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Vol. LXIV, No. 2
January 20, 2012

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NIAMS Coalition Convenes Outreach, Education Meeting

Attendees at the NIAMS Coalition 2011 outreach and education meeting
Attendees at the NIAMS Coalition 2011 outreach and education meeting

More than 50 individuals representing 40 organizations recently attended the NIAMS Coalition 2011 Outreach & Education Meeting: Creating Connections for Science, at the Bethesda Marriott. The coalition is a group of more than 70 professional and voluntary organizations concerned with NIAMS programs.

The meeting “provides a unique forum for organizations representing a wide array of patients, advocates, researchers and medical professionals to exchange and gather best practices and to ensure that we speak with a unified voice toward our shared goal,” said Annie Kennedy of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and outgoing co-chair of the coalition.

NIAMS director Dr. Stephen Katz provided a state-of-the-institute address focused on the mission and budget and outcomes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. He also commented on ongoing research, organizational activities and partnerships.

“Every voice does count,” said Katz. “You are our best links to the community.”

NIH deputy director for science, outreach and policy Dr. Kathy Hudson updated participants on the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at NIH. She spoke of the need “to figure out new ways to get across the valley of death,” referring to the barriers of cost, time and high failure rates that often hinder new drug development. She also provided examples of how NCATS can help generate innovative methods and technologies to enhance the development, testing and implementation of diagnostics and therapeutics.

John Burklow, director of NIH’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison, and Pat White, director of NIH’s Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis, gave their perspectives on communicating the merits of biomedical research. “We want to make sure that when people read about all the great discoveries that we have supported, they make the connection to NIH,” said Burklow. “We must explain the relevance of science and demonstrate the connections among science, researchers and the impact that NIH research has on the community level.”

White said NIH is working to educate new and veteran members of Congress through interactive meetings and events, finding “emerging champions” and emphasizing NIH’s contributions to future economic growth and global competitiveness. “Once you can make the argument, people see the importance of NIH,” said White.

Afternoon breakout sessions were offered on public/private partnerships, navigating the NIH grants process, making adjustments during difficult financial times and effective use of social media. NIHRecord Icon

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