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Vol. LXI, No. 20
October 2, 2009
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Tougaloo College Students Visit NIH


Students from Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss., visited campus recently as part of the Jackson Heart Study training program, an initiative supported by the Office of Research Training and Minority Health (ORTMH) at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

The program is designed to help prepare students for careers in research, medicine, public health and epidemiology related to cardiovascular diseases and is a joint collaboration with Jackson State University, Tougaloo and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The Jackson Heart Study is the largest cohort study to investigate the genetic factors that affect high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other diseases in African Americans.

Dr. Robert Hoyt (l) of NHLBI’s Laboratory of Animal Medicine and Surgery takes students on a tour of his lab. Calvin Jackson (in suit), chief of NIH’s News Media Branch, is surrounded by students of his alma mater, Tougaloo College.

Dr. Robert Hoyt (l) of NHLBI’s Laboratory of Animal Medicine and Surgery takes students on a tour of his lab.

Calvin Jackson (in suit), chief of NIH’s News Media Branch, is surrounded by students of his alma mater, Tougaloo College.
During their 2-day visit, the 12 students engaged with leaders across NIH. NHLBI deputy director Dr. Susan Shurin opened the visit, telling the students, “The future of medicine and public health is getting the best and brightest minds to address our growing challenges.”

ORTMH director Dr. Helena Mishoe and her deputy Dr. Chitra Krishnamurti, who helped direct much of the preparation for the program, introduced a new NHLBI initiative, eMentoring, which is designed to facilitate online mentoring to students and junior faculty in a science-related field.

In the front row are (from l) Tougaloo College chaperone Dr. Nimr Fahmy; Dr. Helena Mishoe, director of NHLBI’s Office of Research Training and Minority Health (ORTMH); Dr. Susan Shurin, deputy director, NHLBI; Tamera D. Hughes; chaperone Mary M. Crump; Cheryl Nelson, health statistician, NHLBI; Dr. Chitra Krishnamurti, deputy director, ORTMH; Edward Lyles, intern in that office. In the middle row are (from l) Jordan Henly, Zakia Butler, Ashley Poullard, Grejika Abram, Dr. Nara Gavini, ORTMH, and Morgan Woerner, NHLBI press assistant. At rear are (from l) Edjohnier Phillips, Jasmine T. Washington, Obie McNair, Maurice Crawford, JeMarcus Welch, Janae’ Roberts and Daren Walters.
In the front row are (from l) Tougaloo College chaperone Dr. Nimr Fahmy; Dr. Helena Mishoe, director of NHLBI’s Office of Research Training and Minority Health (ORTMH); Dr. Susan Shurin, deputy director, NHLBI; Tamera D. Hughes; chaperone Mary M. Crump; Cheryl Nelson, health statistician, NHLBI; Dr. Chitra Krishnamurti, deputy director, ORTMH; Edward Lyles, intern in that office. In the middle row are (from l) Jordan Henly, Zakia Butler, Ashley Poullard, Grejika Abram, Dr. Nara Gavini, ORTMH, and Morgan Woerner, NHLBI press assistant. At rear are (from l) Edjohnier Phillips, Jasmine T. Washington, Obie McNair, Maurice Crawford, JeMarcus Welch, Janae’ Roberts and Daren Walters.
Students also met Tougaloo alumni including Calvin Jackson, chief of the News Media Branch in NIH’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison, and NCI research fellows Drs. Audray Harris and Kimberly Jackson, all of whom shared stories with the students and reflected on how their experiences at Tougaloo helped define who and where they are today as members of the NIH community.

On the second day, the students visited with NHLBI interns as part of a panel discussion. Intramural interns Charisse Henry, Akin Oyalowo, Alonzo Jalan and Fikirte Ashine discussed their backgrounds and shared insights about their research programs. Tougaloo student Janae’ Roberts found the panel particularly interesting and said, “Listening to Charisse talk about how she majored in science and minored in Spanish was really inspiring—it was great to hear about her NHLBI life experiences.”

The tour included visits to the NHLBI laboratories of Drs. Anthony Aletras, Joel Moss and Robert Hoyt, all of whom provided tours and answered questions.

The visiting students are currently pursuing a variety of undergraduate degrees from biology and chemistry to mass communications. After listening to Jackson discuss his position and the role of OCPL, student Obie McNair, a mass communications major, said, “What impacted me was to see how communications is applied at the NIH. I have an interest in science and communications and now I know how to combine the two.”

The students’ visit to NIH marks the sixth year of the program. Said Mishoe, “Each year we are excited to bring a new cadre of Tougaloo scholars to the NIH. The power of their imagination after visiting the NIH makes their career possibilities truly infinite. We are delighted to play a part in their future.”—Morgan Woerner NIHRecord Icon

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