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Vol. LXV, No. 5
March 1, 2013

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Poet Dove To Give Rall Cultural Lecture, Mar. 13

Photo of Poet Laureate Rita Dove

Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove will deliver the J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture as part of the 2012-2013 Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series. “An Afternoon with Poet Rita Dove: Sonata Mulattica,” will be held on Mar. 13 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10.

Dove served as U.S. poet laureate from 1993 to 1995 and was the youngest person—and the first African American—to receive this highest official honor in American poetry. She is the author of nine collections of poetry, including Thomas and Beulah, which earned her the 1987 Pulitzer Prize, making her the second African-American poet (after Gwendolyn Brooks in 1950) to receive this award. Her most recent book is Sonata Mulattica (2009), a poetic treatise on the life of 19th-century Afro-European violin prodigy George Polgreen Bridgetower. She is the sole editor of the Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011) and is the Commonwealth professor of English at the University of Virginia.

Seating for the lecture is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, or to request reasonable accommodation, contact Jacqueline Roberts at (301) 594-6747 or

The lecture honors the memory of Rall, founder of the Clinical Endocrinology Branch (now within NIDDK) and scientific director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, which is now represented by NIDDK and NIAMS. He recommended in 1984 that NIH add a cultural lecture to its Director’s Lecture series.

STEP Forum on Allergies, Mar. 19

The staff training in extramural programs (STEP) committee will present a Science in the Public Health forum on the topic “Allergies: Food, Drugs and Pollen—Oh My!” on Tuesday, Mar. 19, from 9 to noon in Lister Hill Auditorium, Bldg. 38A.

Almost everyone has allergies, ranging from minor inconveniences to life-threatening situations. Are allergies becoming more prevalent? Why might your immune system react to seemingly harmless substances as though they are threats?

Join us as we look at responses to food, drug and environmental allergens. You will learn about therapies for allergic reactions and prevention of allergies in children and adults.

Orioles and Nationals Online Ticket Sale

Batter up! It’s that time of year again. The R&W will once again offer tickets to the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals. To better serve the NIH, NOAA and HHS communities, tickets will be sold online. Nationals tickets will go on sale on Tuesday, Mar. 5 at 8 a.m. online at R&W has 2 seats in section 219, row D. Ticket prices are available on the R&W listserv. Orioles tickets will go on sale Thursday, Mar. 7 at 8 a.m. online. Available are two regular season tickets (2 seats behind first base – section 14BBB, seats 7-8) for $70 ($35 per seat). Tickets for Yankees and Red Sox games will be $100 per game. You must be a preferred 2013 R&W member to purchase tickets. When you come to pick your tickets up at your local R&W store, you will be required to show proof of membership. Preferred memberships can also be purchased at the time you pick up your tickets or online. Membership is $9 for the year.

NLM Lecture Features Weng, Mar. 6

Photo of Dr. Chunhua Weng

The National Library of Medicine Informatics Lecture Series will feature Dr. Chunhua Weng on Wednesday, Mar. 6, from 2 to 3 p.m. in Natcher Bldg., balcony A. She will speak on “Bridging the Semantic Gap between Research Eligibility Criteria and Clinical Data: Methods and Issues.”

With the burgeoning adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), vast amounts of clinical data are increasingly available for computational reuse. However, there is a semantic gap between the raw clinical data and free-text human-provided eligibility criteria. Weng will describe the evolving understanding of the semantic gap and approaches to overcoming it in the context of EHR-based phenotyping and clinical trial prescreening.

Weng is the Florence Irving assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Columbia University, where she has been a faculty member since 2007.

The talk will be broadcast live and archived at Sign language interpreters will be provided. Those who need reasonable accommodation to participate should contact Ebony Hughes, (301) 451-8038, or the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).

New Communications Contract Draws Interest

John Burklow, NIH associate director for communications and public liaison, tours the exhibits

More than two dozen vendors who provide a range of communication services visited NIH on Jan. 30 for the kick-off of the NIH Public Information and Communication Services (PICS) master contract. The event, held in Natcher Conference Center, drew staff, primarily from NIH communications and public liaison offices, who had an opportunity to meet the vendors. Above, John Burklow, NIH associate director for communications and public liaison, tours the exhibits. Below, representatives of IQ Solutions staff a table. The firms brought summaries indicating their capabilities and provided samples. The main task areas under the contract include: communications and outreach; graphic design, web and database support; and exhibit support. For more information, visi

Photos: Lydia Polimeni

representatives of IQ Solutions staff a table. The firms brought summaries indicating their capabilities and provided samples. The main task areas under the contract include: communications and outreach; graphic design, web and database support; and exhibit support.


Rockey Addresses NCI Town Hall Meeting

NIH deputy director for extramural research Dr. Sally Rockey appeared at a town hall meeting hosted by the trans-NCI extramural awareness group (TEAG) recently at Executive Plaza North in Rockville. She spoke about budget challenges, NIH special council review, HHS policy on conference grants, opportunities for collaborative research at the Clinical Center through U01 awards, NIH guidelines for stem cell research and findings of the biomedical research workforce group.

She ended her presentation with references to the OER Extramural Nexus and to her popular Rock Talk blog. Rockey also responded to questions from the audience about scientific, administrative and financial challenges.

“The NCI extramural staff greatly appreciated the opportunity to hear from Dr. Rockey about her role at the NIH and for responding to questions,” said Dr. Sonia Jakowlew, a program officer in the Center for Cancer Training who chairs TEAG.

New Shirts for Self-Service Store Workers

The NIH Supply Center’s Self-Service Store employees have been issued new uniform shirts, modeled here by Joseph Girolami and Lucy Kenny. “By making it easier to identify those in the store [who] can assist you, we hope to make your shopping experience easier and more enjoyable,” said Alicia Boglin, a marketing analyst with the Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management, OD. The new shirts feature the employee’s name and a logo. The stores are located in Bldg. 31 (B1A47) and Bldg. 10 (B2B41).

New Shirts for Self-Service Store Workers

NLM Launches New Lecture Series on Evaluating Health Communication

The National Library of Medicine will host a spring lecture series, “Better Health: Evaluating Health Communication,” to highlight innovative approaches and best practices in evaluating health communication.

The kickoff talk, given by Dr. Gary L. Kreps, university distinguished professor, chair, department of communication and director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication, George Mason University, will be held on Monday, Mar. 4, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Lister Hill Auditorium, Bldg. 38A.

As NIH diversifies its use of mass communication channels to dispatch health information, a fresh consideration of evaluation’s cutting edge is timely and important. Lectures will feature discussion and participation by the audience.

Kreps’ expertise areas include health communication and behavioral change, health promotion and risk communication. Prior to his appointment at George Mason, he was founding chief of the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch, National Cancer Institute.

National Drug Facts Week Reaches All States

For the first time, NIDA’s National Drug Facts Week events were held in all 50 states this year. Held Jan. 28-Feb. 3, NDFW links teens with experts who can give them factual information on drugs and drug abuse. At more than 500 locations across the country, teens asked questions of addiction scientists, clinicians or educators familiar with NIDA’s scientific materials. Events were sponsored by a variety of organizations including schools, community groups, sports clubs, book clubs and local hospitals.

Many events highlighted NIDA’s 2013 Drug IQ Challenge, an interactive 12-question, multiple-choice quiz that teens and adults took to test their knowledge about drugs. As part of NDFW, NIDA also held its fifth annual Drug Facts Chat Day, in which high school students across the country chatted anonymously and in real time with more than 50 NIDA scientists and science writers. Altogether, they answered nearly 2,000 questions about drugs from students in 27 states.

This year, experts from NIAAA and NIMH participated in the chat to answer questions about alcohol as well as mental health issues including depression and ADHD.

Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trials Workshop, Apr. 4-5

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer is offering a 2-day workshop, Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trials: Concepts and Challenges, on Apr. 4-5 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. The workshop will outline current challenges posed by development of therapeutic trials in immunotherapy. Several of these questions will be examined in greater detail, including preclinical testing requirements for clinical development, innovative clinical trial design, appropriate patient selection, end-point determination and developing combination therapies to improve long-term disease management and survival. Accelerating anticancer agent development, validation and approvals will also be discussed. Abstracts can be submitted for consideration for an oral presentation.

Deadline for hotel reservations is Mar. 22 and for registration is Mar. 28.

The program is free to government employees but registration is required. For more information, to register or to submit an abstract visit

Premiere Night at Circus Benefits NIH Charities

The 16th annual Children’s Premiere Night with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will once again benefit the NIH Children’s Charities. The 142nd edition of “The Greatest Show on Earth” comes to the Verizon Center on Wednesday, Mar. 20 with Dragons. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson will preside over a tournament of circus champions that brings together mystic dragon lore with authentic circus feats. A free pre-show at 6 p.m. allows families to interact with the stars, mingle with acrobats, aerialists, animals, clowns, jugglers and more.

The NIH R&W hopes to fill the entire Verizon Center with friends and family. Get your ticket at the R&W activities desk in Bldg. 31, Rm. B1W30 or call (301) 496-4600. Orders can be placed for tickets at any R&W store. Tickets include Circus Celebrity—front row/interactive seating where you become part of the show $80 (reg. $110), front row $55 (reg. $75), VIP $40 (reg. $55), section 111 & 112 (best seats) $25 (reg. $35).

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