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Egyptian First Lady Visits NIH

"Train well, then come home!" This was the advice given by the first lady of Egypt, Suzanne Mubarak, to two Egyptian visiting fellows during her recent visit to NIH. "We need well-trained scientists like you back home," she continued. The fellows, Drs. Ramy Ibrahim and Lailah Dahmoush, both of whom are working in NCI laboratories, promised to follow through.

Egpyt's First Lady Suzanne Mubarak (l) is escorted by NIH acting director Dr. Ruth Kirschstein during NIH visit.

Mubarak was in the United States as part of a delegation that accompanied Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on an official visit that included meetings with President Bush and with the Maryland state department of business and economic development. Her visit to NIH was part of her effort to learn more about advances in women's and children's health issues, two topics she has championed in Egypt for the past two decades. The first lady met with NIH acting director Dr. Ruth Kirschstein at the Lawton Chiles International House to exchange ideas on new initiatives in those fields, as well as in cancer, infectious disease and information technology. They were joined by Dr. Yvonne Maddox, NIH acting deputy director; Dr. Vivian Pinn, director of the Office of Research on Women's Health; and Dr. Sharon Hrynkow, deputy director of the Fogarty International Center, as well as representatives from NLM and NCI.

In the course of the afternoon's collegial discussions, the first lady, whose enthusiasm permeated the meeting, highlighted the development of a center for maternal and child health that will be inaugurated in Egypt in the near future. The NIH team discussed a range of issues related to women and children's health, including the inclusion of women in clinical trials, literacy and career paths for women scientists. Both sides agreed on the need for more research to understand the links between health status and economic development. Mubarak concluded the meeting with an invitation to continue the discussion "... next time in Egypt."

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