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BIG Honors NIH Officials

By Felicia Shingler

"I believe in giving honor where honor is due," said Jacque Ballard, president of NIH's chapter of Blacks In Government, during the BIG Awards ceremony on June 10 in Lister Hill Auditorium.

The ceremony honored Dr. Ruth L. Kirschstein, senior advisor to the NIH director; Dr. Yvonne T. Maddox, NICHD deputy director; and Charlette P. Bronson, former secretary to Kirschstein and Maddox, for their support of the mission of BIG over the years and for their encouragement of diversity and equal opportunity at NIH. The special recognition award, a chisel-point clear glass plaque mounted on a wooden pedestal, cited Kirschstein "for vigilance, courage and endless resolve to enhance opportunities for minorities throughout your years of dedicated service to the NIH." Maddox was honored "for shouldering our burdens, staying true when others would have taken an easier route, and doing what is right in spite of the consequences."

Gerald R. Reed, immediate past BIG national president and keynote speaker at the ceremony, greets Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, senior advisor to the NIH director and BIG honoree.

Visibly moved, Kirschstein said, "Out of all the awards that I have received, I believe that this is the dearest to my heart."

Bronson received a wooden plaque with a certificate of appreciation for her "professionalism, resourcefulness, and commitment to providing outstanding support to the NIH deputy director's office and to BIG."

Gerald R. Reed, immediate past BIG national president and keynote speaker at the ceremony, greets Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, senior advisor to the NIH director and BIG honoree.

Gerald R. Reed, immediate past BIG national president, delivered the keynote address in which he commended NIH for its part in helping to close disparities in health research by creating the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Reed noted that the last time he visited the NIH BIG chapter in October 2000, it was to recognize Dr. John Ruffin, then director of NIH's Office of Research on Minority Health. Reed said he was pleased that the office has now been elevated to a center.

Ballard also recognized other NIH leaders and BIG regional and national officers who attended the program, including: Dr. Raynard S. Kington, NIH deputy director; Lawrence Self, director of NIH's Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management; Darlene Young, BIG region XI board member; Mary Thomas, BIG national membership chair and region XI 2nd vice president; and Michele Peyton, BIG region XI 1st vice president. Ballard presented certificates of appreciation to chapter members and gold star awards for exemplary membership and contributions to the chapter.


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