On hand for the visit from Tougaloo College students were (front row, from l) Dr. Chitra Krishnamurti, deputy director, Office of Research Training and Minority Health (ORTMH); Dr. Helena Mishoe, director, ORTMH; Andrea Haynes; Dr. Susan Shurin, acting director, NHLBI; Joshua Ware, Fatissa Allen, Tougaloo College math professor; and Calvin Jackson, chief, News Media Branch, OCPL, OD. In the middle row are (from l) Nara Gavini, ORTMH; Morgan
Woerner, NHLBI OC; Curtis Haynes, Mohamed Mohamed, Shani Butler, LeBroderick Woods and Dr. Nimr Fahmy, Tougaloo College
math professor. At rear are (from l) Jamal Perkins, Ahmed Abdelraham, Joy Walker, Hadassah Willett, Lareka Brown and Elizabeth Jones.
Dr. Robert Hoyt (l) of NHLBI’s Laboratory of Animal Medicine and Surgery takes students on a tour of his lab.
Future epidemiologists and public health professionals
from Tougaloo College toured campus in August as part of an education and training program
sponsored by NHLBI’s Jackson Heart Study (JHS). The decade-long population study, based in Jackson, Miss., is the largest single-site effort ever undertaken to examine cardiovascular disease
among African Americans.
NHLBI acting director Dr. Susan Shurin welcomed
the students to their 2-day tour. She touched on her own career trajectory—from working with patients as a pediatric hematologist-
oncologist to serving as acting director of NHLBI—and how it shaped her life experiences. Shurin also underscored the importance of taking on new endeavors and challenging oneself.
“It’s important to nurture the next generation of investigators,” she said. “You have so many opportunities ahead of you, and we are thrilled to offer our insight and guidance as you pursue your own careers in the field of biomedical science.”
Tougaloo College is home of the NHLBI-supported
Jackson Heart Study Education and Training Program. The program trains high school and college
students and health professionals in public health and epidemiology. Many of the scholars selected to be part of the training program were familiar with the JHS prior to attending Tougaloo,
which helped spur their interest in research and medicine. The annual Tougaloo-NIH visit is supported by NHLBI’s Office of Research Training
and Minority Health and is a highlight for the staff there.
From exploring the Clinical Center to learning about research training opportunities, the students
gained a unique perspective on day-to-day operations on campus. Dr. Joel Moss, deputy chief of NHLBI’s Translational Medicine Branch, guided the students through the CC, including patient care units and research laboratories.
“I enjoyed learning about the various institutes and centers at the NIH because it gave me a better understanding of the work that is conducted here,” said scholar Mohamed Mohamed, a chemistry and political science major. “When Dr. Moss discussed the research on lymphangioleiomyomatosis cells, it made me understand why it’s important to have a strong research background.”
On the second day of the visit, students toured the Laboratory of Animal Medicine and Surgery with lab chief Dr. Robert Hoyt and other lab members.
Prior to the tour, a panel of NHLBI interns—Maung-Tin Kyaw, David Osei-Hwedieh, Abiola Oki, Claire Liepmann and Joseph Nam—discussed their experiences in different laboratories. They encouraged
the students to apply for internships early in their undergraduate education.
Scholar Andrea Haynes stressed the importance of visiting NIH as part of the JHS training program. “Public health is a major issue that needs more attention,” she said. “This was my first time at the NIH campus and it was exciting to be in a different
environment—there are so many opportunities here that I can pursue.”
In September, the JHS celebrated its 10th anniversary
with a scientific conference, “Toward Resolution
of Cardiovascular Health Disparities.” It brought together members of the JHS and scientific
community to mark the study’s biomedical and historic significance and also highlighted the JHS Scholars Program.