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Vol. LIX, No. 18
August 24, 2007

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NIAMS director Dr. Stephen Katz was recently presented the “Change It” award by Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy President and CEO Pat Furlong.

Katz Receives 'Change It' Award

NIAMS director Dr. Stephen Katz was recently presented the "Change It" award by Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy President and CEO Pat Furlong. The award was given "in recognition of his tireless work on behalf of the Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophy community and in support of our nation's overall biomedical research agenda." As chair of NIH's muscular dystrophy coordinating committee, Katz coordinated development of the Muscular Dystrophy Research and Education Plan for the NIH and a subsequent document, the Action Plan for the Muscular Dystrophies, which outlines and prioritizes specific aims that now are being pursued by NIH-funded researchers, government agencies in addition to NIH and voluntary organizations. More information about the plans, the committee and NIH research on muscular dystrophies is available at

Dr. Joyce HunterHunter Named NCMHD Deputy Director

Dr. Joyce Hunter has been named deputy director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

An 18-year NIH veteran, she is a cardiovascular physiologist
and award-winning administrator. Prior to joining NCMHD, Hunter served as deputy director in the Division
of Extramural Activities at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. She has received the NIH Director’s Award, NIH Award of Merit and the NIDDK Merit Award.
“Dr. Hunter’s long experience in managing research programs at the NIH make her perfectly suited to be my deputy and direct the day-to-day operations of NCMHD,” said Dr. John Ruffin, center director.

Hunter began her NIH career at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, where she progressed from being a program officer to chief of the vascular research training and career development group, and later chief of the clinical studies and training scientific review section. She has also served as chair or member of several trans-NIH committees. In addition, Hunter has received international recognition from the Bolivian-American Medical Society, Inc., for her work contributing to the development of minority scientists.

Dr. John LaffanLaffan Joins NIGMS's Review Office

Dr. John Laffan recently joined NIGMS as a scientific review administrator in the Office of Scientific Review. His responsibilities include managing the review of selected research training, program project, center and Minority Biomedical Research Support program grant applications. He was previously an associate professor in the department of microbiology at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, where he also served as an adjunct assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology and an adjunct associate professor in the department of pathology. There, his research focused on the molecular aspects of biological control mechanisms. Laffan earned a B.A. in biology from Hamilton College and a Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemistry from Wesleyan University. He later conducted postdoctoral research at Wesleyan and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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