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Vol. LVII, No. 18
September 9, 2005
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Third Annual NIH History Day, Sept. 22

The Office of NIH History will sponsor the third annual NIH History Day on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 11 a.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10. The theme of this year's program is "AIDS and the NIH." The event will celebrate the vast amount of work done at NIH in the 1980s on the then-new and mysterious disease. Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the first publication on HIV/AIDS in 1981, making this an opportune time to look back on early research programs.

The program will include welcoming remarks by Dr. Michael Gottesman, NIH deputy director for intramural research, and NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the researchers who first studied the disease. The main event of the day will be an illustrated lecture by Office of NIH History director Dr. Victoria Harden titled "'An Indescribable Experience': NIH Researchers and the AIDS Epidemic, 1981-1990." At the lecture, all NIH staff who worked on AIDS research or patient care in any capacity during the 1980s will be asked to stand and be recognized.

As part of the event, two panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will hang in the lobby of the Clinical Research Center from Sept. 12 to Oct. 12. The quilt is the largest community art project in the world and has been visited by more than 14 million people worldwide.

NIH historian Harden has done extensive research on the NIH response to the AIDS epidemic. In the 1980s and 1990s, she interviewed dozens of researchers here, including scientists, administrators and Clinical Center nurses about their experience. In 2001, with NIAID, she prepared the web site "In Their Own Words: NIH Researchers Recall the Early Days of AIDS" (http://history.nih.gov/NIHInOwnWords/). She has published numerous articles about her research on AIDS history and is co-editor of two books, AIDS and the Historian (NIH, 1989) and AIDS and the Public Debate: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (IOS Press, 1995). Before beginning her work on the history of AIDS research, she wrote Inventing the NIH: Federal Biomedical Research Policy, 1887-1937 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986) and, for NIAID, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: History of a Twentieth Century Disease (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990).

All members of the NIH community are invited to attend the History Day lecture and learn more about the contributions of NIH staff members to fighting the worldwide AIDS epidemic.

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