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NIDDK Director Honors 'Best and Brightest'
By Jane DeMouy
"If I know whether I'm coming or going, it's only because of Kathy Lyons," quipped NIDDK director Dr. Allen Spiegel. Lyons, whose responsibilities as Spiegel's administrative assistant include managing his meeting and travel schedule, was one of many NIDDK staff the director praised at a recent ceremony in Natcher auditorium. Spiegel and other senior staff initiated the ceremony to express appreciation to employees who work creatively, selflessly and with dedication.
Noting that NIDDK works smoothly and productively, Spiegel likened the institute to a living organism whose health comes from the sum of all its parts: intramural labs, extramural divisions, grants management, review, the administrative office, health education programs, budget and policy analysis all work together collectively, he asserted.
He then honored specific individuals with newly created NIDDK Director's Awards. Dr. David Badman was recognized for "exemplary leadership in establishing scientific and administrative excellence for NIDDK" in its extramural hematology research programs. EEO Officer Becky Tudisco won praise for "outstanding leadership and dedication in developing and managing NIDDK's Equal Employment Opportunity Office."
Electronic congratulations went to Dr. William Knowler of the Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch for "exemplary advocacy and commitment to the development, design and completion of the nationwide study to prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus, particularly among Southwestern American Indians." Knowler and his colleagues' presence beamed from Arizona to Natcher by teleconference. Executive Officer Barbara Merchant presented each awardee with an inscribed blue desktop-size globe to commemorate the honor. Dr. Lothar Hennighausen, chief of the Laboratory of Genetics and Physiology, received an Equal Opportunity Special Achievement Award for "exemplary service in mentoring minority students."
NIDDK deputy director Dr. Griffin Rodgers took the podium next to present "You Make A Difference" awards to Dr. James Baber, Jody Evans, Bill Foltin, Dr. H. Martin Garaffo, Sylvester Jackson, Arlene Jenkins, Sandra S. Logan, Denise Payne and David Wittenberg. This new distinction recognizes the hard work of those whose cooperation, flexibility and dedication have a significant impact on the institute's ability to realize its goals. Commenting on the long hours the recipients sometimes put in, Rodgers noted to the amusement of the audience that they were being given travel bags containing a night shirt, coffee mug, snacks and other sustenance to see them through their overtime efforts.
Spiegel returned to acknowledge the loyalty of several employees who have served the public for 10, 20, 30 and 40 years. These milestones were marked by service pins and certificates.
Nearing his fifth anniversary as NIDDK director, Spiegel recalled highlights of his years in the front office. "The doubling of the budget, the establishment of genetics consortia, the conclusion and beginning of major clinical trials, initiatives made possible by the special funding program in support of research on type 1 diabetes, obesity initiatives, new translation research initiatives have been possible because of all the wonderful people I have working with me. If NIDDK is a great institute and I think it is it's because of all of you," Spiegel concluded.
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