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Vol. LXIII, No. 25
December 9, 2011
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‘Bringing Science to Life’
Symposium Closes NINR 25th Anniversary

On the front page...

Dr. Rita Colwell speaks at NINR anniversary event.
Dr. Rita Colwell speaks at NINR anniversary event.
The National Institute of Nursing Research recently brought its 25th anniversary commemoration to a close with a nursing science symposium. While speakers looked back over a quarter century of research highlights, the focus of the symposium, “Bringing Science to Life: A Healthier Tomorrow,” was to build on these accomplishments for the future. As NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady said, “The story of nursing and nursing science is the story of bringing science to life and of creating a healthier today and healthier tomorrows.”

Dr. Rita Colwell, distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, opened with an overview of an international nursing research project that addressed the spread of cholera in rural villages of Bangladesh. A research team found an inexpensive, easy-to-use and readily available method to prepare drinking water from local ponds and rivers—filter it through old sari cloth.

Continued...

Why old cloth? Because the worn and frayed fibers were more effective at catching plankton and particulate matter that harbor the cholera bacterium. This work, funded by NINR, helped reduce the incidence of cholera in some areas by up to 50 percent. As Colwell noted, “[NINR] has provided many ways of introducing nursing science to improve health care in the United States and around the world.”

Panelists at the NINR science symposium include (from l) Dr. J. Randall Curtis, Dr. Kathleen Dracup, Dr. Martha Curley, Dr. Marjana Tomic-Canic and Dr. Sandra Dunbar.

Panelists at the NINR science symposium include (from l) Dr. J. Randall Curtis, Dr. Kathleen Dracup, Dr. Martha Curley, Dr. Marjana Tomic-Canic and Dr. Sandra Dunbar.

Photos: Michael Spencer

Dr. Michael Gottesman, NIH deputy director for intramural research, noted the many ways that nursing research has grown within the Clinical Center, and in particular the commitment of the NINR Intramural Research Program (IRP) to research training. Under the leadership of scientific director Dr. Raymond Dionne, NINR IRP scientists and trainees have contributed new insights into the measurement and management of pain, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress and symptoms related to cancer and chemotherapy.

Dr. Karen Daley, president of the American Nurses Association, stated that “science is about asking the right questions, and no one is in a better position to ask the right questions than the nurse researchers and their colleagues in nursing practice.”

Dr. Anand Parekh, deputy assistant secretary for health (science and medicine) at HHS, added that the common factor drawing nurses, doctors and other clinicians into health care is the belief that “health plays a foundational role in ensuring that individuals can meet their goals in life and reach the American dream.”
NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady (l) presents appreciation plaque in honor of Sen. Daniel Inouye to his staff member, Lt. Col. Maureen Charles.

NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady (l) presents appreciation plaque in honor of Sen. Daniel Inouye to his staff member, Lt. Col. Maureen Charles.

Grady presented a plaque of appreciation to Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii in recognition of his long-standing commitment to nursing and nursing science. Receiving the award on his behalf, staff member and military nurse fellow Lt. Col. Maureen Charles noted that Inouye was involved in the founding of the National Center for Nursing Research at NIH in 1986 and with the re-designation of the center as an institute in 1993.

Several NINR-funded scientists discussed their research projects and findings. A poster session following the symposium featured over 100 posters on clinical and research topics in genetics; end-of-life, HIV and chronic illness; family health; health disparities; and symptom management.

The symposium also marked the release of NINR’s new publication, Bringing Science to Life: NINR Strategic Plan. Intended for researchers, clinicians, stakeholders and the public, the document outlines the role that NINR-supported science can play in addressing the nation’s most pressing health and health care challenges and details the institute’s strategic priorities for the conduct and support of scientific research over the next 5 years and beyond. The new plan is available for download at www.ninr.nih.gov.

To close out the day and an eventful anniversary year, Grady said, “We are standing at the fulcrum of a national movement to redesign, reinvent and vastly improve our health care system and nursing and nursing science have emerged as central drivers for these improvements…how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to change the world for the better.” NIHRecord Icon


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