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December 4, 2015
NINR Hosts 30th Anniversary Opening Symposium

The National Institute on Nursing Research recently hosted its scientific symposium Advancing Science, Improving Lives, opening the institute’s 30th anniversary year. Nearly 700 individuals registered for the event at Natcher Conference Center.

Said NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady, “We are pleased that so many scientists, students and others from across the country joined us to acknowledge 30 years of nursing science at NIH. We thank NIH director Dr. Francis Collins and so many of our NIH colleagues for marking this important anniversary with us.”

In addition to Collins, who gave the first keynote address of the day, were other keynoters Dr. Deborah Trautman, CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing; Dr. Joe Selby, executive director of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute; and Dr. Hannah Valantine, NIH chief officer for scientific workforce diversity.

NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady presents Dr. Xiaomei Cong with the award for best poster in the New Investigator category Dr. John Didion
At left, NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady presents Dr. Xiaomei Cong with the award for best poster in the New Investigator category. At right, Dr. Hannah Valantine, NIH chief officer for scientific workforce diversity, told the audience, “Great minds think differently.”

PHOTOS: ERNIE BRANSON

Director of ceremonies Bill Novelli of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University emphasized the importance of nurses in the global research enterprise. “NINR and nurse scientists play a pivotal role at NIH and in research circles across the country and around the world,” he said. Novelli noted his own commitment to the field of nursing, including his service on the Institute of Medicine report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.

Collins’ schedule is always packed and the day of the NINR symposium was no exception. Arriving with “split-second timing” for his keynote address after making a cross-campus rush, he noted that “there has hardly ever been a time with as much excitement and buzz about progress in biomedical research as there is right now.” He praised NINR’s accomplishments and its role in cross-institute collaborations to advance NIH’s mission.

In her address on the many ways in which diversity enhances the research enterprise, Valantine put a new spin on an old saying: “Great minds think differently.” She described programs at NIH that are designed to promote diversity among research scientists and thanked NINR for its participation in them.

NINR invited experts on the institute’s key themes of wellness, self-management, symptom science and end-of-life/palliative care to present their research. The symposium also featured scientific posters from 139 researchers, selected from more than 400 submissions. Topics included pain, chronic illness, cancer care and mHealth, among many others.

“At our 25th anniversary symposium just 5 years ago, our poster session had only 82 posters,” Grady noted. “This increase is a reflection not only of the growth and interest in the field of nursing science, but also of the depth and breadth of the research in the field.”

NINR was founded following a 1983 report by the Institute of Medicine recommending inclusion of nursing research in the mainstream of biomedical and behavioral science. The Health Research Extension Act of 1985 authorized the National Center for Nursing Research at NIH. Dr. Ada Sue Hinshaw became NCNR’s first permanent director in 1987. NCNR later achieved institute status, and in 1995, Grady became NINR director—a position she still holds.

Though anniversaries are a natural time to reflect on the events that have led us to this point, Grady seized the opportunity to envision the future: “It is with great optimism and enthusiasm that I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that we’ll face together as we continue to advance science and improve lives.”

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