, at the link


BIREME promotes the launch of the 2024 Calendar of VHL Activities with Health Information Networks

São Paulo, March 11, 2024 (BIREME/PAHO/WHO) – The webinar to launch the 2024 calendar of Activities of the Virtual Health Library (VHL) was held online with the Health Information Networks. The event was organized by the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information of the Pan American Health Organization (BIREME/PAHO/WHO), with presentations by João Paulo Souza, director of BIREME, and Verônica Abdala, Manager of Information Services and Products at BIREME. It was attended by 174 people from different countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and other regions, such as Europe.

The Health Information Networks are an initiative created and coordinated by BIREME, which brings together institutions and organizations mainly from Latin America and the Caribbean, with the aim of contributing to the democratization of access and visibility of scientific knowledge in health in the countries of the Region. For the year 2024, 19 meetings are scheduled, with an agenda divided into four main themes: VHL Network; Network of Referees; Indexing of documents according to the LILACS Methodology; and Best practices in the editorial processes of LILACS scientific journals.

Verônica Abdala points out that the programming of periodic meetings establishes a regular mechanism for the exchange of knowledge and experiences, a factor that is essential for the strengthening and expansion of the work carried out by BIREME, as PAHO’s specialized center for health sciences information, in favor of the Virtual Health Library (VHL), the LILACS database, the DeCS thesaurus and all the sources of information that organize, preserve and promote the use of the technical and scientific literature produced in the LA&C countries.

The event was opened with the presentation “Strengthening Regional Information Products”, given by Director João Paulo Souza. The presentation considered the current complexities affecting the health sector and people’s quality of life, contextualizing PAHO’s mission to achieve “Health for All”, and positioning “information as a code capable of changing behaviors and society as a whole, and capable of producing positive effects on health indicators”.

“That is why the accelerated digital transformation we are experiencing today is also a determinant of health”, explained João Paulo Souza, noting that in addition to the benefits of applying new digital technologies, it is also necessary to address the new risks. “These are biases and problems related to misinformation, which could affect the decision-making process and lead to uncertainties in the procedures of evidence selection, synthesis and interpretation.” In conclusion, João Paulo Souza highlighted the attributes of Open Science, especially transparency, to ensure quality and trust in technical and scientific evidence. Furthermore, João Paulo placed the centrality of LILACS, DeCS and VHL to ensure that Latin American and Caribbean scientific production is available to the region and the world.

Next, in a presentation by Verônica Abdala, participants were informed about the “Report of the Meeting for the Renewal of the VHL Model”, held in São Paulo (Brazil) in November 2023 with representatives and focal points of the VHL Network. The report presented the studies carried out to align the VHL Model with BIREME’s 2023-2025 Strategy, including updates to the VHL governance structure and contributions to its digital transformation. “In fact, in this meeting, we assumed and reaffirmed a collective and individual commitment to strengthen the VHL as a regional public good in Latin America and the Caribbean,” she summarized.

The 2024 calendar with the complete schedule of activities and meetings with the Networks, as well as the recordings and presentations of the virtual sessions, are now available on the VHL Network Portal (in Spanish or Portuguese).



LILACS Brazil announces new calendar for evaluation and selection of new journals

The evaluation and selection of Brazilian journals for the Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature (LILACS) database represents a significant milestone in the scientific communication scenario among the countries of the Region. This annual process, coordinated in partnership between the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Brazilian Ministry of Health, is essential for the constant updating and improvement of BIREME/PAHO/WHO.

As of 2024, the selection of journals for inclusion in the database will take place in April. BIREME’s Supervisor of Reference Information Sources, Sueli Mitiko Yano Suga, emphasizes that it is important for editors to update their calendars in accordance with the new date, so that they are prepared, since the change will have an impact on the other activities in the annual calendar. “As of March, the Evaluation Forms will be available for editors to fill in; with the Meeting of the Evaluation Committee planned to take place in October, followed by the publication of the results,” explains Sueli.

On December 11, 2023, expert members of the LILACS Brazil Journal Evaluation and Selection Committee met for the 24th edition of this important event. Started in July of that year, the process began with the submission of eleven journals, but after a pre-analysis of standardization and scope, only seven were selected to continue the evaluation.

As a result, two journals were approved with restrictions, after the implementation of standardization and committee recommendations, while another five were not approved. The journals approved with restrictions include “Saberes Plurais” and “Revista Contexto & Saúde”, while those not approved include titles such as “Revista Corpoconsciência”, “Debates em Psiquiatria”, “Health Residencies Journal”, “Revista Pró-UniverSUS” and “Revista Saúde Coletiva”.

The members of the Committee, renowned specialists in the various areas of the Health Sciences, played a fundamental role in this process, conducting careful and well-founded analyses:

  • Adeilton Alves Brandão, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation
  • André Luiz Félix Rodacki, Federal University of Paraná
  • Antônio de Pádua Pithon Cyrino, São Paulo State University Júlio de Mesquita Filho
  • Edna Frasson de Souza Montero, University of São Paulo
  • Maria Helena Palucci Marziale, University of São Paulo
  • Mary Sandra Carlotto, University of Brasília
  • Sigmar de Mello Rode, São Paulo State University Júlio de Mesquita Filho
  • Silvia Berlanga de Moraes Barros, University of São Paulo

This meticulous process demonstrates the ongoing commitment to excellence in the selection of scientific journals for the LILACS database. Furthermore, it promotes the dissemination of scientific knowledge and contributes to the advancement of health research and practice not only in Brazil, but throughout Latin America.

Visit the LILACS Portal and access all the information on the LILACS Brazil Journal Evaluation and Selection Process, including the Criteria for inclusion in the database and the Submission procedures for journals evaluation.


​​​VHL Network meets in São Paulo to draw up plans in line with Information Industry 4.0

Meeting in person in São Paulo under the coordination of BIREME, 61 members of the VHL Network from 19 countries in the Region provided suggestions and made commitments to strengthen Rede, renew its information management model and update it in accordance with the BIREME 2023-2025 Strategy, whose motto is to promote Information for Action in Health.

São Paulo, Brazil, November 16, 2023 (BIREME/PAHO/WHO) – Between November 13 and 16, the VHL Network – the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Health Information – gathered in person in São Paulo for a series of technical meetings among its coordinators, focal points, and BIREME teams. The activities were held as part of the celebrations for the 25th-anniversary of VHL, with 61 participants from 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, representing the national networks of VHL, the MEDCARIB network, the Nursing Network, and the Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Medicines (TCIM) Network of the Americas.

The main objective of the meetings was to discuss the network’s biannual strategic planning, with proposals for the renewal of the VHL management information model. The expectation is to keep VHL aligned with the new “BIREME 2023-2025 Strategy – Information for Action in Health” and in tune with the current stage of digital transformation.

The first two days of the event (13 and 14) were dedicated to the VHL Model Renewal Workshop, coordinated by Verônica Abdala, Manager of Information Products and Services at BIREME, with the participation of 55 coordinators and focal points from the VHL Network in 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. At the opening of the meeting, the BIREME 2023-2025 Strategy was presented by Director João Paulo Souza. His speech emphasized that it is imperative to consider the current health information needs in an expanded context of the well-being or illness processes, which recently began to incorporate the dimension of the so-called “digital determinants of health” among the conditions that may affect them. “We meet to review and update our operations according to the new needs driven by digital transformation in the information sector,” explains the director.

With a strong impact on BIREME’s core operations, the effects of digital determinants of health may vary according to the level of access and use that populations and individuals make of information, navigating through misinformation, hyper information, and infodemics. “This means that those digital determinants produce different outcomes among groups and populations, not only in terms of their access to health services and the quality of care they receive, but also in relation to individual and public health, well-being practices, behaviors and lifestyle,” adds João Paulo Souza.

Renewal of the VHL Model – Information Management and Governance

Next, participants were presented to the main results of the VHL situational analysis conducted by BIREME throughout 2023, in a presentation coordinated by Verônica Abdala, PSI Manager, and Ana Cyntia Baraldi, Advisor for Partnerships and Special Projects. The diagnosis evaluated the VHL situation, including the strengths, opportunities and challenges as perceived from the perspective of the structural bodies, which are the institutions and personnel in health information management, the content and information sources, and users of products and services.

“Based on the diagnosis that we produced with the Network members, we divided this workshop participants into smaller working groups so that everyone could contribute with their suggestions for improvements on topics that we had identified as essential during the previous analysis stage,” noted Verônica Abdala. The topics discussed were the essential functions of VHL, bibliographic control and governance of VHL, and user needs.

For Verônica Abdala, the meeting exceeded engagement expectations and was marked as a strong point in the Network trajectory, especially regarding VHL’s Governance. “We realized that sharing the diagnosis and promoting an opportunity for joint evaluation, in order to collectively find ways to improve the VHL model, means sharing responsibilities and agreeing on commitments for the sustainability and strengthening of the VHL Network.”

Next Steps

To process the recommendations resulting from the meeting and develop the proposal for the new Strategic Action Plan for the 2024-2025 biennium, a working group was created with about 15 participants who attended the meeting. Among the main outcomes resulting from the meeting that will inform the renewal of VHL, the following stand out: (1) the commitment to promote good research and scientific communication practices based on the principles of Open Science, including open access and open data; (2) the automation of processes for interoperability between databases, data collection and retrieval on the portal, and document indexing; and (3) the simplification of governance structures, adapted to the maturity level of each VHL instance. The recommendations from the meeting will inform the finalization of BIREME’s strategic planning for VHL in 2024-25.

Segment strategic meetings

Also, in the context of strategic planning for the next biennium, three technical meetings were held in parallel on November 15 and 16: VHL TCIM Americas, the development of VHL Caribbean with MEDCARIB, and the exploration of opportunities for innovation in the digital transformation of products and services developed in technical cooperation between INFOMED (Cuba) and BIREME.

About the VHL Network

VHL is an information management model based on collaborative and networked work, applied to the creation, organization, and dissemination of scientific and technical information in the health field, available online for user access through VHL portals. Since its creation in 1998, VHL seeks to contribute to expanding access to scientific and technical information in health and its applied use in the health sector – from clinical care to health promotion and policy and program management. Currently, the network features more than 60 instances in 30 countries, and is composed of institutions that collaborate and participate in the construction, development, operation, updating, and promotion of BIREME’s information methodologies, products, and services.

Links of Interest

VHL Network Meeting 2023 | VHL Network Portal (

2020 VHL Guide | VHL Network (


BIREME promueve semana de reuniones técnicas con la Red BVS

La próxima semana, en São Paulo, BIREME reunirá a la Red BVS en América Latina y el Caribe para discutir la renovación del Modelo BVS alineado con la nueva Estrategia “Información para la Acción en Salud”.

São Paulo, 08 de noviembre de 2023 (BIREME/OPS/OMS) – Miembros de la Red de Información en Salud de América Latina y el Caribe, la Red BVS, se reúnen la próxima semana en São Paulo, Brasil, para participar de una serie de cuatro reuniones técnicas promovidas por BIREME. Las actividades se realizan en el marco de las conmemoraciones de los 25 años de la BVS, con el objetivo de discutir temas clave para el fortalecimiento y la renovación del Modelo BVS en consonancia con la nueva “Estrategia BIREME 2023-2025 – Información para la Acción en Salud”.

La programación comienza los días 13 y 14 de noviembre con el Taller “Renovación del Modelo de la BVS”. En estos días, los coordinadores y puntos focales de la Red BVS podrán conocer en detalle la Estrategia BIREME 2023-2025, en una presentación del Director João Paulo Souza, y los resultados de un análisis situacional de la BVS realizado por Verônica Abdala y Ana Cyntia Baraldi, respectivamente Gerente de Productos y Servicios de Información y Asesora de Alianzas y Proyectos Especiales de BIREME. El programa incluye dinámicas de grupo para discutir los siguientes temas: funciones esenciales de la BVS; gobernanza; control bibliográfico y experiencia del usuario.

En los días 15 y 16 de noviembre se realizarán simultáneamente tres encuentros:

– Reunión de la Red MTCI Américas, coordinada por João Paulo Souza y Verônica Abdala, para definir la Planificación Estratégica de la BVS MTCI Américas para los años 2024-2025;

– Reunión de la Red MEDCARIB con la Coordinadora de Infraestructura de TI de BIREME, Márcia Barreto, para elaborar el plan de acción para el desarrollo de la BVS Caribe;

– Reunión de cooperación técnica con Infomed Cuba, con Sandra Janostiac, Gerente de Desarrollo de Soluciones Digitales y Tecnologías Emergentes, para explorar oportunidades de innovación para los productos y servicios de la BVS, LILACS y DeCS.

Los detalles del programa están disponibles en la página Reunión de la Red BVS 2023 | Portal de la Red BVS ( Siga las actualizaciones y la cobertura de los eventos en las redes sociales de BIREME en el X Twitter y Facebook, y de la BVS en el X Twitter y Instagram.



Reunión de la Red BVS 2023 | Portal de la Red BVS (

Taller “Renovación del Modelo BVS” – 13 y 14 de noviembre

BVS MTCI Américas – Definición del Plan Estratégico 2024-2025 – 15 y 16 de noviembre

Red MEDCARIB – Desarrollo de la BVS Caribe – 15 y 16 de noviembre

Reunión Técnica – Innovación de Productos y Servicios de la BVS – 15 y 16 de noviembre


Fuente de la noticia:


VHL Nursing Network advances with innovation projects

On July 17, 2023, the 22nd Ordinary Meeting of the VHL Nursing Brazil Advisory Committee was held at the headquarters of the Brazilian Nursing Association – Paraná Section, in connection with the 22nd National Nursing Research Seminar (SENPE) and the 3rd International Nursing Research Seminar (SINPE). The meeting focused on new perspectives for the Health Sciences and Nursing, with discussions on innovations and ongoing activities in the VHL Nursing Network. Highlights included monitoring the contribution to the LILACS and BDENF databases, as well as projects and working groups such as the quality of the indexing of nursing documents, the development of the area’s terminology and the new thematic areas and Knowledge Windows.

João Paulo Souza, director of BIREME/PAHO/WHO, presented the theme “Using Scientific Evidence for Action in Health”. The presentation included reflections on the new 4.0 technologies, climate change as a new global health challenge and the dissemination of scientific research results for health-related decisions by lay people and communities. In response to these new challenges, the Center’s new strategic plan was also presented, as a proposal for innovation and alignment with the strategic actions of the Pan American Health Organization for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The first panel of the event also included a presentation of the scientific and technical productions in the area by Dr. Sônia Silva Marcon, representative of the Nursing Committee at the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), of the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Next, Dr. Marlise de Oliveira Pimentel Lima, representing the Joanna Briggs Institute – JBI Brazil, presented the institutional cooperation model and publications that have adopted the JBI model for systematic reviews. In closing the first part of the program, Prof. Francisco Lana, coordinator of the VHL Nursing, highlighted the opportunity to launch the Evidence-Based Nursing sub-project, which should provide users with evidence that can be applied to nursing practices at all levels of care.

At the second table, Prof. Francisco Lana presented an analysis of the “Contribution of Nursing Journals to the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. The most representative themes in nursing journals were the eradication of the AIDS epidemic; universal access to services and universal health coverage; and the prevention and treatment of psychoactive substance use. The presentation also covered the Analysis of Bibliographic Control of the BDENF/LILACS databases and the design of strategies for improving the indexing process and strengthening Brazilian journals, with emphasis on the importance of monitoring contributions by Committee members.

Prof. Francisco also presented an analysis of the process of indexing theses and dissertations in the BDENF/LILACS in the Ibero-American setting and the establishment of strategies to increase the adherence of Postgraduate Nursing Programs, indicating the collaborative status of the network, especially the network in Portugal, which focused its contribution on this type of document.

At the same table, Sueli Mitiko Yano Suga, supervisor of Information Sources and References at BIREME/PAHO/WHO, presented recommendations for good practices in Open Science to be implemented in Nursing journals, especially issues of transparency in the research process and the preparation of journals for machine reading, including the necessary metadata and persistent identifiers in the articles.

Prof. Ana Karina Bezerra Pinheiro, coordinator of the Nursing area at the Brazilian Ministry of Education’s Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), brought new perspectives for the development of the subproject in the country, considering her favourable manifestation to encourage Nursing Graduate Programs to index their academic and technical productions in BDENF. New alignments were also discussed to strengthen the TESESENF subproject, which currently has more than 11,000 theses and/or dissertations indexed.

The program also included the launch of the Nursing Descriptors Subproject, which aims to review the terms currently described and work on expanding and adapting them to current times, to give visibility to regional problems and solutions for Nursing Science in an interdisciplinary framework. A Working Group was set up with the following researchers: Ivone Cabral (UFRJ/UERJ), André Moura (UFMG), Virgínia Ramos (UFBA), Cândida Caniçali Primo (UFES), Flavia Giron Camerini (UERJ) and the collaboration of Ana Cristina Spindola Campos and Luciana Rio Branco, both from BIREME/PAHO/WHO.

The construction of new thematic areas and Knowledge Windows for the VHL were discussed and deliberated during the meeting, and the suggestion process was standardized to allow the selection of the theme and working group that will work on the development, validation and publication of those new themes and windows. The thematic areas of “Theoretical, philosophical, conceptual and methodological foundations of nursing care” and “Nursing and Men’s Health”, the Knowledge Window on “Nursing in Disasters and Emergencies” and the strategy for RefNet: “Nursing and Sleep Health” were approved.  One of the thematic areas has already been published on the VHL Nursing portal:

According to the coordinator, Francisco Lana, the Committee meeting reaffirms the alignment of the VHL Nursing with the new trends and perspectives being built within BIREME for digital transformation, as well as for the inclusion of health professionals and populations in the scope of its information sources. Also, as a positive outcome of the meeting, the VHL Nursing’s purpose of aligning itself with the 2030 Agenda was highlighted, encouraging journals in the area to participate and develop strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Links of interest:

Recording of the morning session

Recording of the afternoon session

Nursing Virtual Health Library