An old Chinese proverb states, "What I hear, I forget; what I see,
I remember; what I do, I understand." The same wisdom can be applied
to those who visit NIH, wanting to know how it works. Each workday,
newcomers who want to grasp the immensity of what NIH is about mingle
largely unnoticed amid the workforce. Helping them is the Visitor
Information Center (VIC), a place for the wide range of visitors
that includes scientists, congressional aides, patient advocates,
lawyers and knowledge-seekers of all ages.
|Dr. Han Fan, a cancer pathologist visiting
from China, tours NIH from Natcher to the CRC with seasoned
guide Carol Jabir of the Visitor Information Center.
Part of the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, OD, the
VIC is where visitors find face-to-face communication and the human
connection to NIH.
The VIC benefited from relocating in 2003 from the B1 level of
Bldg. 10 to a more prominent setting on the first floor of the
Natcher Bldg., whose ambient light and convenience to the Metro
station attract visitors.
A shelf located just inside the main
Natcher entrance features a wide selection of publications by the
27 institutes and centers that comprise NIH. An organizational
chart of the agency helps orient guests. VIC staff also prepare
information packets by request and can refer visitors to other
sources of information.
Entering the VIC's community area, visitors stroll beneath a display
of historical flags that tell the story of NIH's origins and the
organizations under which it has served. Across the room is an
exhibit featuring the Nobel laureates NIH has supported over the
Visitors often want to know if there are daily tours and how they
can be arranged. If it happens to be Wednesday, there is an 11
a.m. tour of the Clinical Research Center that includes an overview
of NIH. The overview is also offered at 11 a.m. each Monday and
Friday at the VIC. Other tours are available by appointment and
generally run 2 hours.
|Dr. Helena Mishoe (c), director of NHLBI’s
Office of Minority Health Affairs, introduces NIH to visitors
from Tougaloo College at the VIC.
Among NIH's recent guests were members of Girls Explorations in
Mathematics and Science, a program sponsored by Delaware State
University that included 27 students ranging from grades 9 through
11. The program encourages women and minorities to consider careers
in science. Often, NIH scientists will come to the VIC to give
presentations to such groups. On other occasions, the visitors
will go to the labs to hear presentations.
Other recent visitors included the summer biomedical science institute
of Georgetown University, whose students are mainly minorities;
a group of doctors from Andrews Air Force Base who toured the Porter
Neuroscience Center; and a group of engineering students who visited
NIH's new cogeneration power plant in Bldg. 11A.
To arrange a VIC visit, call (301) 496-1776.