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STEP Offers Fall Program of Activities

The staff training in extramural programs (STEP) committee recently announced its fall 1999 program of activities. Since 1963, STEP has made major contributions to continuing education at NIH by offering timely and innovative programs of broad interest to the extramural community.

Consistent with this spirit of innovation, STEP is making several changes in style and format. First, the STEP catalog has been redesigned and information on programs will be provided in two installments. The fall '99 catalog will announce activities offered between October 1999 through January 2000. A second catalog will be issued later this winter providing descriptions of the spring 2000 activities.

In addition, STEP will launch several new course formats this year. One of these, Current Controversies in Medicine, is designed to provide an opportunity for lively exchange of information on current topics of interest and debate within the NIH community. These events usually will last 3 to 4 hours and will require no advance registration. The topic for this fall is "Informed Consent" on Thursday, Nov. 18, in which a moderated debate will be held on three key ethical issues faced in today's research with human subjects.

A second new format, Workplace Strategies, was created to provide opportunities for scientific and nonscientific staff to improve effectiveness in the workplace. These events usually will last 1 to 2 hours and will not require advance registration. To launch this new format, STEP will offer a 90-minute session on "Humor in the Workplace: Laughing Matters," on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

STEP will continue to offer the popular Science for All series designed to provide opportunities for all staff to learn about recent scientific advances as they relate to contemporary health issues. These events usually last 2 to 3 hours and require no advance registration. Two programs will be offered this fall. The first, "Science Fiction to Science Fact: Predicting the Future of Medicine," on Thursday, Dec. 9, will explore how the "science fiction" of the past is being used in medicine today and is shaping the future. The second, "Stem Cells: Nature's Repair Shop," on Wednesday, Jan. 12, will provide information on stem cells and their potential for treating disease.

Also, stay tuned for the release of the spring 2000 STEP catalog where the mix of new and familiar formats, together with exciting topics, will continue. Topics for the catalog include: Science Communication: Give It to Me Straight!; NIH and Universities: Common Interests, Contrasting Worlds; Addiction: Old Problems, New Science; and Current Issues in Food Safety: Food for Thought. NIH extramural staff at all grade levels and job categories are encouraged to participate. STEP will post the times and locations on the Web and by fliers about 2 weeks before the event.

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