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Vol. LXV, No. 6
March 15, 2013

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NINDSís DeCoster Receives Thank-You Call from Sebelius

Tijuanna “Tia” DeCoster

Tijuanna “Tia” DeCoster, NINDS chief grants management officer, recently had the surprise of a lifetime. She received a direct phone call from Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “It was a very nice surprise,” said DeCoster. “For someone at her level to recognize me is amazing. I am thankful that she took the time to call.”

Sebelius called to thank DeCoster for being a dedicated federal employee and to recognize her achievements in creating an innovative, cost-recovery program to close out and collect undisbursed funds.

According to DeCoster, undisbursed funds are defined as the difference between the dollar amount obligated to individual grants and the amount that grantees report to the Payment Management System as being used. The pilot program— which was created in partnership with the Office of Financial Management and the NIH Closeout Center—allowed NINDS to collect the undisbursed funds and return them to NIH, and ultimately to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The call is part of a larger HHS effort to acknowledge the exceptional work of employees.

Sebelius also thanked DeCoster for the quick and efficient way in which she and the NINDS Grants Management Branch revised numerous grant awards in FY 2011 (when NIH was under a continuing resolution and had no budget). Under the continuing resolution, NIH had to fund grants at a reduced amount. Once NIH received a budget, DeCoster and her staff had to rapidly revise NINDS grants to reflect the appropriate changes.

“After the conversation [with Sebelius] was over, I informed my staff and thanked them for their hard work,” said DeCoster. “Although I have the vision for the office, without my staff there would be no implementation. They did the work, so ‘kudos’ to the NINDS GMB staff.”—Shannon E. Garnett

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