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NINDS's Warner Retires After 35 Years of Service

By Shannon E. Garnett

Audrey Warner, a program assistant in the neurodegeneration cluster of the NINDS Extramural Division, recently retired after 35 years of federal government service — all with NIH.

"Anyone who has even briefly met Audrey knows what a warm and loving person she is," said Dr. Paul Sheehy, a program director in the cluster. "Working with her has been one of the highlights of my NIH experience."

Warner began her NIH career on Apr. 21, 1968 as a clerk typist in the psychiatric nursing department of the Clinical Center. Six months later she became a unit clerk in that same department, and remained there for 1 year.

In retirement, Audrey Warner plans to enjoy life with her family and friends, write a book and travel.

In retirement, Audrey Warner plans to enjoy life with her family and friends, write a book and travel.

In 1970, she accepted the position of travel clerk — which included timekeeping and procurement duties — in the Epilepsy Branch, NINCDS (now NINDS). And in 1999 she changed positions, becoming a program assistant in the cluster.

In addition to her regular duties as program assistant, Warner used her keen organizational skills to maintain and coordinate the Eugene Streicher library, located at the Neuroscience Center building on Executive Blvd. The library — used not only by NINDS employees, but also by staff from other institutes in the building — houses scientific journals, daily newspapers, reference manuals, NIH event information, pamphlets and other scientific material.

Warner also created a support staff manual, which includes information on NINDS and NIH grant award mechanisms, submission dates and deadlines, staff training opportunities and communication and administrative skills for all new program assistants and administrative staff in the Extramural Division.

To many in the division, Warner was also informally known as the support staff photographer — not only documenting the annual support staff retreats, but also capturing historical memories of people and events at NINDS. She maintained the photographs in a large photo album for all the staff to enjoy. However, to most NINDS'ers Warner was more affectionately known as "Mama Audrey" for her strong faith, and the love and warm smiles she extended to all who crossed her path, as well as for her positive attitude.

"Without God, it would have been impossible for me to make this journey for 35 years," said Warner. "NINDS has been like an extended family and NIH is my second home. Here I have made friends with many people and we have developed a strong bond. I will truly miss everyone."

According to Warner, throughout her career she has witnessed many "great and wonderful changes at NIH and NINDS," both scientific — including new drugs to treat epilepsy, the development of the cochlear implant, and the development of t-PA to treat stroke — and administrative — including the different timekeeping systems, from paper punch cards to TAIMS (the first computerized system) to ITAS.

Friends, family and colleagues past and present gathered recently in the Streicher library to honor Warner and bid her good luck. At the party, her photo album was displayed and brought a lot of laughs and joy to those who attended.

In retirement, Warner plans to enjoy life with her family and friends, and spend extra time doing church activities. She will also write a book and travel.

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