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NIH Record  
Vol. LXIII, No. 11
  May 27, 2011
 Features
NIAMS To Mark 25 Years of Improving Lives Through Discovery
NIH Celebrates Earth Day/Take Your Child To Work Day in Record Numbers
Weather Cooperates with High-Spirited Hike Day
Genetic Clues Help Explain Mysterious Leprosy Infections
NIAID-Developed Technology Key in First FDA-Approved Norovirus Test
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‘Sharing the Sandbox Equally’
Screen Star Davis Urges Gender Balance in Media
ORWH director Dr. Vivian Pinn (l) welcomes film and television actress Geena Davis to NIH to talk about gender portrayals and health.
ORWH director Dr. Vivian Pinn (l) welcomes film and television actress Geena Davis to NIH to talk about gender portrayals and health.

Thelma and Louise character aside, screen star Geena Davis never set out to be a crusader. She didn’t dream as a youngster of starting her own non-profit research foundation. She simply sat down one day to watch videos with her toddler daughter. What she saw was eye-opening for her as a mother, woman and entertainer.

“Because of my awareness of female representation, I was absolutely stunned to see—and noticed immediately—that there seemed to be far fewer female characters in what the kids were seeing,” Davis said. “Show after show and movie after movie, it really seemed very striking to me. I thought, in the 21st century, surely by now—for kids at least—we should be showing boys and girls sharing the sandbox equally. Doesn’t seem like there would be much point in showing children such an imbalanced world.”


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Somerman Named NIDCR Director

Dr. Martha J. Somerman has been appointed director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. She is currently dean of the University of Washington School of Dentistry, a position she has held since 2002. She is expected to begin her duties as NIDCR director late this summer.

“I am delighted that Dr. Somerman will be bringing her exceptional research expertise and administrative skills to this leadership position at the NIDCR,” said NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, who announced the appointment on May 2. “I would also like to thank Dr. Isabel Garcia for her outstanding service as acting director of NIDCR since August 2010.”

Somerman will oversee a budget of $410 million and lead a staff of more than 400 researchers and administrators on campus as well as hundreds of grantees at universities, medical schools, dental schools and other research institutions.


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