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November 30, 2018
Author Holds Q&A on Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Dec. 6 in Lipsett

Eileen McNamara
Eileen McNamara

Join NICHD director Dr. Diana Bianchi for a Q&A session with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Eileen McNamara about her latest book, Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World. McNamara is director of the journalism program at Brandeis University. The session will be held Thursday, Dec. 6, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10.

McNamara’s book chronicles the life of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, including her efforts to get her brother President John F. Kennedy to create an NIH institute dedicated to understanding and improving child health, maternal health and the health of people with disabilities. All are welcome. Those who bring their copy of the book can have it signed by the author.

Federal Benefits Open Season, Til Dec. 10

The Benefits Open Season began on Nov. 12 and runs through Dec. 10. Don’t miss this opportunity. If you plan to make an Open Season election, now is the time to do it. Unless you experience a Qualifying Life Event during the year, the annual Open Season is your only chance to enroll, cancel your enrollment or make a change to your enroll­ment for the participating programs.

For detailed information about the Federal Benefits Open Season, visit

The three participating programs are:

  • Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program - To enroll, cancel or change your FEHB enrollment, you must use myPay at Open Season elections will be effective on Jan. 6, 2019. Your current enrollment will automatically continue into next year if you do not take any action. (Exception: If you will be retiring between now and Jan. 5, 2019, do not use myPay to make your Open Season change. Instead, you must submit a hard-copy Health Benefits Election Form, SF 2809, along with your retirement paperwork to your benefits specialist.)

  • Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) - To enroll, cancel or change your FEDVIP enrollment, you must use the BENEFEDS Portal at or call 1-877-888-3337 (TTY 1-877-889-5680). Open Season elections will be effective on Jan. 1, 2019. Your current enrollment will automatically continue into next year if you do not take any action.

  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) Program - To enroll in an FSA for 2019, you must use the FSAFEDS website at or call 1-877-372-3337 (TTY 1-866-353-8058). Note that your current enrollment will not automatically con­tinue into next year. If you want an account in 2019, you must enroll during the Open Season. Open Season elections will be effective on Jan. 1, 2019.

If you have questions, email or your benefits contact, who can be found at

Enrollment Open for NIH Leave Bank

Fall open enrollment for the NIH Leave Bank runs until Dec. 10. The membership period will begin on Jan. 6, 2019.

The Leave Bank is a pooled bank of donated annual and restored leave available to eligible members. It acts like insurance for your paycheck and amounts to paid leave for members who have exhausted all of their own sick and annual leave and are affected by a personal or family medical condition.

The Leave Bank differs from the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP) in that the bank is a depository of leave; leave is distributed to members who are approved to be leave recipients. The VLTP, on the other hand, requires a direct donation from donor to recipient. An advantage of the Leave Bank is that eligible members may receive leave to cover time out of the office without awaiting donations from coworkers.

To become a Leave Bank member, access the Integrated Time and Attendance System (ITAS) during open enrollment and enroll under “Leave Bank Membership.” If you are a 2018 Leave Bank member, your membership will automatically continue into 2019, unless you opt out. The yearly membership contribution is one pay period’s worth of annual leave accrual. The membership contribution will automatically be waived if you lack sufficient leave.

For more information, visit­bank or contact (301) 443-8393 or

NIH Judo Club’s 40th Anniversary Class Begins Jan. 8

January 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the NIH Judo Club. This is a special time and opportu­nity for members of the NIH community to begin judo as the club celebrates 4 decades of teaching, learning and practicing the sport.

In January 1979, the NIH Judo Club was founded by Dr. Thomas E. Malone, who was then NIH deputy director. Judo, an Olympic sport since 1964, was founded in 1882 in Tokyo. The NIH dojo (place to practice judo) is located in the Thomas E. Malone Judo and Taekwondo Center in the Fitness Center (Bldg. 31C, B4 level).

This is how the club was advertised to the NIH community 40 years ago: “The club will emphasize Kodokan judo in which the principles and tech­niques of judo lead to development of the mind and the body [and] carry over to all aspects of daily living. The formal phase of the initial course will include judo exercises, methods of breaking falls and selected throwing and grappling forms.”

Today, for beginners, the NIH Judo Club follows the same format with some modifications as students learn judo techniques, train for competition and work toward earning their first belt-rank.

The club will reserve 10 slots for beginners from NIH. Inquiry for admission to the introduction to judo course in January 2019 (starting Tuesday, Jan. 8) is now open and will close on Dec. 15. The course material will be covered over four Tuesday classes; attendance at all four Tuesdays in January is mandatory for admission to the class.

If you are interested, visit and contact the club at There will be other months that the club will offer an introductory course to celebrate the 40th anniversary.

Webinar on Open Data, Place-Based Research, Dec. 6

The Office of Disease Prevention will hold a Methods: Mind the Gap webinar with Dr. Stephen J. Mooney on constructing measures of place from secondary data. The event will occur on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m.

Dr. Stephen J. Mooney
Dr. Stephen J. Mooney

Mooney will discuss approaches and useful tools for constructing measures of place from secondary data, including “ecometrics” (using psychometric techniques to build place-based scales), spatial interpolation and assessing and correcting for sampling biases in crowdsourced data.

Mooney is acting assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at the University of Washington. He has a background as a computer programmer and recently obtained a Ph.D. in epidemiology from Columbia University. His research focuses on how urban environments shape health, particularly through active transport and transport-related injury and on developing methods to measure those urban environments accurately.

To register visit

Dec. 13
Dyer To Give NEI Audacious Goals Seminar

Dr. Michael A. Dyer
Dr. Michael A. Dyer

On Thursday, Dec. 13, Dr. Michael A. Dyer will present the next NEI Audacious Goals Seminar in Neuroregeneration from noon to 1 p.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10. In his presentation “Cellular Pliancy in Retinal Development and Disease,” Dyer will discuss how stress and injury affect the eye’s susceptibility to cancer and degeneration.

Dyer is chair of the department of developmental neurobiology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He studies factors that influence and coordinate early cellular development. Specifically, he investigates how cells in the developing light-sensing retina proliferate and organize into cellular subtypes. His objective is to understand the causes of eye cancers such as retinoblastoma and degenerative eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.

For more information about the series, visit

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