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Vol. LXIV, No. 25
December 7, 2012

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Stein Heads NIDA’s Office of Science Policy, Communications

Dr. Jack Stein

Dr. Jack Stein has been appointed director of the Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) within the National Institute on Drug Abuse. He is responsible for overseeing the science policy, strategic planning, program evaluation, communication and public liaison activities of the institute.

“With over two decades of professional experience in leading national drug and HIV-related research, practice and policy, Jack’s diverse experiences and proven leadership make him ideally suited to direct this office,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow.

Stein’s appointment marks a return to NIDA, where he initially served as OSPC deputy director and later as deputy director for the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research. Following this, he was director of the Division of Services Improvement, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Immediately prior to rejoining NIDA, Stein served as chief of the Prevention Branch, Office of Demand Reduction, at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Stein has authored numerous articles, book chapters and reports on HIV prevention and substance use services. He is a graduate of Union College, where he earned a bachelor of science in biology. He holds a master’s degree in social work from New York University and a doctoral degree in health services from Walden University.

NCI’s Harford Honored In Jordan
Dr. Adel Balbassi (l), representing the Jordanian Minister of Health, presents an award to Dr. Joe Harford of NCI’s Center for Global Health.
Dr. Adel Balbassi (l), representing the Jordanian Minister of Health, presents an award to Dr. Joe Harford of NCI’s Center for Global Health.

Dr. Joe Harford of NCI’s Center for Global Health was an invited speaker at the First International Conference on Palliative Care held Nov. 7-8 in Amman, Jordan. The conference was sponsored by the Jordan Palliative Care and Pain Management Society under the patronage of the Minister of Health of Jordan.

At the conference’s opening ceremony, Harford was presented with an award the citation of which reads, “For your continuous support to palliative care in Arabic countries.” The award was presented by Dr. Adel Balbassi representing the Jordanian Minister of Health.

At the conference, Harford made a presentation titled “The Need for More and Better Palliative Care in Muslim-Majority Countries” based on his two recent publications on this topic.

In addition, Harford made a presentation titled “Global Training Opportunities in Palliative Care.” NCI has supported training in palliative care through the Institute for Palliative Medicine of San Diego Hospice. This training has included both clinical fellowships and a program aimed at enhancement of leadership skills for physicians from low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Mohammad Bushnaq of Jordan is an alumnus of both of these NCI-supported programs and was the chief organizer of the conference in Amman, where he now serves as chairman of the Jordan Palliative Care and Pain Management Society.

Bavendam To Lead NIDDK Women’s Urology Programt

Dr. Tamara Bavendam
NIDDK recently welcomed Dr. Tamara Bavendam as the new senior scientific officer for women’s urologic health in the Division of Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases (KUH). She will oversee a research portfolio that focuses on urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, chronic urologic pelvic pain syndromes, urinary tract infections and urinary reflux. She will also initiate a patient education program in women’s urology. Bavendam spent the past decade at Pfizer, Inc., in New York City, where she was senior medical director in the global medical affairs division.

At Pfizer, Bavendam oversaw large clinical trials and supported the development of patient-reported outcomes tools. She also laid the groundwork for a public health initiative to promote lifelong bladder health in women.

Before joining Pfizer, she was in academic practice in Seattle at the University of Washington, where she developed a female urology program. She went on to develop a multidisciplinary Women’s Health Center at MCP Hospital in Philadelphia while on the faculty of MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine.

Though Bavendam said she “was raised with the skills to be an Iowa farm wife,” she opted for medical school, receiving her degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine. She completed post-graduate training in urology at the University of Iowa and a fellowship in female urology and urodynamics at the Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles. Her research has focused on urinary incontinence, lower urinary tract symptoms, overactive bladder and painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis.

“Dr. Bavendam’s wealth of experience in women’s urology and patient-reported outcomes will help NIDDK advance research in common, consequential and costly diseases ranging from urinary incontinence to interstitial cystitis,” said KUH director Dr. Robert Star. “We are pleased that she has decided to bring her talents and expertise in women’s urology to NIDDK.”

In her new position, Bavendam said she wants to gradually move the research fields and subsequent educational outreach efforts to highlight prevention “that improves the lives of women at risk for, or suffering from, urology disorders.”

Bavendam is a past president of the American College of Women’s Health Physicians and the Society of Women in Urology. She has been cited as a “Best Doctor in America” and “Best Doctor in Philadelphia for Women.”

Former NINR Fellow Returns as Lasker Research Scholar
Former NINR postdoctoral fellow Dr. Jessica Gill has returned to NINR as one of the first NIH Lasker Clinical Research Scholars.
Former NINR postdoctoral fellow Dr. Jessica Gill has returned to NINR as one of the first NIH Lasker Clinical Research Scholars.

Former NINR postdoctoral fellow Dr. Jessica Gill has returned to NINR as one of the first NIH Lasker Clinical Research Scholars. Through a historic intramural-extramural partnership, NIH and the Lasker Foundation seek to nurture the next generation of great clinical scientists.

For a small number of talented, early stage researchers, the NIH Lasker Clinical Scholars program combines a period of independent research as a principal investigator in the Intramural Research Program with the opportunity for additional years of independent financial support either at NIH or at an extramural research institution. Lasker Scholars can take advantage of a unique combination of NIH funding for clinical research for upwards of 12 years.

“Receiving the Lasker Award is monumental to the development of my program of research,” said Gill. “It allows me to develop research projects that identify mechanisms relating to psychological and neurological vulnerability following traumatic injury—here at the NIH, using methods not available anywhere else.”

Gill’s research program will examine the biological and neurological factors linked to the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder onset and the influence of traumatic brain injuries on this risk. It will follow patients during their immediate recoveries and for years afterwards to better understand the risk and resiliency factors related to these outcomes.

“Trauma patients often leave the hospital with no follow-up and no preventive care for these long-lasting deficits, resulting in substantial morbidity risks,” she said. “I expect that my research will lead to new ways to identify trauma patients who are at high risk for psychological and neurological deficits and inform prevention interventions that will support their recovery.”

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