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Vol. LXIV, No. 6
March 16, 2012

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Exec Secís Gill Retires from Bldg. 1 Career

Tom Gill joined NIH’s executive secretariat as a writer-editor and worked in exec sec for nearly 20 years. He retires Mar. 31.
Tom Gill joined NIH’s executive secretariat as a writer-editor and worked in exec sec for nearly 20 years. He retires Mar. 31.

Tom Gill, who joined NIH’s executive secretariat as a writer-editor and worked in exec sec for nearly 20 years, retires Mar. 31 after a 32-year federal career that included civilian stints with the Army and the National Defense University. After decades of putting other peoples’ words onto letters, documents and books, the Prince George’s County native looks forward to writing his own script.

Which won’t be difficult for a holder of both undergraduate and master’s degrees in English from the University of Maryland; he has long nourished interests in music, theater and the outdoors.

“I was never one of those guys who wondered what to do with themselves after retirement,” he said. “I have a long list of things I want to do.”

Gill recalls that his federal career began on St. Patrick’s Day, 1980. “I worked under the sidewalk on Independence Ave., between 10th and 12th Sts. It was a storage area that had been converted to office space. It was a horrible office, but a great location.”

During his year underground with the Headquarters of the Army, Gill spent lunch hours watching films at the Hirshhorn Museum, “which was a pretty fantastic way to spend lunch.”

Next came 3 years in anonymous Army space in Alexandria, followed by a relatively idyllic posting to Ft. McNair in southwest D.C., where Gill helped research fellows write books and monographs for 8 years at the National Defense University.

“That was really a fun job,” he recalls. “The good projects we turned into publications. Some were picked up by international affairs departments at universities.”

The university, whose students were mostly colonels, encouraged healthy doses of recreation, including noontime soccer games and long runs. However, when new leadership arrived and roles within his office were changing, Gill read the writing on the wall and decamped for NIH.

He arrived in April 1992, when Dr. Bernadine Healy was NIH director. Gill remembers handling a heavy volume of her correspondence. And during Dr. Harold Varmus’s tenure as NIH director, Gill handled many information-gathering jobs that involved developing contacts across the agency.

In recent years, he has done less writing and editing. “I became supervisor of the records side of the office, doing mostly computer stuff while still working with a lot of good people and interesting people,” he said.

Gill says he’s leaving now “because I can. It seems conducive to go, with all the attacks on federal workers. I began working for the government at age 22. My only real long-term plan when I started was eventually being able to retire from the government relatively young.”

Gill recently spent spring break with one of his two sons, who is a music major at Indiana University. He also plans to visit London—“My favorite place on the planet”—during the upcoming Summer Olympics. A guitarist in his church’s modern music group, he plans to continue that, along with possible appearances at local open mics. He also wants to read more and return to running and cycling.

Something he said of his son seems to apply to him as well: “I told him that he’s lucky because the thing that he’s best at [playing percussion], he also loves to do.” Gill will certainly rate exceptional at retirement.—Rich McManus

NIA’s Salive Honored by ACPM
NIA’s Dr. Marcel E. Salive receives the Ronald Davis Special Recognition Award from ACPM President Miriam Alexander.
NIA’s Dr. Marcel E. Salive receives the Ronald Davis Special Recognition Award from ACPM President Miriam Alexander.

The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) recently awarded the Ronald Davis Special Recognition Award to Dr. Marcel E. Salive, a medical officer in NIA’s Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology. The honor is given annually in recognition of leadership and outstanding contributions to the field of preventive medicine and is named for ACPM fellow and past American Medical Association president Dr. Ronald Davis.

Salive, who accepted the award at the organization’s annual meeting in Orlando, was recognized for outstanding public health leadership in the development of Medicare coverage for new preventive services in his prior position with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He is a fellow and a regent of ACPM and is trustee and vice chair of the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Salive is a captain in the Public Health Service; during his 23-year career he has held leadership positions with NIH, CMS and the Food and Drug Administration.

NCI Alumnus Banfield Mourned

Dr. William G. Banfield, 91, a pioneer researcher in electron microscopy at the National Cancer Institute’s Laboratory of Pathology who retired in 1980 after a 26-year NIH career, died on Jan. 13 at home in Rockville.

Banfield came to the Laboratory of Pathology a year after its establishment in 1953 as a diagnostic facility for the Clinical Center.

Dr. William Banfield, circa 1980
Dr. William Banfield, circa 1980

Trained in the then-new field of electron microscopy at Yale University, he was the first with such skills in the NCI laboratory and was one of the first scientists to obtain images of the polyoma virus, a tumor-causing agent in mice.

As the research applications of the electron microscope progressed, Banfield was involved in refining the technology and developing a more versatile instrument, the scanning electron microscope.

He also helped develop the electron probe, a device that could identify small amounts of elements such as sodium, lead and mercury in tissues and cells.

Banfield graduated from Rhode Island University in 1941 at the top of his class, majoring in agriculture.

During World War II, he went to medical school at Yale and then entered the Army Medical Corps. After leaving the military, Banfield was recruited to NIH.

In retirement, Banfield raised sheep on his 11-acre farm in Maryland. Originally, the herd supplied serum for research, but Banfield raised them for the local mutton and wool market. He was also a pilot, scuba diver and spelunker, and had obtained a law degree from American University.

Banfield is survived by his wife Joan and his three children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Liffers Named NCCAM Executive Officer
Wendy Liffers

Wendy Liffers is the new executive officer at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She will oversee management, administrative, financial, information-systems, personnel and related functions of the center. NCCAM has 95 FTE and contractor staff and a FY 2011 budget of $127.7 million.

Liffers first joined NIH in 1985 as a Presidential Management Intern. She then moved to senior leadership positions that have varied from legislative analysis to science planning to management and operations, first at NIAID and later at NIDCR. She comes to NCCAM after 7 years with the NIH Office of Management, where she was associate director for management and operations and also completed a detail as acting OD executive officer.  

Said NCCAM director Dr. Josephine Briggs, “As NCCAM moves into the future, guided by our third strategic plan, we look forward to benefitting from Wendy’s diverse experience and strong leadership.”

Liffers received a law degree from American University Washington College of Law and her master’s degree in international affairs from that university’s School of International Service.

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