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September 21, 2018
Briefs
Stetten Lecture Focuses on Regeneration

Dr. Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado
Dr. Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado

Within a span of 2 weeks, a small worm can accomplish a feat no human has ever achieved. The worm, known as a planarian, can regrow any severed body part—including its head. For the past 20 years, Dr. Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado has tried to figure out how this happens. In June, his team at Stowers Institute for Medical Research disclosed what they believe is the long-sought source of planarians’ remarkable regenerative abilities.

Sánchez Alvarado will explain the findings during this year’s DeWitt Stetten Jr. Lecture. His talk, titled “Understanding the Source of Regenerative Ability in Animals,” will occur on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. It is sponsored by NIGMS and is part of the NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series.

A videocast of the lecture (live or later) will be available at http://videocast.nih.gov. For reasonable accommodation during the lecture, contact Jacqueline Roberts at Jacqueline.Roberts@nih.gov or (301) 594-6747.

NEI Symposium on Future of Vision Research, Oct. 18

All are invited to the symposium “The Future of Vision Research,” the fourth in a series celebrating the National Eye Institute’s 50th anniversary. The event will feature new and emerging methodologies in vision research.

Presentations will include research into the brain’s processing of visual information, new retinal imaging and image analysis technologies and the development of novel prosthetic devices and transplantable retina tissue.

The event will be held Thursday, Oct. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10. For more information and to register, visit https://www.nei.nih.gov/nei-50th-anniversary-symposium-future-vision-research.

For more information about NEI 50th anniversary events, including the symposium series, visit https://nei.nih.gov/neiat50.

New Policy Promotes Employee Health

Most of us at NIH invest a great deal of mental and emotional energy each day helping to improve the health of the nation. But how many of us invest in our own health during the work day?

We can infer from the results of the 2017 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) that it’s a low number, with only 16.3 percent of NIH respondents indicating they participate in “health and wellness programs,” including exercise and medical screenings. The government-wide FEVS response to that question was 10 percentage points higher than the NIH response.

However, this may soon change for the better with publication of the first NIH policy to address employee wellness. Finalized last summer, the NIH Workplace Wellness Policy aims to empower employees to work with their supervisors to make use of scheduling flexibilities to engage in a wide range of wellness activities.

“As the nation’s premier biomedical research agency, the NIH recognizes that our organizational effectiveness relies upon the well-being of our employees,” said Dr. Alfred Johnson, NIH deputy director for management. “The new policy demonstrates NIH’s commitment to promoting the health and productivity of our workforce.”

The workplace wellness policy, one of several achievements of the NIH health & wellness council (HWC) since its inception in 2010, provides guidance on the use of scheduling flexibilities for work-day participation in exercise, wellness lectures, visits to the Employee Assistance Program and/or other approved activities that support health and well-being.

“The primary reason we created the policy,” said NIDA’s Quandra Blackeney, HWC workplace wellness policy committee chair, “was to promote a culture of wellness at NIH. And the place to start was by strongly encouraging supervisors to actually initiate the discussions and offer employees the option.”

Much research shows that many chronic medical conditions can be prevented or better managed by daily healthy lifestyle choices related to how we eat, handle stress, manage our finances, exercise, socialize and sleep. “We have to help employees see that making lifestyle changes can optimize their health and also be part of their work day, and this policy sets out to do both,” Blackeney noted.

To access the new policy, go to https://policymanual.nih.gov/1481. For tips on Creating Healthy Habits, go to https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/03/creating-healthy-habits.

For more information about the HWC and the range of wellness offerings that support employee well-being, visit https://wellnessatnih.nih.gov/Pages/About.aspx.—Sophia Glezos Voit

Inn Audience Enjoys ‘Hamilton’ Tunes

On Aug. 28, the NIH a cappella group Nerds in Harmony performed tunes from the popular musical Hamilton for an audience of children and families at the Children’s Inn at NIH, who listened while enjoying a lunch catered by volunteers. Dr. Diana Bianchi, (r) director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and an ardent Hamilton fan, introduced the performers and led a fun history lesson about the founding father. For a video clip, visit https://www.facebook.com/TheChildrensInn/videos/260679861226077/.

On Aug. 28, the NIH a cappella group Nerds in Harmony performed tunes from the popular musical Hamilton for an audience of children and families at the Children’s Inn at NIH, who listened while enjoying a lunch catered by volunteers. Dr. Diana Bianchi, (r) director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and an ardent Hamilton fan, introduced the performers and led a fun history lesson about the founding father. For a video clip, visit https://www.facebook.com/TheChildrensInn/videos/260679861226077/.

PHOTO: SONJA LUECKE


Walk/Run Marks NEI’s 50th Anniversary

The National Eye Institute will host a 5K walk/run on Oct. 24 in commemoration of its 50th anniversary. The course goes around the perimeter of the NIH campus (total distance of 3.25 miles). Participants will require their PIV card to re-enter the campus.

The start/finish line is in front of Bldg. 1. Festivities and a group warm-up kick off at 11:30 a.m. with the first start at 12:15 p.m. Get your vision screened and try out the new NEI virtual reality eye disease simulator. Food will be available for purchase truck-side. To register, go to https://forum.nei.nih.gov/5kfor50. Questions? Contact Lilly Sadler at sadlerla@mail.nih.gov or (301) 451-8007.

Physical Therapy Month Events

The physical therapy section of the Clinical Center rehabilitation medicine department will be celebrating PT month in October by hosting booths at the Work Life Event in the south lobby of Bldg. 10 on Oct. 16 and at NEI’s 5K walk/run on Oct. 24 at noon in front of Bldg. 1. Drop by to learn more about physical therapy and how it can help you achieve your goals.
Hughes-Halbert To Give NCI Seminar

Dr. Chanita Hughes-Halbert is the featured guest speaker for the next lecture in NCI’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities’ Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) Distinguished Scholars Seminar series on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 1-2:30 p.m. at the NCI Shady Grove Campus, Rm. TE110. The title of her talk is “Translational Issues in Cancer Health Disparities.”

Hughes-Halbert is a professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and AT&T distinguished endowed chair for cancer equity at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She is also associate dean for assessment, evaluation and quality improvement in the College of Medicine at MUSC and the first of three MUSC SmartState endowed chairs in the Center for Cancer Disparities who are addressing cancer equity issues.

A nationally recognized expert in disparities research and behavioral science, Hughes-Halbert focuses on understanding barriers to clinical trial participation in underserved communities and developing population-based interventions to reduce disparities in local settings.

Visit https://bit.ly/2OLQLlq to register for the seminar via WebEx. For reasonable accommodation, call (301) 402-1366 or the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).

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