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NIH Record  
Vol. LXV, No. 23
  November 8, 2013
Federal ‘Employee of the Year’ Honorees Hail from NIH
NIH Grantees Win 2013 Nobel Prizes in Medicine, Chemistry
NINDS Forum Focuses on Progress via Partnership
NINR Director Discusses Impact of Nursing Science
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‘If You’re Going Through Hell—Keep Going!’
Collins Hosts Town Hall on Effects of Shutdown on NIH

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins
NIH director Dr. Francis Collins
Addressing the NIH community that had gathered in Masur Auditorium or who had tuned into a live videocast of the event, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins held an hour-long town hall meeting Oct. 23 in which he condemned the effects of “an unnecessary and ultimately pointless shutdown” that closed the government Oct. 1-16 and idled 75 percent of the NIH workforce.

For the first half of the session, Collins outlined a steadily deteriorating political landscape that has included first multiple threats of shutdown, then the reality of budget sequestration, culminating in a 16-day shutdown coinciding with the start of FY 2014. Federal regulations barred any but “excepted” employees—those with responsibility for the preservation of life (human and animal) and property—from coming to work. The second part of the meeting included Q&As from both the audience in Masur and via email.


‘A Very Urgent Issue’
NICHD Seminar Reviews Maternal Mortality in Women of Color

Dr. Maria J. Small
Dr. Maria J. Small

When a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth, the world cracks in two: the Time Before and the Time After, when nothing is the same. In the biblical account of Jacob’s wife, “Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor…And Rachel died.” Stories and songs about motherless kids persist in all cultures—from Snow White, Oliver Twist and Lord Voldemort to Blind Willie Johnson’s, “Motherless children have a hard time when mother is dead.”

We might think that these primal tales of maternal loss are of another time and place, but we would be wrong. In maternal death rates, the U.S. ranks behind almost 50 other nations, including Bulgaria and Iran.