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Vol. LXIV, No. 11
May 25, 2012
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Milestones

FIC director Dr. Roger Glass
Glass Honored for Global Health Contributions

FIC director Dr. Roger Glass was recently awarded the Program for Global Pediatric Research’s 2012 award for Outstanding Contributions to Global Child Health. The international organization recognized Glass for his achievements in vaccine research and advocacy, pediatrics, epidemiology and mentorship. The award was presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatrics Academic Societies in Boston, during a symposium on the global crisis of childhood diarrhea, which remains one of the major causes of death in the developing world. Glass’s ongoing work in developing vaccines and building a global movement to implement them continues to play a significant role in reducing child mortality and illness worldwide.




Hoover Is NIDDK Exec Officer
Camille Hoover

Camille Hoover was recently named executive officer of NIDDK. She came to the institute from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, where she served as executive officer since 2000. Partnering with the director, she helped create the research enterprise from the ground up. Prior to that position, Hoover had been a social worker for the National Cancer Institute, administrative officer for NCI’s Surgery Branch and manager of one of NCI’s largest administrative resource centers. She is a member of several NIH-wide committees and has received awards including the NIH and NCCAM Directors’ Awards, NIH Merit Awards and the NIH Quality of Work Life Award.




Sipe Retires from CSR

Dr. Jean Sipe recently retired from the Center for Scientific Review.
Dr. Jean Sipe recently retired from the Center for Scientific Review.

Sputnik launched Dr. Jean Sipe’s career. When the news hit about the Soviet spacecraft in 1957, “our teachers encouraged anyone talented in math and science to go into science,” she recalled. “It became the patriotic thing to do.”

Sipe, who recently retired from the Center for Scientific Review, accepted the challenge. She graduated with a B.S. in chemistry from Iowa State University. She also earned her M.S. degree in biochemistry from the University of Washington and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Maryland.

She had a diverse and satisfying career as a researcher, professor, administrator and editor. She joined CSR as a scientific review administrator (now officer, or SRO) in 1997 but worked earlier in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism and Digestive Diseases and National Cancer Institute.

In between stints at NIH, she was an associate and full professor at Boston University School of Medicine. She has been an editor or on the editorial board of many journals, including a founding associate editor and continued involvement with Amyloid: The Journal of Protein Folding Disorders.

When looking for a career transition, Sipe applied to CSR and became SRO for the musculoskeletal tissue engineering study section. But another CSR role offered daily impact on the review process. As chair of the SRO handbook committee and review policy coordinator since 2003, she changed the handbook from a cumbersome book into a continually updated online resource, relied upon not only by CSR, but also elsewhere in NIH and beyond.

“She has turned her experience into a tangible product through her contributions to the SRO handbook,” said Joyce Gibson, CSR division director for clinical and translational sciences. “Jean is well respected by the scientific community that her study section serves and will be sorely missed.”

Colleagues also praised her ability to communicate, keep organized and synthesize diverse information and points of view while remaining calm, cool and collected. “She had superb judgment and a quiet strength and confidence,” said Eugene Carstea, a fellow SRO and member of the handbook committee. He also praised her positive impact on the people around her. “Jean’s example inspired me to look for more ways to get involved,” he said. Relatively new to CSR, he is now acting training coordinator for the office.

“Any question I had, she knew the answer or where to go for it and she was always patient,” said Priscilla Chen, SRO for the skeletal biology development and disease study section.

In characteristic fashion, Sipe thought through when to retire—in the spring, not winter. She will travel to Southeast Asia and enjoy what she called “simple pleasures, like seeing the cherry blossoms.” Looking ahead, she will contribute her skills to a worthy cause or organization. As happened after Sputnik, Sipe is ready to answer the call to help society.—Paula Whitacre

A Life of Firsts
NIDDK Mourns Nancy Cummings
By Anne Wright
Dr. Nancy Boucot Cummings

Dr. Nancy Boucot Cummings, former director of NIDDK’s Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases (KUH)—and the institute’s first female division head—died in Washington, D.C., on Mar. 27. She was 85.

Cummings joined NIDDK in 1972, the year Congress extended Medicare coverage to anyone with permanent kidney failure. A 1951 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Cummings worked at the Royal Hospital of St. Bartholomew in London, where she accompanied noted nephrologist Dr. Clifford Wilson on weekly rounds. She then worked at Manchester Royal Infirmary in England under Dr. Robert Platt, an international authority on kidney disease.

Cummings’ life was full of firsts. She was the first woman intern at Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s oldest. She was the first female medical resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the first woman renal fellow at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, under Dr. John P. Merrill, the “father of nephrology.” Cummings was also a research fellow at Harvard Medical School from 1955 to 1959.

“When my mom had her career, it definitely wasn’t an easy place for a woman,” said her daughter, Susan Cummings. “A picture of my mom’s internship class—about 35 men and my mother—sums up what she was up against.”

Cummings may have inherited her determination and inspiration to become a physician from her mother, Dr. Katharine Boucot Sturgis, who earned her medical degree in 1942, two decades after interrupting her education to raise a family.

Throughout Cummings’ career, academia and bioethics remained important. On the faculty at Georgetown University School of Medicine, she was a clinical scholar in the Center for Clinical Bioethics and a fellow in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. She also taught health care ethics at Howard University College of Medicine and was a bioethics consultant at the Clinical Center. She wrote many articles about ethical and legal issues surrounding kidney disease treatment.

According to her daughter, Cummings’ interest in bioethics “was a natural evolution from nephrology: who do you give dialysis to and who do you not give dialysis to, because dialysis was phenomenally expensive.”

During Cummings’ tenure as KUH director in the 1970s and early 1980s, “the division was trying to get dialysis to assume its rightful place as a research topic, which was no easy task,” said Dr. Gary Striker, who succeeded Cummings as director. “People thought of it as being clinically interesting, but not necessarily something to spend a lot of time, money and energy on. Dr. Cummings used her position as division director to keep the issue before the field.”

Cummings was elected to the Washington Academy of Medicine, among other honors.

Following her 2002 retirement from NIH, Cummings launched a second career as a volunteer docent at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, pursuing the passion for art history she had put on hold for 55 years. She had studied art history at Harvard before heading off to medical school in 1947.

Cummings also served for 10 years on the board of the Circles Program at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. “She was one of our most dedicated Circles Program supporters and one of our strongest advocates at the Kennedy Center for education,” said Patrick Dazey, the program’s assistant manager. “We really enjoyed her enthusiasm.”

A memorial service was held Apr. 9 at St. Alban’s church, where Cummings was a longtime active member. She is survived by her daughter, two sons and nine grandchildren.

DTM Phlebotomist Dash Mourned
Lavora Clark Dash

Lavora Clark Dash, 44, a phlebotomist in the Clinical Center department of transfusion medicine (DTM) for 8 years, died unexpectedly on Apr. 21.

“Her commitment to the department of transfusion medicine was powerful and her spirit and humor often raised the spirits of those around her,” said Dr. Susan Leitman, DTM blood services section chief. She recalled the hundreds of donors who requested Dash when they came to donate and her reputation as one of the best phlebotomists in the department. “This is a great loss for all of us and it is hard to really comprehend that she is gone.”

Tracey Chinn, acting chief nurse of the DTM blood services section, and Bonnie Sink, clinic manager and Dash’s supervisor, remember her as a positive, cheerful and encouraging member of their team. “She worked well with first-time donors and donors who were nervous. She would talk to them and make them feel better,” said Sink.

Chinn said that Dash was known for her cheerful sayings, thanking people for coming to work at the end of the day and announcing that, “Sunshine is here, hold the applause,” when she herself arrived. “She really had a larger-than-life spirit and her sayings and attitude created such a positive environment,” said Chinn.

Dash was a devoted sister and a loving mother. She leaves behind two teenage children, ages 18 and 14.

ORF’s Bermudez To Compete for Miss Maryland

Jessica Bermudez

Jessica Bermudez of the Office of Research Facilities, who is currently serving as Miss Germantown 2012, will compete on June 23 for the title of Miss Maryland, a preliminary for Miss America. The theme of her candidacy is Innovate Tomorrow: Inspiring Future Leaders in Science and Technology. “I aspire to be the first person to win the title of Miss America while promoting the STEM fields,” she said. Bermudez has a bachelor of science degree in bioengineering and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public health at the University of Maryland. For more about her efforts, visit www.innovatetomorrow.com/.






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