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Vol. LXV, No. 13
June 21, 2013

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NIH Employees Honored as ‘Sammie’ Finalists

Dr. Michael Gottesman Dr. Julie Segre, Dr. David Henderson, Dr. Tara Palmore, Dr. Kevin Snitkin Dr. Nora Volkow

NIH employees honored as 2013 Service to America Medal finalists include (from l) Dr. Michael Gottesman, Dr. Julie Segre, Dr. David Henderson, Dr. Tara Palmore, Dr. Evan Snitkin and Dr. Nora Volkow.

Photos: Sam Kittner/

Several NIH employees have been honored as 2013 Service to America Medal finalists, also known as the Sammie awards.

Each year, the Partnership for Public Service honors federal employees “whose important, behind-the-scenes work is advancing the health, safety and well-being of Americans” as part of Public Service Recognition Week.

The NIH’ers honored this year, and their award category, are:

Dr. Michael Gottesman, NIH deputy director for intramural research, nominated in the Career Achievement Medal category: “Throughout a four-decade career, led seminal studies in the treatment of drug-resistant cancer cells and played an instrumental role in improving the rigor of medical research.”

Dr. Julie Segre, senior investigator in NHGRI’s Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch, and Dr. Tara Palmore, deputy hospital epidemiologist at the Clinical Center (and their team, including Dr. David Henderson, deputy director for clinical care and associate director for quality assurance and hospital epidemiology at the Clinical Center, and Dr. Evan Snitkin) in the Science and Environment Medal category: “Stopped the spread of a deadly hospital-acquired infection through the first-ever use of genome sequencing to identify the source and trace the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, creating a groundbreaking model for the health care industry.”

NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow was also nominated in the Science and Environment category: “Demonstrated that drug addiction is a disease that changes brain function and created new strategies for treating patients with substance abuse issues.”

The finalists are contenders for eight Service to America Medals, including Federal Employee of the Year, set to be announced on Oct. 3 at a Washington, D.C., gala.

For more information on the awards, including profiles of nominees’ careers, visit—Jeff Kopp

NIMHD’s Cooper Retires

Capt. Leslie Cooper

Capt. Leslie Cooper

Photo: Bill Branson

Dr. Leslie C. Cooper, an extramural program official and senior nurse advisor in the Division of Scientific Programs at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, retires June 30, with 30 years of service as an active-duty member of the Public Health Service—29 years at NIH.

Over the course of her career, Cooper worked at 7 of NIH’s 27 institutes—NIMHD, NCRR, NCI, NIDA, NHLBI, NINR and NICHD. She provided technical and scientific support and guidance to scientists, clinicians, students and emerging professionals as they prepared to advance the science and improve public health outcomes in this country and abroad. Her areas of expertise include community-based participatory research and translational research related to cancer prevention and other chronic diseases in minority and medically underserved populations. She engaged in cooperative activities within and across NIH and collaborated with other HHS agencies, federal partners, state and local entities and many communities to help the eventual elimination of cancer health disparities.

Stratakis Honored by University of Liège

Honorary doctoral awardee Dr. Constantine Stratakis (c), with Prof. Albert Beckers (l), chief of the department of endocrinology, and Dr. Bernard Rentier, university rector, at the University of Liège
Honorary doctoral awardee Dr. Constantine Stratakis (c), with Prof. Albert Beckers (l), chief of the department of endocrinology, and Dr. Bernard Rentier, university rector, at the University of Liège

Dr. Constantine Stratakis, NICHD’s director of intramural research, recently received an honorary doctorate from the University of Liège, Belgium, in recognition of his work on the genetic causes of endocrine tumors.

“Dr. Constantine Stratakis is a gifted investigator with an inspirational story from summer student to scientific leader,” said the award citation. He merited the award because he is a “consummate clinical endocrinologist, translational investigator and beloved mentor.” Stratakis received the degree in Liège.

The citation listed a number of his scientific accomplishments, including work with Dr. J. Aidan Carney that resulted in gene-based testing for three diseases—Carney complex, primary pigmented nodular adrenocortical disease and Carney-Stratakis syndrome. The ability to test for these diseases allows patients to begin treatment earlier. Prior to the test, more than a third of Carney complex patients died suddenly from complications of heart tumors and other tumors, the Liège citation said.

Stratakis received his M.D. and D.(Med)Sc. degrees in his native Greece. He came to NICHD as a postdoctoral fellow in 1988 and completed his residency in pediatrics at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He became acting scientific director at NICHD in 2009 and was named scientific director in 2011. He is board-certified in pediatrics, pediatric endocrinology and medical genetics.

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