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NIH Record  
Vol. LVIII, No. 20
  October 6, 2006
Extraordinary Is the Norm for Director’s Pioneers
‘Energy Month’ Offers Ways to Save
IC Directors To Compete in CFC Free-Throw Competition
Poster Day Honors NIA Retiree Hughes
New ‘Captain’ Joins NIGMS
Five Grantees Win 2006 Lasker Awards
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NIH Team Races to Prepare for Pandemic Flu
NIH is developing a continuity of operations plan (COOP) for pandemic avian influenza (bird flu). The effort is being led by Dr. Pierre Noel, assisted by a team of 10 working groups. The goal is to maintain critical operations and protect patients, visitors and employees, as well as animals and ongoing work.

“We need a critical number of employees to maintain operations [in the event of an emergency],” Noel says. “A lot of people ask, ‘What if panflu does not occur?’ The answer is: We are working through a process that will apply to any emergency on campus. Even if panflu never occurs, we will still be much better off because of this effort.”

Chief of hematology in the Clinical Center’s department of laboratory medicine, Noel was appointed last winter as pandemic flu COOP coordinator (see NIH Record, Mar. 10, 2006). An Air Force Special Operations Command flight surgeon and an advisor on weapons of mass destruction, disaster planning and biodefense, Noel also recently accepted a detail as acting associate director for security and emergency response in the Office of Research Services.

Images Boost Health 'Literacy'
Bu Explores Use of Posters in Chinese Public Health
  Type Caption Text Here
  In 1965, a massive public health campaign used posters touting "barefoot doctors," who served China's peasant population.
Say you have a public health problem whose scale is vast: a population of 500 million, with 90 percent living in the countryside, where the literacy rate is 5 percent and life expectancy is 35 years. Malnutrition is stark. Disease and mortality rates are atrocious—millions of cases of cholera, smallpox, typhoid, malaria, TB and schistosomiasis (“snail fever”). Meanwhile, the country is emerging from decades of conflict, foreign invasion and civil war.

This was China, 1949.

“Most major diseases have a long history,” says Dr. Liping Bu, professor of history at Alma College in Alma, Mich., and an NLM visiting scholar. Her recent History of Medicine seminar, “Public Health and Chinese Society from the 1930s to SARS,” focused on one aspect of modernization: the importance of posters in public health education and propaganda in a society with high illiteracy.