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NHLBI's Barbara Peoples Retires After 30 Years

By Laina Pack

Barbara T. Peoples, a native Washingtonian, has retired after 30 years at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Office of Prevention, Education, and Control (OPEC). She graduated from Fairmont Heights High School in Fairmont Heights, Md., and later completed business programs at Atlantic Business College and Temple Business School in Washington, D.C.

Peoples began working at NIH in April 1967 as a nursing assistant in the heart nursing service in the nursing department of the Clinical Center and became a unit clerk in the same office in 1968. She became a secretary for the chief of the service in 1971.

Barbara T. Peoples

In 1975, Peoples came to NHLBI, working briefly in the administrative office. Several months later, she accepted a position in the Public Inquiries and Reports Branch as lead secretary for the chief. Peoples went on to outlast several branch chiefs. Her last one, Terry Long, remembers, "Barbara was always -- and still is -- a center of calm in a frequently stormy sea." In 1993, Peoples brought the calmness to a new place when she was promoted to lead secretary for the director of OPEC, where she handled the responsibilities of office manager, time and attendance recorder, and meeting coordinator.

Peoples was well-liked by friends and colleagues, and many were sad to learn of her decision to retire. Sandy Kamisar, senior printing management specialist, remembers Peoples' funloving nature: "I never saw Barbara have a bad day. She always had an upbeat, outgoing, and wonderful spirit."

Over the years, NHLBI became Peoples' part-time family. With mixed emotions, she admits, "I feel like I'm giving up my second family." But she adds, "I look forward to spending more time with my full-time family," which covers four generations -- a mother, two daughters, and a granddaughter.

Peoples' good-heartedness also contributed to her readiness to help others; in her long career, she donated more than 50 gallons of blood to the NIH Blood Bank and enjoyed participating in many fundraising affairs at NIH.

Peoples excelled in her career, earning various awards. Among them were the OPEC Director's award in 1996, NHLBI Director's Bonus award in 1995, and Employee of the Month in 1994 for outstanding performance. Additional accolades include a Merit Award in 1989, performance awards from 1990 to 1996, and various quality increases.

Dr. Gregory Morosco, director of OPEC, comments that Peoples has been a key team player. "For all the time that I have known Barbara, which is nearly 14 years, I have always been able to count on her cheerful greeting each morning. No matter what personal challenges she may have faced during that time, she has an inner peace that says life is worth living! Barbara is an individual who finds real joy in life, in people, and in her work. Her positive attitude has been critical to the successful operation of the office. From the entire office, we wish her well in her retirement, but we will miss her greatly."

In retirement, Peoples plans volunteer work with senior citizens and orphan children. She also intends to play bingo, visit Atlantic City, and socialize with family and friends. She also wants to travel, starting with a trip to Las Vegas and a cruise to the Caribbean to celebrate her retirement.

Peoples attributes her successful career to her parents. "My mother gave me the spiritual part of life, and my father gave me life as it is realistically," she says. "And that's what made me what I am today. I thank God for enabling me to close this chapter and to start a new one."

After 38 Years, Oliverio Says Farewell

Dr. Vincent T. Oliverio, associate director of NCI's Division of Extramural Activities and a highly respected pharmacologist, retired May 2 after 38 years of dedicated service.

During those years he served eight NCI directors, from Drs. Rod Heller to Richard Klausner, and saw three major reorganizations of the institute. He was praised for his contributions to the reorganization process in 1995, working closely with the much-publicized Bishop-Calabresi committee.

Dr. Vincent T. Oliverio

"Vince Oliverio's history with NCI personifies the best qualities one could ask for in a colleague," said Dr. Marvin Kalt, DEA director. "He brought dedication and strong personal values to both research and administration. He fostered the growth and development of individuals under his professional mentoring with the same commitment and care that he gave to his own family. The individuals he trained and their subsequent development speak to his rare gifts in this arena."

Former NCI director Dr. Carl G. Baker (1969-1972) also praised Oliverio. "With his nearly four decades of public service, he is a man who illustrates what a dedicated scientist can achieve," he said.

"I'm going away with good feelings and fond memories about my friends and colleagues with whom I worked," Oliverio said. "NIH is the world's premier biomedical institution and maybe, in some small way, I contributed to its excellent research reputation."

Oliverio developed and implemented NCI's plan for technical peer review of institute-wide research, resource, and intramural support contracts. This involved the formation of several new chartered contract review committees and the identification of additional budget, staffing, equipment, and space requirements to consolidate all NCI peer-review activities within DEA. With the support of the NCI director, he planned and coordinated a systematic 2-year scientific review of older anticancer agents for potential reevaluation by NCI.

"In the extramural setting, he made countless contributions, facilitating the mission of the NCI to formulate and expedite the extramural RFA and program announcements that the NCI uses to do business," Kalt said.

Oliverio is also known for his classic research with folic acid antagonists, and for the key role he played in the early development of the institute's national chemotherapy program. His first major contribution was the development of a method to separate and purify antifolic agents such as methotrexate. He also studied other anticancer drugs including nitrosoureas (BCNU, CCNU), hydrazines (procarbazine), and plant alkaloids (vincristine, campothecin).

"I was part of an era," he said, "which started in the 1960's and continued well into the 1980's, when chemotherapy became an accepted modality of treatment. I worked with many brilliant clinicians and scientists." Many leading physicians, including Drs. Bruce Chabner, Archie Bleyer and Vincent T. DeVita, Jr., gained their early clinical research experience working under Oliverio.

More important to Oliverio than his scientific career is his family. With his wife, Kathleen Riley Moore, a registered nurse, he has 11 children, including a lawyer, a physician, two police officers, an accountant, a school teacher, and two nurses. He often points proudly to the pictures of his 33 grandchildren, adding that there are two more on the way.

Born in Cleveland in 1928, he received his bachelor of science degree in 1951 and his master's degree in organic chemistry in 1953, both from Xavier University, Cincinnati. In 1955, he earned his Ph.D. in oncology from the University of Florida, Gainesville.

From 1951 to 1953, he was an instructor in chemistry at Xavier, and from 1954 to 1955, he was a U.S. public health fellow in cancer research at the University of Florida. From 1955 to 1959, he was a project associate in oncology at the McArdle Memorial Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Oliverio joined NCI in 1959 as a senior investigator in the Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology. He was appointed head of the biochemical pharmacology section in 1967, a position he held until 1973, while also serving as lab chief.

In 1973, he was appointed associate director for the NCI Experimental Therapeutics Program, where he provided administrative and scientific leadership. From 1977 to 1983, he was associate director for NCI's Developmental Therapeutics Program in the Division of Cancer Treatment.

Oliverio is a member of several professional societies and associations.

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