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July 15, 2016
Briefs

New Credit Union Program Aimed at Visiting Fellows

NIH welcomes thousands of scientists and clinicians from around the world to participate in fellowships and advance their careers. However, many who arrive internationally do so with restricted access to financial services and a limited understanding of the U.S. banking system.

To address the situation, the NIH Federal Credit Union has launched its Fellows Advantage Program, a customized suite of products to help fellows gain access to needed credit and build a credit history that will make it easier for them to succeed financially in the future.

“The NIHFCU is here to serve the entire NIH workforce, including those visiting the NIH as fellows,” said Rick Wieczorek, NIHFCU president & CEO. “We have recognized a real need within the NIH community and with support of our board of directors are proud to now offer the Fellows Advantage Program with unique borrowing opportunities to help visiting fellows with many of their basic financial needs.”

The Fellows Advantage Program intends to allow fellows possessing a Social Security number but no credit history to borrow from NIHFCU for a variety of basic needs including Visa credit cards (up to a $2,500 credit limit), mortgages, auto loans and unsecured loans.

“With the Fellows Advantage Program, we hope to make the financial lives of NIH fellows just a bit easier so they can remain as focused as possible on their training goals,” said Steve Levin, NIHFCU vice president of marketing. “In addition to the loans we are making available, the program offers free multilingual financial counseling and online financial education tools. We are also excited to be working with our friends at FAES and elsewhere at the NIH to create seminars on various financial topics of importance to NIH fellows.”

To learn more, visit nihfcu.org/fellows, call (800) 877-6440 or stop by an NIHFCU branch.

Volkow Honored at Launch of FORCE

NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow (c), is honored by two FORCE alliance members, Behshad Sheldon (l), president and CEO, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, and Dr. Andrea Barthwell, past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and former deputy director of demand reduction, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow (c), is honored by two FORCE alliance members, Behshad Sheldon (l), president and CEO, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, and Dr. Andrea Barthwell, past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and former deputy director of demand reduction, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

On June 23 in Washington, D.C., NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow was honored at the launch of a new non-profit organization, FORCE, for her contributions in the fight against opioid addiction.

FORCE—Female Opioid-addiction Research and Clinical Experts—announced its founding at an event held at the National Press Club. The organization is an alliance of women with scientific, health policy and medical expertise in opioid addiction who are well positioned to achieve FORCE’s mission of reducing the stigma and treatment barriers that people with opioid addiction face every day.

In addition to Volkow, FORCE honored Dr. Leana Wen, commissioner of the Baltimore city health department.

NIAMS Hosts First Local Lupus Consortium Meeting

NIAMS recently welcomed members of the D.C. Lupus Consortium.
NIAMS recently welcomed members of the D.C. Lupus Consortium.

PHOTO: SUSAN BETTENDORF

The lupus clinical research team at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases recently welcomed lupus researchers and advocates from the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area to the Clinical Center for the inaugural meeting of the D.C. Lupus Consortium (DCLC). The purpose of the consortium is to foster collaborations between lupus researchers in the NIH Intramural Research Program and partners in the regional academic, private practice and patient advocacy communities.

Attendees learned about NIAMS lupus protocols from the institute’s scientific director Dr. John O’Shea, clinical director Dr. Richard Siegel, senior investigator Dr. Mariana Kaplan and Dr. Sarfaraz Hasni, a staff clinician and director of the lupus clinical research program. They described the recent revitalization of lupus-related basic and clinical research at NIH and the expansion of interventional clinical trials in this area.

Other speakers included Tricia Coffey of the CC, who provided an overview of the patient and referring physician electronic portals, and Dr. Christopher Collins, a D.C.-based rheumatologist and former NIAMS clinical fellow. He led a discussion on local community-based lupus trials.

The DCLC will provide a platform for resource sharing, information exchange and patient referrals for clinical trials. The consortium will meet regularly with the hope of fostering an integrated clinical trials network that will benefit the region’s lupus researchers and patients. Those interested in participating should contact Hasni directly at hasnisa@mail.nih.gov.

NIDA’s Volkow Speaks at X-STEM, Hosts Activities at Festival

Students participate in NIDA’s “Brains Up Close.”
Students participate in NIDA’s “Brains Up Close.”

NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow recently presented “Inside the Addicted Human Brain” to an audience of more than 500 students and parents at X-STEM, an Extreme STEM Symposium for middle through high school students.

The symposium, whose goal is to advance STEM education and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, kicked off the 4th annual USA Science & Engineering Festival—the largest and only national science festival.

At the festival, NIDA hosted two activities: “Brains Up Close,” which provided students the opportunity to observe, hold and learn about real brains; and the “NIDA Brain Derby,” a fast-moving and interactive game in which participants tested their knowledge about the brain and how drugs can affect it.

NIH estimates that there were about 50,000 people who visited the NIH Pavilion at the event.

Dickersin Is Next ‘Mind the Gap’ Speaker, July 25

Dr. Kay Dickersin
Dr. Kay Dickersin

Dr. Kay Dickersin, professor and epidemiology director at the Center for Clinical Trials and Evidence Synthesis, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will speak on “The Opportunities and Challenges of Using Systematic Reviews To Summarize Knowledge About ‘What Works’ in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion” at the Office of Disease Prevention’s next Medicine: Mind the Gap seminar. It will be held Monday, July 25 from 11 a.m. to noon via NIH VideoCast, http://videocast.nih.gov/.

Whether discussing priorities for comparative effectiveness research (CER) from a funder’s or researcher’s perspective, understanding knowledge gaps or setting guidelines for care, systematic reviews of existing research hold the promise of scientifically summarizing “what works” at any point in time. Dickersin will review models of how systematic reviews are being used globally to plan, implement and derive recommendations from CER. She will then review some of the existing challenges to using systematic reviews and methods being used to address these challenges.

Dickersin will accept questions about her presentation via email at prevention@mail.nih.gov and on Twitter with #NIHMtG.

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