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Welcome to the NIH Director's Corner

At my most recent Town Hall Meeting in June, I mentioned that I would institute a column in the NIH Record to address issues important to you, the employees, on a regular basis. Since the Town Hall gatherings take place only twice a year, I wanted more frequent contact, which this column allows.

Prior to the first Town Hall Meeting in October 2002, I received more than 400 inquiries and comments from NIH'ers on a web site dedicated to that event. Last June, more than 260 additional questions and observations arrived on the town hall web site prior to the second meeting.

NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni debuts a new column to address employee issues.

As those of you who attended the meetings, or read about them in this newsletter, know, there was scarcely time to address even a fraction of the concerns that you brought up.

The purpose of this column will be to provide answers to specific questions that employees bring to my attention. Each column will address three or four topics in brief, clear fashion. I invite new inquiries at

This month, we observe the second anniversary of 9/11/2001, one of the most tragic occasions in this nation's history. We are still feeling the shock waves of that infamous day. All of us at NIH continue to be affected by the terrorist events of fall 2001, from the need to prepare for potential recurrence of anthrax attacks, or other use of biological, chemical or radiological agents as instruments of terror, to the need to protect our enterprise on campus with a perimeter fence. These are steps none of us expected to take as few as 2 years ago. But we take them resolutely as the price we must pay for maintaining the world's greatest medical research institution in the world's freest country. We don't enjoy having to defend our liberties — no era in American history ever has. Our thoughts will be with those who lost their lives.

I look forward to beginning our dialogue in this space.

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