Range of Issues Considered at 116th ACD Meeting

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins at ACD meeting
NIH director Dr. Francis Collins at ACD meeting

Although NIH director Dr. Francis Collins instantly accepted the unanimous recommendation of the 116th gathering of the advisory committee to the NIH director that NIH begin at once to terminate NIAAA’s 10-year, $88 million Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health (MACH) study due to numerous departures from established norms governing public-private partnerships, much else occupied the ACD during its semi-annual deliberations June 14-15.

“It’s been a pretty intense 6 months since we last met,” said Collins at the outset of a meeting that traditionally displays the breadth and depth of agency concerns.

In just a day and a half, the group reviewed at least a dozen major issues, including:

  • The 15 themes that make up the $500 million HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative that NIH has embarked upon to address the nation’s epidemic of opioid misuse and abuse. “This crisis is not going to be solved by any single intervention,” said Collins, noting that opioids were responsible for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016 (some 20 percent of which may have been suicides, added NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow).

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AT-WORK WORKOUT
High Spirits, Low Stress Mark ‘Take a Hike Day’

ORS’s Joe Cox and Cpl. Christine Fedorisko form cheering squad at hike.
ORS’s Joe Cox and Cpl. Christine Fedorisko form cheering squad at hike.

Normally, when more than 1,300 employees walk off the job mid-day, a workplace has a problem. That is, unless it’s NIH’s annual Take a Hike Day, when the boss actually encourages the at-work workout.

“Are you ready to walk, run and absolutely take advantage of this beautiful day?” enthused NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, briefly taking the podium set up in front of Bldg. 1 June 7 to cheer on participants.

Describing himself as “a little bit of a fitness nut,” Collins said he envied employees who were able to arrange their schedules and put NIH’s health and fitness messages into action. He had a meeting downtown and could not take part.

Collins also suggested that those participating capitalize on their good fortune to be able to work at such a scenic locale. Recalling the rich history of NIH’s formerly rural Bethesda campus, he said there are more than 8,000 trees of 150-plus species currently amid the 300 acres where more than 50 species of birds have been spotted. He also acknowledged other wildlife that have been documented in the vicinity such as deer, Canada geese and even a bear once a few years ago.

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