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Clinical Center News

Published monthly for CC employees by Clinical Center Communications

past issues

June 2004

New wing opens at the Children's Inn

Lecture pays tribute to former director

Alter awarded for outstanding work

Moore named CFO special assistant

Celebrating national nurses week

One person's junk is Office of NIH History's treasure

Gift shop, cafe offer convenience in CRC

Anticipation of CRC sparks changes for B2 loading dock

Interpreters program boosts efficiency with new videos


June calendar

New wing opens at the Children's Inn

The Children's Inn Department of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson along with ABC political commentator Cokie Roberts (left) were part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the new wing of the Children's Inn

The Children's Inn celebrated its first major expansion in its 14-year history May 5 with the opening of a new wing that provides 22 additional resident rooms and new public spaces for pediatric outpatients and their families.

On hand to speak and take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were a host of supporters, including Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson; mistress of ceremonies and ABC political commentator Cokie Roberts; NIH Director Elias Zerhouni; Philip Pizzo, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine and founder of the Children's Inn; Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), wife of Rep. John Dingell, and a member of the Dedication Committee; Karyn Frist, wife of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and a member of the Dedication Committee; and Dr. Bradley T. Sheares, of Merck & Company, Inc.

"Together we have created this beautiful—and now expanded—'place like home' for 59 families who can live here each night," said Dr. Zerhouni in his remarks. "With its new kitchen and dining areas, teen room, arts and crafts studio, exercise room, business center and family lounge areas, the Inn lets kids be kids and helps families find comfort and mutual support in being with each other, sharing quiet time and maintaining the familiar routines of daily life."

Since its opening in 1990, the Inn has served more than 6,000 children and their families from all over the United States and 57 foreign countries.

"The Inn is a critical part of our work to speed the movement of research discoveries from the laboratory to the patient," Dr. Zerhouni continued. "Recently a branch chief told me that the Inn makes it much easier to enroll children, and to deliver more therapy in an outpatient setting. Together we have built this place of comfort and support for our young pioneers. We look forward to helping make a very difficult time easier for many new children and their families as we welcome them in the years to come."

Secretary Thompson also praised the concept of the Children's Inn and noted that the facility would accommodate 59 families per night at no cost to them.

"Even though these children and their families are away from home, they will be able to wake up every morning in a home that offers love, support and encouragement. Throughout the day, the children at the Inn give their all and contribute to scientific breakthroughs. It's extremely important that we support them by providing a home to return to at the end of the day that's filled with comfort and love."

Roberts said the Inn would be a home because of it's "fun-filled atmosphere." Each child, she said, "can forget about being a patient and relax, play, cook a meal, share stories, and spend time with their parents."

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Lecture pays tribute to former director

Photo of Dr. Decker John Laws Decker

The first annual Dr. John Laws Decker Memorial Lecture will be held Wednesday June 2 at 12 p.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater.

The lecture, sponsored by the Clinical Center and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, recognizes the contribution of former Clinical Center director Dr. John Laws Decker, who died of a heart arrhythmia July 2000.

Dr. Steve Holland, chief, Immunopathogenesis section, Laboratory of Host Defenses, NIAID will discuss the topic "The Human Genetics of Mycobacterial Susceptibility."

Dr. Michael Bishop, Investigator and Clinical Head, Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch, NCI, will discuss "Allogeneic T Cells as Adoptive Immunotherapy for Metastatic Breast Cancer."

Dr. Decker served as director and NIH Associate Director for Clinical Care from 1983 until his retirement in 1990.

During his retirement, Dr. Decker remained active at the Clinical Center, serving as author, and in later editions contributing editor, of "Protomechanics, A Guide to Preparing and Conducting a Clinical Research Study." He was also a consultant to the FDA.

Dr. Decker came to NIH in 1965 as chief of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Branch in what is now the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, serving as clinical director from 1976-1980 and scientist emeritus following his retirement in 1990. A native of New York and the son of missionary parents, he grew up in China and returned to the U.S. for his education. A World War II Navy veteran, Dr. Decker served in the Pacific and received the Purple Heart.

His studies in rheumatic diseases earned him international recognition. Among his awards: the Philip Hench Award from the Association of Military Surgeons in 1972, the NIH Director's Award in 1977, the Alessandro Robecchi International Prize for Rheumatology Research on nephritis of systemic lupus erythematosus in 1983, and the PHS Superior Service Award in 1987. Dr. Decker in 1989 became the second physician to receive the American College of Rheumatology Gold Medal. In 1990, Dr. Decker was the first NIH physician to receive the Master of the American College of Physicians.

The lecture can be accessed on the NIH videocast at

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Alter awarded for outstanding work

Photo of Dr. Harvey Alter Dr. Harvey Alter
Dr. Harvey Alter, Department of Transfusion Medicine, continues to reap rewards for years of dedication to research and medicine.

Dr. Alter was awarded the American College of Physicians Award for outstanding work in science as related to medicine during the organization's convocation ceremony held in April in New Orleans, La.

"It is a great and unexpected honor to be included in the list of distinguished recipients of this award," said Alter.

Dr. Alter joins 46 other scientists nationwide as recipients of the award, as well as notable NIH scientists including Nobel Prize winners Marshall W. Nirenberg and Michael S. Brown, former NIH Directors Donald S. Fredrickson and Harold E. Varmus, and current researchers J. Michael Bishop, Thomas A. Waldmann and Francis S. Collins.

Last year, Dr. Alter made Clinical Center history by becoming the first Clinical Center scientist elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Albert Lasker Medical Research Award, and in 2002 he received The International Society of Blood Transfusion Presidential Award.

Dr. Alter is chief of the infectious diseases section and associate director of research in the Department of Transfusion Medicine. A native of New York City, he earned his M.D. at the University of Rochester. He came to the NIH Clinical Center as a senior investigator in 1969.

As a young research fellow, he co-discovered the Australia antigen, a key to detecting the hepatitis B virus. Later, Dr. Alter spearheaded a project at the Clinical Center that created a storehouse of blood samples used to uncover the causes and reduce the risk of transfusion-associated hepatitis. Because of his work, the U.S. instituted blood and donor screening programs that have served to increase the safety of the blood supply.

Dr. Alter used this repository of clinically-linked blood samples to identify another puzzling clinical problem. Most transfusion-related hepatitis was found to be due to a virus different from the two then-known hepatitis agents, A and B. Dr. Alter called this new form of hepatitis non-A, non-B hepatitis and subsequently proved through transmission studies in chimpanzees that it was due to a new agent. This eventually led to the discovery of the hepatitis C virus.

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Moore named CFO special assistant

Photo of Melissa Moore Melissa Moore

Melissa Moore has been named Special Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer. In this new position, Moore will support the duties of Chief Financial Officer Lisa Lacasse by providing critical analytical support for budget and patient census analysis.

Prior to accepting the position, Moore worked as a financial analyst for the past two years in the Clinical Center Office of Financial Resources Management. In that position she was responsible for supporting budget development, staffing the Capital Equipment and Resources Committee and developing and distributing the Clinical Center's monthly management reports.

Moore began her government career four years ago as a Presidential Management Intern where she worked in the Department of Health and Human Service Budget Office and various institutes throughout NIH.

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Celebrating national nurses week

Photo of Vernice Ferguson
Vernice Ferguson

Nurses at the NIH Clinical Center marked the 2004 National Nurses Week May 6-12 with a spectrum of activities. On Thursday, May 6 Vernice Ferguson opened the celebration with a keynote address in Lipsett Auditorium. Her talk was given in the context of a "conversation with the nurses." She impressed listeners with her passion for the nursing profession and her support of nursing at NIH. Her entire presentation may be viewed at: or

The theme for this year's nursing celebration, "Who We Are, Where We Are Going," was carried throughout the activities. This year instead, as in years past, of highlighting individual Outstanding Nurses each patient care unit, outpatient clinic, speciality clinic, and other areas of speciality were highlighted. A book was published with write ups describing each of these organizational nursing units. Each write up was produced by the nurses and depicts their environment and staff. Other activities during the week included a day of presentations by nursing researchers and a showcase of nursing programs.

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One person's junk is Office of NIH History's treasure

Photo of NIH historian looking through archives
Before trashing old items check with the Office of NIH History to make sure it is not of historical relevance
Office space is limited and it's often tempting to throw old items into a bin and get rid of them. However, yesterday's documents and photos may be a part of Clinical Center history and, as such, should be forwarded to the Office of NIH History (ONH).

"It's unfortunate, but we've lost a wealth of historically relevant material to well-meaning managers and staff who simply want to do spring cleaning," said Dr. Sarah Leavitt, head of ONH. "With many offices and laboratories in the Clinical Center moving, or preparing to move in the coming months, the time is ripe to sort out which papers, books and instruments you're going to take with you to your new space." But, she added, "before you throw anything away or surplus it, consider giving it to ONH instead."

What is the ONH interested in?

A better question might be what isn't it interested in, said Leavitt. "We collect scientific instruments and non-scientific objects, such as nurses' uniforms or lapel pins, which document NIH history. Instrument manuals for instruments you are donating or for those you no longer have, and trade catalogs are also items of interest."

The archival section of ONH collects documents and correspondence relating to programs, policies, and laboratories; scientific notebooks; and photographs or audio-visual material such as photos, slides, old PowerPoint presentations and videos. For those you want to keep, ONH can make copies and return the originals to you. ONH also seeks old telephone books, annual reports, books, and other such materials.

"Things do not have to be old to be of interest," said Leavitt. "What is significant now may be even more significant later-NIH history covers the present as well as the past."

Items of interest will be added into the ONH's Stetten Museum and archival collections. The collections are used in exhibits, loaned to other museums, and studied by NIH researchers and outside scholars interested in NIH history. They will also be searchable online.

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Gift shop, cafe offer convenience in CRC

Photo of the new cafe The new cafe, located across the Science Court from the gift shop, will sell nationally-branded food items.
Two new retail amenities are planned for the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center. Employees will welcome the convenience of a new gift shop and a new café that will be located on the first floor of the CRC Science Court atrium.

Each 900-square foot space will have a 40-foot opening directly to the atrium. Glass walls behind the shop and the café will provide full views of the exterior courtyards and doors from each location will provide direct access to the outdoors.

The project is quite unique, according to Project Officer Mark Gangestad of the NIH Office of Research Facilities, and has required a great deal of interaction with many NIH entities. "This has been, and is, an intensive and concerted programmatic effort by all involved," he said. "I am proud to have had a hand in implementing the design of the stores and in managing their construction. My prime approach to this project is to ensure that the new retail spaces will be a superlative asset for the CRC."

Photo of the new gift shop The new gift shop, located in the new CRC Science Court, will offer a boutique-like environment.
The gift shop and café will have direct access to a patio with fountains. The overall look will be "elegant and clean-cut" said Gangestad. The shop will offer a boutique-style environment with custom displays showcased in cabinetry with a "museum-like" look.

Featured items for sale will be upscale and have a brand-name orientation. Items will include: the top ten bookseller titles; the most popular magazines; gifts/jewelry; Hallmark cards; NIH memorabilia; and more. There will also be an area for flower sales.

The NIH Recreation & Welfare Association (R & W) will operate the shop. "Proceeds from the gift shop will go to support patient services and programs at the NIH just as with the other R & W stores," said Randy Schools, president and chief executive officer, NIH R & W. "We are pleased about this opportunity to further support NIH patients and are looking into exciting new programs for the CRC."

The café design will include a central island and a wraparound counter. In good weather the café's seating capacity can be increased by outdoor seating. Retail items for sale will include Au Bon Pain and Starbucks products such as sandwiches, soup, pastries, salads, and beverages. The café will be open Monday through Friday and serviced by NIH's dining services contractor, Eurest Food Services.

"We are pleased we can sell nationally-branded items that people are familiar with. The café will be fully operational when the CRC opens," said Dwayne Parris, food services project manager, NIH Division of Employee Services, Office of Research Services. "The atrium is a good space and a good location for the CRC café."

Quality Assurance Specialist Allyson Cole, NIH Division of Employee Services, Office of Research Services emphasizes the environment the retail spaces are in. "What's nice is the gift shop and café will be surrounded by beauty. The venues will be pretty to look at," she said. "Our hope is that these amenities will meet the demand for retail needs and will draw people in."

-by Dianne Needham

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Anticipation of CRC sparks changes for B2 loading dock

Photo of the loading dock A 21-foot ramp connects the B2 loading dock to the CRC. The Loading Dock Management Services was implemented in anticipation of the opening of the CRC.
To accommodate the Clinical Research Center and the super-corridor that will support the transporting of materials and deliveries around the new hospital, major changes have been made to the B2 loading dock and areas surrounding the dock to better service employees.

The Clinical Center's Material Management Department (MMD) partnered with the Department of Property Management (DPM) in the Office of Research Facilities (ORF) in an effort to sustain and maintain a customer service-centered acceptance and delivery process for the Building 10-CRC complex.

The partnership created a campus-wide Dock and Materials Management services (DMM) initiative that was implemented in Building 10 to effectively accommodate the new hospital.

"This partnership was crafted in a manner that is well defined so that customers of the Building 10 and CRC complex will continue to experience the same high level of service that they have experienced in the past," said Mike Sandifer, chief, Storage and Distribution, MMD.

With that in mind, the Office of Research Services contracted SI International to provide Loading Dock Management Services (DMM) to Building 10 and the CRC. Material Management Department will maintain operational authority over the B2 loading dock. SI dock personnel are now assigned to the B2 loading dock area and are responsible for tracking materials, checking delivery manifests, and keeping records of all incoming deliveries. They will notify institutes and centers when deliveries are received and provide temporary staging of large or specialized delivered material and supplies when possible.

Security issues are also a priority in concert with existing and future NIH security measures. Dock personnel will check the identification of delivery drivers, check NIH identification of individuals moving equipment through the loading dock, control pedestrian traffic, and manage delivery parking.

"With the CRC expansion and the creation of the B2 super corridor, processes needed to be upgraded and the physical environment modernized in phases," said Mike Danis, Materials Management Department. "We wanted to upgrade without any disturbance to the current flow of work or a change in the delivery of materials to employees."

A 20-foot wide connecting ramp from the existing B2 loading dock will join a super-corridor on the B2 level of the CRC. The supercorridor will run the entire length of the new hospital and the existing Clinical Center to safely accommodate pedestrian traffic and self-powered material handling equipment used for the transporting of materials and deliveries around the new hospital and Clinical Center.

Currently the stairwell near the self-service store on the B1 level has been altered, eliminating pedestrian access to the B2 level. A path for the B2 level super-corridor will be carved through that area.

"Service is not going to change," said Henry Primas, chief, HFCD, "The improvements will be seamless and the high quality services will remain the same, if not better." For more information regarding deliveries at the loading docks or any other concerns email, or contact customer information at 301-435-4897. For operational and regulatory issues concerning the Building 10-CRC complex B2 loading dock contact Mike Sandifer, MMD at 301-496-4661. For all other information regarding Dock Material Management Services contact (ORF Project Manager) Kenny Windsor at 301-451-9721.

Loading Dock Safety

In an effort to address safety and security, NIH has paid critical attention to loading docks. It is important to remember that loading docks at all facilities are to be used for official dock business only. By limiting access to the dock for pedestrian use, NIH minimizes the risk of accidents and injury to unauthorized individuals.

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Interpreters program boosts efficiency with new videos

Photo of Jose Luis Rosado-Santiago Jose Luis Rosado-Santiago
Recognizing that the Clinical Center is an international research facility with an emphasis on world health, the Language Interpreters Program (LIP) has been rapidly growing over the past four years-and skyrocketing during the past two.

"The number of patients who speak Spanish or languages other than English have been steadily increasing," said José Luis Rosado-Santiago, one of two full-time Spanish interpreters at the Clinical Center. According to Rosado-Santiago, Spanish-speaking patients account for 83 percent of all non-English speaking patients. Of course there are others: Haitian Creole, Italian, Greek, French, Mandarin, and Arabic to name a few. But none amount to near one percent, added Rosado-Santiago.

"There's a need to accommodate people who feel more comfortable speaking another language," said Rosado-Santiago. "It's not that they can't speak English; rather, it's that we don't speak their language. When you have what is essentially an international research center and we're recruiting volunteers from all over the world for various medical studies, we have to accommodate their language needs."

After the creation of the two full-time multilingual interpreter positions two years ago, the Language Interpreters Program has engaged in an ongoing process of professionalism and expansion of its services. One of the needs identified by the LIP through focus groups and anecdotal evidence, was that the other two ends of the interpretation triad, patient/relative and staff members, needed to be educated about the nature of interpretation and the practical aspects of requesting and using interpreters at the Clinical Center.

The first step, he said, was to produce brochures or flyers covering various topics that would explain to Spanish-speaking patients the services available to them. They inform patients of their right to have an interpreter and how to request it. The brochure includes an "I Speak…" card that can be used to identify the language of the patient and lets the staff know that this person is requesting an interpreter. Two informational videos were produced. "The Many Languages of the Clinical Center" is in English and intended for staff; Bienvenidos! is in Spanish and will be closed-captioned for the hard of hearing. Later, Rosado-Santiago said, closed-captioning may be available in other languages for use with non-Spanish speakers.

"The reason we made a video for the staff," he said, "is that while some are very experienced and savvy in working with foreign patients, others weren't as comfortable. Some of our staff didn't really know how to deal with foreign patients, such as how to request an interpreter or even knowing there is an interpreter's program."

The video for staff is being used by Rosado-Santiago during in-service training that he provides upon request to any unit within the Clinical Center. "These in-services have proven a valuable educational tool and we have experienced both, an increase in use and more awareness on language issues from units that have benefited from them." The program has two full-time employees, Rosado-Santiago and María Raulovic. They're assisted at times by student interns from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and they also use a cadre of volunteers from inside and outside of the Clinical Center.

"We need to engage in education for our staff and patients, and the videos bring our staff and speakers of other languages together in an easy-to-understand way," Rosado-Santiago said.

The training video in English informs staff how best to use an interpreter, how they should structure their conversations and what they can and cannot expect from interpreters. "Understanding and creating awareness that there's a way of communicating with an interpreter is central to effective research," Rosado-Santiago said. "Training our staff facilitates that communication."

For more information on the Interpreter's Program and how to become a volunteer, contact the Language Interpreters Program, 301-496-1807.

-by John Iler

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Healthy Volunteers

Healthy Volunteers Needed for a study that examines the tongue. Compensation is provided. Call 1-800-411-1222, TTY 1-866-411-1010. Refer to study 01-CC-0044.

Healthy Volunteers for vaccine study

The Vaccine Research Center needs healthy volunteers ages 18 to 44 to participate in a study of an investigational Ebola vaccine. Volunteers will have medical examinations and blood tests to see if they are eligible for the study. Compensation is provided. To volunteer call 1-866-833-LIFE or TTY 1-866-411-1010. Refer to study 03-I-0285.

Healthy children

Healthy children between the ages for 6-18 are needed to participate in a study for cerebral palsy. To volunteer call 1-800-411-1222, or TTY 1-866-411-1010 or visit All study-related tests are provided at no cost. Refer to study 04-N-0098.

Calendar for June

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Editor: Tanya C. Brown
Contributing writers: Dianne Needham, John Iler, Colleen Henrichsen

Clinical Center News, National Institutes of Health, 6100 Executive Blvd., Suite 3C01, Bethesda, MD 20892-7511. Tel: 301-496-2563. Fax: 301-402-2984. Published monthly for CC employees by the Office of Clinical Center Communications, Colleen Henrichsen, chief. News, article ideas, calendar events, letters, and photographs are welcome.

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