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Vol. LXVI, No. 20
September 26, 2014

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Annual Corps Promotion Ceremony

Patty Austin

Dr. William G. Coleman Jr.

New NIDA Council Members

Dr. Joan McGowan

Five Join NICHD Council


Milestones

NIH Holds Annual Corps Promotion Ceremony

Members of the Commissioned Corps were promoted at a recent ceremony.
Members of the Commissioned Corps were promoted at a recent ceremony.

The recent 12th annual NIH PHS Commissioned Corps promotion ceremony coincided with the 125th anniversary of the founding of the corps, whose mission is to “protect, promote and advance the health and safety of our nation.” NIH celebrated the accomplishments of 16 Commissioned Corps officers who were successfully promoted this year.

In opening remarks, Dr. Richard Wyatt (Radm., ret.), assistant director of NIH’s Office of Intramural Research, spoke of Commissioned Corps history and its deep connection to NIH. He reminded recently promoted officers that they “stand on the shoulders of giants,” such as NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci (Radm., ret.) and Clinical Center director Dr. John Gallin (Radm., ret.) who carried out the mission of the corps while simultaneously bearing the responsibility of leadership that accompanies advancement in rank.

NIH principal deputy director Dr. Lawrence Tabak spoke of the commitment NIH has towards its corps officers and the valuable roles they play at the agency. Acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak described work that PHS members carry out on a daily basis at NIH and offered congratulations to promotees. His words came with a reminder: When a Commissioned Corps officer is promoted, it encompasses far more than an increase in pay. The advance also comes with a corresponding increase in expectations. “You have gotten more, so give more,” he said. He urged promoted officers to thank those who have supported them, to give more time to colleagues through mentorship, to give more to their community through activism and to redouble their commitment to their agencies and to the Commissioned Corps.

The following officers were promoted in the following categories:

Medical Officers—promoted to captain: Paul Kruszka, promoted to commander: Paul Sato

Nurse Officers—promoted to captain: Antoinette Jones, Ann Marie Matlock; promoted to commander: Shu Cai, Paula Carter, Colleen Wahl; promoted to lieutenant commander: Amanda Ramsburg, Tat’Yana Worthy

Scientist Officers—promoted to captain: Sally Hu

Environmental Health Officers—promoted to commander: Robert Horsch; promoted to lieutenant commander: Matthew Deptola

Engineer Officers—promoted to lieutenant commander: Corey Cosgrove

Pharmacy Officers—promoted to captain: Richard Decederfelt

Health Services Officers—promoted to commander: Antoinette Percy-Laurry, Greg Gnipp—Andrew Keel, Kristen Cole.

OER’s Austin Retires After 33 Years at NIH
By Eric Bock

Patty Austin
Photo: Elise Rabin

Patty Austin has produced hundreds of programs for thousands of NIH staff about the resources available to extramural researchers. And now, she is set to retire.

Austin joined NIH in 1981 as a clerk-typist in the Office of Extramural Research’s Staff Training in Extramural Programs. When she started, she intended to finish her bachelor’s degree and find employment elsewhere. Like so many others, she never left.

Through her hard work and dedication, she rose through the ranks at OER. In 2001, she became a training program administrator for OER’s Electronic Research Administration project. Last year, she took her current position as training program administrator in OER’s Office of Research Information Systems’ Division of Scientific Categorization and Analysis.

“Patty’s had a unique training experience that our division didn’t have previously. Most employees know science or data. But Patty knows how to explain things,” said Judy Riggie, director of the Division of Scientific Categorization and Analysis. “She’s helped our division a lot. She’s gone above and beyond.”

Austin estimated that she helped produce more than 300 training programs for OER during her career. These programs allowed her to meet many employees and patients. She said that seeing patients who have been helped by NIH researchers was one of the best parts of her job.

She said many good people have helped her along the way—her colleagues, the staff who provided feedback on her training programs and, especially, her husband Steve Austin, a grants management specialist in NIAMS.

“Juggling my job and raising my children was sometimes frustrating and sometimes fun. I couldn’t have ever done it without the support of Steve,” said Austin. “He encouraged me to keep going and supported me. He was really good for the family.”

In retirement, Austin hopes to volunteer her time in soup kitchens and at an elementary school. She will spend more time with her father in Upstate New York. In addition, she also plans to devote more time to drawing, her favorite hobby.

“About 10 years ago, I taught myself to draw. I’m going to take watercolor painting and pen-andink drawing lessons and maybe some pottery classes,” said Austin.

Austin says she is proud to have been part of NIH.

“The real pleasure is working with the extramural community,” she said. “I appreciated their friendship and feedback over the years.”

NIMHD Mourns Scientific Director Coleman

Dr. William G. Coleman Jr.

Dr. William G. Coleman Jr., distinguished member of the scientific community, died of cancer on Aug. 18 at age 72.

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Coleman held a B.S. from Talladega College, an M.S. in microbial physiology from Atlanta University and a Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics from Purdue University.

Following a year as a lecturer and postdoc in the department of biological sciences at Purdue, he began a nearly 40-year career at NIH. In 1974, Coleman began postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology at NIDDK and earned tenure as a research microbiologist in the same laboratory in 1978. His research included substantial work on the biosynthesis of lipopolysaccharide and more recently on the innate and adaptive immune response to Helicobacter pylori infection. H. pylori , a type of bacteria that causes infection in the stomach, is associated with gastritis, ulcers and gastric cancers, which affect millions of Americans and is more common among Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic blacks.

“Dr. Coleman’s contributions to science are far-reaching,” said NIMHD acting director Dr. Yvonne Maddox. “People who have never met Bill Coleman will benefit from his work, particularly in the field of infectious diseases, which presents great challenges to public health.”

Recognized for his scientific leadership and acumen, Coleman received many honors, including the Philip J. Browning Scientific Pioneers Award and the Inventor’s Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce. He was recently selected for the Purdue University department of biological sciences Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Coleman became the first permanent African-American scientific director in the history of the NIH Intramural Research Program in January 2011, when he was appointed to direct the NIMHD Intramural Research Program. He was responsible for directing NIMHD’s trans-disciplinary portfolio focusing primarily on the biological and non-biological determinants of health disparities. Under his leadership, the intramural program has focused on three scientific research areas for which there are significant health disparities: cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Coleman was known for his belief in the power of mentorship and dedicated himself to mentoring and training future scientists, from school-age through postdoc, particularly in the area of disparities research. Many of his former mentees have gone on to become successful researchers, physicians and educators.

“Dr. Coleman leaves a legacy as a well-respected scientist and teacher. Colleagues around NIH have expressed their admiration and sincerest regard for this dedicated researcher with an irrepressible sense of humor and optimism,” said Maddox.

Coleman is survived by his wife of 40 years, Dr. Belinda Seto, and his three daughters Melissa, Alicia and Natasha Coleman.

National Institute on Drug Abuse director Dr. Nora Volkow (c) recently welcomed two new members to NIDA’s national advisory council—Dr. Anne C. Andorn (r) and Dr. Laura J. Bierut.

NIDA Welcomes New Council Members

National Institute on Drug Abuse director Dr. Nora Volkow (c) recently welcomed two new members to NIDA’s national advisory council—Dr. Anne C. Andorn (r) and Dr. Laura J. Bierut. Andorn is medical director for safety evaluation and risk management, Office of the Chief Medical Officer, GlaxoSmithKline in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Bierut is a professor in the department of psychology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The new appointees will serve on the council through November 2017.

Dr. Joan McGowan (l) and Dr. Marja M. Hurley (r)
McGowan Honored by Women’s Group

Dr. Joan McGowan (l), director of the NIAMS Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases, was recently honored by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine’s Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS). The group is part of a national effort, initiated by the American Association of Medical Colleges, to facilitate the advancement of women physicians and scientists by focusing on such issues as gender equity, recruitment and retention and career advancement. McGowan was recognized for her “excellent service in academic inspiration and guidance” and for “her exemplary service and dedication in supporting biomedical research.” The award was presented by GWIMS chair Dr. Marja M. Hurley (r) during the group’s 2014 annual symposium.

Five Join NICHD Council

With NICHD director Dr. Alan Guttmacher (c) and Dr. Catherine Spong, director, Division of Extramural Research, are new council members (from l) Dr. Gregory S. Kopf, director of research and development at Family Health International 360; Dr. George R. Saade, professor and chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; and Dr. Stephen A. Petrill, professor in Ohio State University’s department of psychology.
Five new appointments have been made to the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council, NICHD’s advisory body. With NICHD director Dr. Alan Guttmacher (c) and Dr. Catherine Spong, director, Division of Extramural Research, are new council members (from l) Dr. Gregory S. Kopf, director of research and development at Family Health International 360; Dr. George R. Saade, professor and chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; and Dr. Stephen A. Petrill, professor in Ohio State University’s department of psychology.

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