|NIH director Dr. Francis Collins interviews
Diane Rehm at Rall Lecture.
Maybe the key to being a longtime successful
radio show host is being, oneself, quite interesting.
That insight was gently excavated by
NIH director Dr. Francis Collins over the
course of an hour-long conversation with
Diane Rehm at the Rall Cultural Lecture Apr.
7 in Masur Auditorium.
Part of the reason their public dialogue
seemed so effortless is that Collins has been
Rehm’s guest on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show
at least 10 times. Rehm said on-air interviews
flow most smoothly when guests know their
subject fully, and name-checked exemplars from NIH, including Collins, NIAID director
Dr. Anthony Fauci and NIAMS director Dr.
Collins cheerfully acknowledged that
turnabout is fair play at the outset of their
conversation. “I step into the role she would
normally play,” he said, admitting to feelings
of pressure. It was now on him to make a
guest feel at ease. He needn’t have fretted.
Collins first asked about Rehm’s non-traditional
path to journalism. From there, the
A native Washingtonian, Rehm graduated
from high school in 1954. Neither of her
parents thought college was for girls, so she
became a secretary at the D.C. department
of highways, deploying workers to fill
the potholes her boss had noticed on his
commute to work.
Recruited to another secretarial position
at the U.S. Department of State, she found
herself “surrounded by intellectuals,” including
a particularly learned and handsome
young man named John Rehm. “He became
my teacher,” Rehm said, and eventually her