NICHD 5K Highlights Infant Mortality Research|
A crisp, sunny day greeted more than 160 NIH fresh-air enthusiasts Oct. 15 for NICHD’s 6th annual 5K, aimed at highlighting research into infant mortality. Some came to run, more walked and one faithful “roller,” NICHD’s Rodney Rivera, pulled his two youngest daughters in a wagon.
Dr. Tonse Raju, chief of NICHD’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Research Branch, was ready to walk in his Cubs baseball cap. The event not only facilitates exercise among NIH staff, he said, it also generates goodwill about a key component of NICHD’s mission.
“Infant mortality is the pulse of a nation,” Raju said. “There is a huge disparity between African-American babies who are twice as likely to die as white babies.”
While scientists know the statistics, more public awareness benefits everyone, he said. “Healthy habits, exercise, promoting breastfeeding and safe infant sleep practices advance public health and [educate] us all as a society.”
Dr. Della Hann, associate director for extramural research at NICHD, fired up participants on the lawn outside Bldg. 1: “NICHD is strongly committed to research around infant mortality,” she said. “We all want babies and their families to thrive.”
Hann thanked the many supporters, especially those from outside NIH. There was a group of runners from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine. The NationalHealthy Start Association provided information at the event.
“This is a great way to stay fit and active and show our support for the NIH mission,” said Rachel Gandell Tetlow of ACOG, who also is chair of the Friends of NICHD.
Deborah Ngan and Nicole Spears, both scientific program analysts with NCATS, were running their first 5K. “I like that it raises awareness about infant mortality and brings the NIH community together,” Ngan said.
For Quoc Arcomona, a network manager at NICHD, the run was a warm-up, one of many he did to prepare for the Marine Corps Marathon Oct. 25. He ran the marathon as part of a fundraiser for the Children’s Inn at NIH.
“He does 5Ks for breakfast,” teased his colleague Laura Bowers. Arcomona, Bowers and Carl Ryan Tucker, all contractors with Occam Solutions, which provides IT support to NICHD, were among the early birds to finish, after a loop around the perimeter of NIH.
The first runner back was Dan Konzman, a post-bac researcher with NHGRI, who also was training for the Marine Corps Marathon. He completed the course in under 21 minutes.
“This was a significant run for me since it was the first 5K I have ever won,” he said. “In fact, it’s the first race I’ve ever won.”