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Vol. LXIV, No. 24
November 23, 2012
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‘Game Changers, Noteworthy or Just Plain Cool’
NIH Director Launches Blog, Expands Social Media Reach

To blog or not to blog? That was the question. On Nov. 1, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins decided it was “nobler in the mind” to launch the NIH Director’s Blog.

“I’m starting this blog to highlight new discoveries in biology and medicine that I think are game changers, noteworthy or just plain cool,” he wrote in a welcome message. “Depending on what’s going on in the world of biomedical research, I may tell you about an interesting study in a journal or share my thoughts about a news item or public health issue.”

Slated to blog about three times a week, Collins in his first few postings talked about the recent Celebration of Science event held at NIH and “the symphony inside your brain,” a glance at the Connectome Project. The project is a massive NIH-led effort to map the neural pathways of the brain. It’s a fitting early topic, as one of the director’s major goals for the blog is to connect more people with the science and research that NIH supports and funds.

“This is another example of the importance Dr. Collins places on communicating the value of biomedical research and telling the NIH story,” said John Burklow, NIH associate director for communications and public liaison. “He knows that social media is an important tool and he intends to take full advantage of it to extend our reach.”

Other blog ideas being considered are “Wordless Wednesdays,” which would feature scientific images or videos, and “Fascinating Fridays,” which would focus on interesting science facts. Collins’s blogs will be aimed at a lay audience, particularly folks with an avid interest in science such as those who read magazines like Discover, Scientific American and National Geographic.

Good blogs get feedback. Blog readers often want to leave their own 2 cents. Comments will be accepted and moderated on the NIH Director’s Blog. Collins won’t respond to every post, but, in time, may address some issues that emerge from the feedback.

You can find the new blog at http://directorsblog.nih.gov/, or click on the link next to Collins’s photo on the home page, www.nih.gov/.


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