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NIH Record

Fergie Gets Royal Treatment at NIH

By Gregory Roa

NIH played host to royalty when Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, visited the campus on June 23. Patients and employees lined the halls of the Clinical Center for a glimpse of the striking red-headed Duchess, better known to her fans as "Fergie." She was in town to receive an award from the Journal of Women's Health, according to Anne Thomas, NIH associate director for communications, who explained, "The Duchess has many opportunities to talk to women via television, at lectures and through print media interviews" and was interested "in learning from NIH scientists what major health messages she should deliver to women, based on the research conducted through NIH."

Sarah Ferguson (r), the Duchess of York, meets with Dr. Vivian Pinn, NIH associate director for women's health.

Welcoming the royal entourage to Bldg. 10 were Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, NIH deputy director, and Dr. Vivian Pinn, associate director for research on women's health. The Duchess then embarked on a brief tour led by the Clinical Center's Dr. David Henderson, deputy director for clinical care. Along the way, Fergie stopped to say hello to an important NIH volunteer -- a dog named Tess, one of the pets that visit patients through the CC's animal-assisted therapy program. The well-behaved pooch observed all the proper protocols, enthusiastically wagging its tail and being rewarded with a royal pat on the head. The tour moved on to the clinical pathology department, where the human staff likewise gave the Duchess a warm reception. Though she could only remain for a few minutes, several employees shook her hand and received autographs. Fergie declared, "We must stay longer next time," and departed amid friendly applause.

Sarah Ferguson (r), the Duchess of York, visited NIH recently. Among other notables, she met Tess, a "pet partner" of a CC patient.

Duchess Ferguson next proceeded to the heart of her visit -- a panel discussion with Joan McGowan, director of NIAMS's Musculoskeletal Diseases Branch, Karen Donato, coordinator for NHLBI's Obesity Education Initiative, and Jeff Abrams, an NCI senior investigator. The panelists discussed several issues including the Women's Health Initiative, osteoporosis, obesity and breast cancer.

Ferguson gets a briefing from the Clinical Center's Dr. David Henderson.

Photos: Janet Stephens


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