NIH Holds Annual Corps Promotion 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.
Retires After 33 Years at NIH
By Eric Bock
|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
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., 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
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.
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
Office of the Chief
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
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
|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.