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Vol. LVIII, No. 10
May 19, 2006

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Women's Health Expert Finnegan Retires

Without question, boredom has never entered her life — it's simply never been an issue. Long before the Women's Health Initiative became almost a household name, Dr. Loretta Finnegan's research plate was overflowing — and health consumers, especially women and children, have reaped the benefits. She recently retired from NIH, where she served as medical advisor to Dr. Vivian Pinn, director of the Office of Research on Women's Health.

Well known in the fields of women's health and perinatal addiction, Finnegan received her medical degree from Hahnemann University (now Drexel University College of Medicine) in Philadelphia in 1964. She later earned honorary degrees from Chestnut Hill College, Ursinus College and the University of New England. She was a consultant to numerous federal and state agencies. Her academic and professional accomplishments were recognized by election to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Finnegan came to federal service in 1990 after a sabbatical in Paris from Jefferson Medical College, where she was professor of pediatrics and psychiatry. She was named associate director of the Office of Treatment Improvement and associate director for medical and clinical affairs of the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention in the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration. "This was at a time when women's health issues were of increasing importance to the government," recalls Finnegan, who added that ORWH also was established in 1990.

In 1992, Finnegan was appointed senior advisor on women's health issues at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. From 1994 to 1997, she served as director of the Women's Health Initiative. Also, from 1994 to 2000, she was director of the WHI Community Prevention Study, NHLBI. In 1997, she was appointed medical advisor to Pinn.

The author or coauthor of more than 160 scientific publications on such topics as the pharmacologic effects of illicit substances in fetal and maternal populations, Finnegan has delivered over 900 presentations in the U.S. and abroad and has been a visiting professor in 18 foreign countries. She has received many awards from such groups as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Women's Health Research.

Finnegan is known for the development of a landmark program, Family Center, for pregnant, drug-dependent women and their children. The Finnegan score for neonatal abstinence is used widely in the U.S. and abroad.

In retirement, she has established Finnegan Consulting, Inc., which addresses education, research and treatment issues relating to women's health and perinatal addiction. She looks forward to her new pursuit, but says, "I will sincerely miss the academic atmosphere of NIH and the ability to always have an exchange of ideas with the institutes."

She will also pursue other interests such as tennis and spending more time with her four children (three physicians and one attorney) and grandchildren. "Over four decades, I've juggled a career and family responsibilities. Now I can dedicate more time to that large and wonderful family and manage my career in a relaxed fashion," Finnegan concluded.

Lipsky Honored by Japan Rheumatism Foundation

Dr. Peter Lipsky, chief of the NIAMS Autoimmunity Branch, was recently awarded the JRF International Award by the Japan Rheumatism Foundation. The award recognizes investigators who have made outstanding international contributions to the advancement of rheumatology-related research. Additional criteria were leadership, mentoring and impact on rheumatologic practice. Lipsky joined NIAMS over 6 years ago from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He has taken a leadership role in the development of new biological agents for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and has published extensively.

NIAAA's Calhoun Retires with 39 Years of Federal Service

After a federal career spanning 39 years, Dr. Faye Calhoun, NIAAA deputy director, retired on Apr. 29.

She began her government service at the Food and Drug Administration in 1967 as a pharmacologist and continued to serve as special assistant to the deputy director and later as acting chief of the Extramural Program in the Bureau of Drugs. After serving 2 years as chief of grants administration and review at the National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health, Calhoun joined NIH in 1982.

Her love of toxicology attracted her to NIH, where her first position was scientific review administrator for the toxicology study section in the Division of Research Grants (now the Center for Scientific Review). In 1987, she became chief of the physiological sciences review section and provided oversight for 17 study sections. In 1989, Calhoun became deputy chief for review at DRG.

She came to NIAAA in 1995 as associate director for collaborative research and in 2003 rose to deputy director of the institute.

Calhoun facilitated interagency and international research and outreach initiatives and interacted with organizations interested in alcohol issues. "Translating research results into news that can be used and understood has been my goal in giving presentations to outside associations," she said.

During her tenure at NIAAA, she also oversaw a broad portfolio of projects that included chairing the interagency coordinating committee on fetal alcohol syndrome; developing an international program for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; and overseeing National Alcohol Screening Day.

"One of the things that has made Dr. Calhoun so valuable to NIAAA is her ability to draw on decades of experience with federal science programs to shape institute initiatives and enlist the collaboration of other agencies and organizations," said Dr. Ting-Kai Li, NIAAA director. "She is an articulate spokesperson, and her devotion to the issues surrounding alcohol and health has done much to engage others in our community."

Calhoun has received many awards including the 2005 Heart Award from the Association of Addiction Professionals, two HHS Secretary's Awards and two NIH Director's Awards.

A native Washingtonian, she is looking forward to retirement and is excited about spending time at her homes in D.C. and Durham, N.C. She plans to stay involved in alcohol research and wants to learn to speak Spanish.

Calhoun said she will "miss the people the most and their random acts of kindness. I found some of the best people that I've ever worked with in my career at the NIH; they are very dedicated, open and supportive of new ideas and ways of working together."

NIGMS Grantees Grab Gairdner Awards

Dr. Joan A. Steitz
Dr. Thomas D. Pollard
Two long-time NIGMS grantees have been named winners of the 2006 Gairdner Foundation International Award for extraordinary accomplishments in medical research. The awards are often referred to as "Nobel predictors" since nearly a quarter of Gairdner awardees have gone on to win the Nobel prize. This year's Gairdner recipients include Dr. Joan A. Steitz and Dr. Thomas D. Pollard, both of Yale University.

Steitz, Sterling professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, is being honored for her "discovery of the reactivity of autoimmune sera with nuclear riboprotein particles and elucidation of the roles of small nuclear RNAs in gene expression." An NIGMS grantee for the past 35 years, she also receives support from NCI.

Pollard, Sterling professor and chair of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, is being recognized for his "discoveries related to understanding the cytoskeleton of the cell and the basis of cell motility and its relevance to human disease." NIGMS has supported his research for 29 years.

Steitz and Pollard are among five individuals honored by this year's awards. Other NIH-supported winners include former long-time NIGMS grantee Dr. Ronald M. Evans of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, who is now an NICHD, NIDDK and NHLBI grantee; and NICHD grantee Dr. Ralph Brinster of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

The Gairdner awardees will receive over $25,000 in prize money at a ceremony in Toronto in October.

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