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Vol. LXVI, No. 10
May 9, 2014

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Have a question about some aspect of working at NIH? You can post anonymous queries at (click on the Feedback icon) and we’ll try to provide answers.

Feedback: May 4-10 is Public Service Recognition Week. What, if anything, does NIH have planned to celebrate/recognize/show appreciation for NIH staff?

Response from the Office of Human Resources: A variety of activities will be offered to recognize employees’ public service. Institutes/centers and offices will celebrate their employees through separate endeavors. Many may implement ideas from the Partnership for Public Service’s toolkit ( All employees received a message from NIH director Dr. Francis Collins on Apr. 24 that expressed his pride in and appreciation for their depth of dedication to the work being done here at NIH. Employees may express their own pride in their work and service by participating in the I “Heart” Public Service whiteboard photo campaign. Here is how to participate:

  • Take a photo of yourself with the completed “I love Public Service” template (
  • Upload your photo to Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram using the following hashtags: #Proud2ServeUSA #PSRW #NIH. The #NIH hashtag allows NIH to find our employees. This can be done during the week of May 4-10.
  • Or send your photo to Images will be posted on NIH social media outlets.

If you have questions about how your office might celebrate Public Service Recognition Week, contact Vickie Southers at If you have questions about the I “Heart” Public Service campaign, contact Lillian Amaechi at

Feedback: When leaving campus at Center Dr. and Old Georgetown Rd., the left lane allows for left or right turns. I have noticed an increase in the number of people in that lane who are turning right on red. Should right turns only be allowed when the light is green?

Response from the Office of Research Services: Yes. Per the NIH Police, a motorist has to be in the furthest right lane to turn on red. The next lane to the left can only make right turns on a green light. The Montgomery County Police Department would be responsible for enforcement of any violations on Old Georgetown Rd.

Feedback: On Wilson Dr., just before the intersection of Wilson Dr. and Center Dr., there is a fancy electronic orientation board giving visitors information [about] which way to turn to find buildings they are looking for. One of the arrows points to the left but Bldgs. 2, 5 and 8 are not among numbers shown. Could you, please, explain why? I hope it is not because work in some buildings is considered more important than in others.

Response from the Office of Research Facilities: Determining which buildings to assign a permanent designation on the interior electronic signage was a difficult decision. We have over 100 buildings on the main campus. Listing them all would have been distracting, would slow down traffic and, paradoxically, reduce the chance anyone could read any building numbers because the tiny font necessary to fit all building numbers on the board would have rendered all numbers unreadable.

The ORF Division of Facilities Planning and a traffic consultant studied vehicle traffic and identified the most likely destinations for visitors entering via Wilson Dr. to determine which buildings would benefit most from the directory. This decision had absolutely nothing to do with the importance of the building, functions performed or what institute/center occupies a particular building.

Feedback: I’m a patient at the NIH and have been one since May 2004, being an outpatient since September 2004. On a recent trip to the NIH pharmacy to get a prescription, I had my 7-year-old daughter with me. I entered through South Dr. and tried to enter using my Extended Visitor badge. The security guard stopped me because my daughter was there. He asked me to go to the new non-commercial visitor’s gate turning right and again right out of South Dr. I then had to go through that gate and my daughter had to walk through a metal detector and then get processed to get a badge. This took at least 15 minutes and I ended up having to go to the inpatient pharmacy since by then the outpatient pharmacy was closed. I understand the need for security given 9/11 and the threats against us, but surely there are ways to allow patients or employees to enter with their kids if it’s obvious those kids are way too young to be a threat? This is a waste of not only my time, but also your security personnel’s time and your money. Please understand that I owe my life to the NIH and this is in no way too much of an inconvenience for [the] future. It is however completely unnecessary in my view. Thanks.

Response from ORS: Recognizing the sensitive nature of screening children, NIH strives to administer a minimum amount of screening on a child (under 16 years of age). The screening of children is not a security matter, but rather a public safety issue. A visitor’s badge provides NIH with a form of identification and a degree of protection for the child in the event a child becomes lost or separated from the parent/guardian while on campus.

It may be prudent for the outpatient to apply for an Extended (Patient) Visitor’s badge for the patient’s 7-year-old daughter, especially if she frequently accompanies the patient to NIH. Once the daughter possesses an Extended Visitor’s Badge, she will not have to undergo physical screening. The patient’s doctor may sponsor the daughter as a patient visitor.

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