Clinical Center News
NFL star visits to celebrate the commitment and dedication of Clinical Center volunteers
Madieu Williams, National Football League star, philanthropist, and Clinical Center volunteer program alumni presented the keynote at the 28th annual volunteer appreciation celebration in May.
The Clinical Center would not be the same without the support and dedication of its committed volunteers, said Maureen Gormley, CC chief operating officer, at the 28th annual volunteer appreciation celebration on May 11.
Joining Gormley and the volunteers and staff attending the celebration was Madieu Williams, National Football League star, philanthropist, and CC Volunteer Program alumni.
“I consider this my first real job,” Williams said of the time he spent as a volunteer for the Rehabilitation Medicine Department Recreation Therapy Section. Williams began volunteering in the main playroom to fulfill an internship requirement as a family studies student at the University of Maryland, but enjoyed spending time with patients and their family members so much that he returned to volunteer at the playroom the following summer.
“This place is very special to me,” he said. “I am thankful for people who gave me the opportunity to work here.”
Williams immigrated to Prince George’s County from Sierra Leone with his family at the age of 9. Currently a safety for the Minnesota Vikings, he was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals and played football at the University of Maryland.
In 2005 he founded the Madieu Williams Foundation, an organization focused on health, wellness, nutrition, fitness, and education. Through his foundation, Williams reaches out to youth and teaches them at an early age the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The foundation has supported the construction and operation of a school that serves 243 students in Williams’ hometown of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
In his keynote, Williams credited the experience gained as a volunteer at the CC with building the foundation for the skills he used in starting his organization. “I wish I could have stayed a lot longer, because a lot of the things I learned here are what I am applying to my foundation,” he said. “There are a lot of people less fortunate who don’t have the things we take for granted every day, and my heart goes out to them, especially to the families.”
Williams spoke highly of his time connecting with patients through recreation therapy, even mentioning that he considered applying for a job here before he was drafted to the Bengals.
Recognizing volunteer commitment
The CC Social Work Department’s volunteer program celebrated the work of the more than 200 active volunteers throughout Volunteer Appreciation Week April 11 to 15 and honored outstanding contributions at the appreciation celebration on May 11.
“The work that this very dedicated group of volunteers does on a day-in and day-out basis really displays the kind of warmth and hospitality that’s befitting for our patients,” said Gormley. “This group of special volunteers helps us welcome people and tries to take away as much stress as possible. For that we are so grateful.”
The ceremony honored five volunteers for overall contribution, commitment, dedication, and excellence in customer service in support of the CC mission. “All those things you do really help our patients get through what they are dealing with, whether you recognize it or not. So thank you!” said volunteer program coordinator Courtney Duncan.
Recognized with special recognition awards were: Victor Canino, Language Interpreter Program volunteer; Monica Goodison, Language Interpreter Program volunteer; Cynthia Keane, Pain and Palliative Care services volunteer; Dhamayanthy Pathmanathan, Red Cross Services and Recreation Therapy Section playroom volunteer; Mark Schermerhorn, patient ambassador in OP7, and the volunteer representative to the volunteer advisory group.
Supporting the “House of Hope”
OP7 volunteer Mark Schermerhorn received an award from Courtney Duncan at the May 11th volunteer appreciation ceremony
The inspiration to volunteer at the CC can come from a variety of sources—some volunteers want more experience in a research hospital, some volunteers want to give back to a community that has helped them or their families in the past, some interested in service and the CC’s unique environment and mission.
Schermerhorn of Maryland came to the CC first as a healthy volunteer enrolled in a protocol. He was fascinated by the environment and applied to become a volunteer. He has been volunteering for the past year and a half and primarily supports the OP7 clinic.
“Volunteers can give that bit of additional support to patients: everything from helping them navigate the CC to spending a moment with them during stressful times,” Schermerhorn said. “A kind word can go a very long way. “
Schermerhorn represents the CC volunteers on the newly formed volunteer advisory group. The group of supervisors, staff, and the volunteer representative focuses on better serving the CC’s volunteer population.
“The thing that sticks out most in my mind is seeing firsthand the enormous amount of hard work that is required by the dedicated employees, contractors, and volunteers to keep the CC going as truly, ‘The House of Hope,’’’ Schermerhorn said.
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Training program welcomes 30 new clinical fellows
The NIH Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP) Board of Tutors has selected 30 medical and dental students representing 19 different US schools for its 15th class of fellows. The 12-month educational experience, conducted at NIH and funded jointly by the NIH and Pfizer Inc through the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), begins in July.
Each year, the program provides creative, research-oriented medical and dental students hands-on experience in clinical and translational research at NIH. The students, who are taking a year away from their studies for a year of academic and scientific enrichment, work with NIH investigators who serve as research mentors. In addition to conducting and collaborating in active research projects, CRTP fellows attend clinical rounds, courses and seminars and present their research findings to the NIH community and at various conferences.
Since the program began in 1997, 340 students representing 87 schools have joined the CRTP. This year’s participants were selected from an extremely competitive pool of 141 applicants, which is a program record. This year’s group includes, for the first time, students from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division at the Pritzker School of Medicine, and New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of New York Institute of Technology.
CRTP is one of the premier public-private partnerships at the FNIH. Since 1998, the program has had support from Pfizer Inc through grants to the FNIH. Additional support from the NIH Common Fund was provided starting in 2004 to increase the CRTP class size to 30 participants.
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New radiology viewer lets users securely access patient scans anywhere, anytime
With the new picture archive and communication system "lite viewer" Jacquin Jones, a research nurse coordinator in Radiology and Imaging Sciences, can take patient scans wherever there is a high-speed internet connection, even to the NIH Library for reference during research.
Clinical Center Radiology and Imaging Sciences is using an innovative new system that allows users to access scans anywhere there is a high-speed Internet connection.
The new picture archive and communication system (PACS) “lite viewer” allows users to access any patient image, anywhere, anytime, said Dr. David Bluemke, Radiology and Imaging Sciences director.
A sort of mobile viewing room, the system is designed to work with any browser-enabled device, especially portable wireless devices or tablets. The system is fast, portable, and user-friendly, allowing users to take images with them to meetings, conferences, or even to the library for reference during research. Users can search for data by patient name and open and view scans without being tied down to a desktop system, enabling efficient communication between physicians, radiologists, and patients.
The system is easy to navigate and can display massive amounts of patient image data very quickly. “Image PACS systems have previously been designed for expert radiologists, but we know that patient care occurs at the bedside, in the conference room, or clinic,” said Bluemke. “We need to make NIH patient data available wherever our researchers are and whenever then need it.”
Physicians and researchers can access patient images using their NIH username and login at: http://intranet.cc.nih.gov/radiology/pacslite.html.
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CC patient and local artist thrives despite her low vision
Local artist and CC patient Ruth Lotz is pictured above with her painting "Roses for You." Her series of 12 paintings will be on display in the Hatfield Building’s east gallery through July 8.
An inspiration to many, Clinical Center patient and accomplished artist Ruth Lotz has continued to paint into her 90th year even as her vision fades.
Lotz’s passion for art began at an early age, and since being diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration eight years ago, she has seen her technique evolve and transform. No longer able to produce finely detailed paintings, she takes from memory scenes of places she loved and paints them in a new way. “In a way, I feel freer. The fact that I am unable to paint all of the intricacies of a flower doesn’t stop me from creating a beautiful flower,” Lotz said.
She was honored on May 13 at the CC as part of Healthy Vision Month, an effort by the National Eye Institute to raise awareness of eye disease. The event was attended by Lotz’s family and friends and members of her art community and retirement village.
Despite being legally blind, Lotz has maintained her social life and passion for art and painting, as evidenced by the stunning water media paintings on display in the east gallery on the first floor of the Hatfield Building.
The east gallery is one of eight galleries managed by the Clinical Center art program. The program primarily features artwork by artists from the Washington, DC, area, with occasional exhibits from around the country.
Lotz’s artwork is available for purchase, and 20 percent of the purchase price of each piece will be donated to the CC’s patient emergency fund. Operated through the CC Social Work Department, the fund provides limited financial assistance to selected patients and family members who need help in order to remain part of a clinical research protocol.
Rebecca Parks, an art connoisseur and senior occupational therapist in the CC Rehabilitation Medicine Department, was struck by the beauty of Lotz’s paintings even before hearing the artist’s story. “Knowing what goes into making art and knowing how difficult the process could be for someone with a visual impairment makes me admire her paintings even more,” Parks said.
Parks purchased two of Lotz’s vibrant works of art for her personal collection. Two other paintings will also stay within the CC community after being purchased by the CC art program and the Office of Facilities Management for the Outpatient Pharmacy Department’s permanent collection.
To learn more about the National Eye Institute’s healthy vision month, visit: http://www.nei.nih.gov/healthyeyes/
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Future clinical investigators visit CC to learn of resources
Members of the next generation of clinical researchers visited the Clinical Center in April when a group of young investigators and scholars attending the Association for Clinical Research Training Clinical and Translational Research and Education Meeting held in Washington DC toured key CC resources.
The group also heard a presentation about the CC and the training opportunities offered here from Dr. Frederick P. Ognibene, CC deputy director for educational affairs and strategic partnerships.
On one of the stops of the tour, staff clinician and lead radiologist for computed tomography, Dr. Les Folio (in lab coat) from Radiology and Imaging Sciences, showed the group the interventional radiology resources, including the computed tomography (CT)
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Nurses Week 2011 celebrates caring and compassion
Dr. Anne Berger (right) and a panel of nurses encouraged nurses to care for themselves in addition to others at the Nurses Week kick-off presentation on May 2. The panel included (from left) Amy Callahan-Lesher, Kimberly Skay, and Nicole Gamba.
The Intensive Care Unit staff (3SW-S) received the 2011 Nurses Week Team Award for best exhibiting a healthy and supportive environment for nurses. Pictured are members of the team with Dr. Clare Hastings, CC chief nursing officer (right) including (from left) Nancy Ames, Heather Luong, Pam Horwitz, and Shelia Richardson.
Dr. Gwenyth Wallen, Dr. Clare Hastings, and Dr. Cheryl Fisher gave a presentation on their trip to China as part of nurses week. They are pictured above with a group of hospital officials from the Fourth Xian Military Medical University in Xi’an, China.
The 2011 Clinical Center Nurses Week hosted by Nursing and Patient Care Services (NPCS) celebrated the care and compassion exhibited by the CC’s staff of spectacular nurses every day.
To care for others, care for oneself
Nurses are by nature a selfless people, but to care for others, one must care for oneself. So was the message of the CC Nurses Week kick-off presentation on May 2. Keynote speaker Dr. Ann Berger, chief of Pain and Palliative Care, and panelists offered different perspectives on compassion fatigue and shared coping techniques to overcome the burnout that can come from caring for many, very sick patients.
“The way I have coped with compassion fatigue is spirituality and retail therapy,” Berger said with a smile. She asked nurses to watch out for and check in with each other. “Be attentive to colleagues’ bad days,” she said.
Nicole Gamba, 1NW nurse manager, outlined how her unit responded to a time of high intensity/long-term patients and frequent patient deaths. Their wellness session series responded to staff’s request for information on teamwork, relaxation tools, and depression warning signs.
Kimberly Skay of the pediatric clinic spoke about the daily challenge of balancing work and a personal life. Amy Callahan-Lesher, a clinical nurse specialist in surgical oncology/immunology, told stories of how she used humor—in a mature and sensitive way—to ease compassion fatigue and lighten the mood with patients in a dire condition.
The Nurses Week opening ceremony also included announcement of the 2011 Team Award winners. The Intensive Care Unit staff (3SW-S) received the honor for best exhibiting a healthy and supportive environment for nurses.
Bringing nurses together to celebrate
Early in the week and early in the morning, NPCS hosted a night shift staff appreciation breakfast complete with eggs and bacon, as well as administrators in big white chef’s hats.
Ramya Parthasaratity, a nurse on 3NW and Nurses Week committee member, enjoyed the opportunity to mingle with other staff members at the breakfast. “I like the integration and the opportunity to bring everyone together,” she said.
Nurses across disciplines and institutes gathered on Tuesday and Thursday of Nurses Week for pot-luck themed “block parties.” On Tuesday, the first-and-third-floor block party offered a beach party from 1NW and a special spread from the 3SW-N procedural unit titled “Nations United in Care.” They had each staff member bring in a dish that represented their culture and invited visitors to guess both the food item and the associated country.
Sombreros, nachos, and other festive flavors were prominently represented at the appropriately timed Cinco de Mayo (May 5) block party for the ambulatory care clinics and the fifth and seventh floor patient-care units. The second block party also hosted spreads appropriately themed to their associated clinics, including “Caring and Compassion are Infectious” from the OP8 Infectious Disease Clinic and “Plasmid Slime Punch” from the 5NE-S Special Clinical Studies Unit.
The pot-luck block parties offered a variety of tasty treats. The 3SW-N procedural unit’s table in the foreground offered food that represented each team member’s culture.
The week’s events also included Clinical Center Grand Rounds presented by LCDR Dr. Margaret Bevans, NPCS clinical nurse scientist, and Dr. Esther Sternberg, chief of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Section on Neuroendocrine Immunology and Behavior. They presented “Measuring Stress and Its Impact on Health in Family Caregivers.”
Bringing nursing practice to China
Nurses Week also offered a special presentation on a recent NPCS trip to China, part of a partnership to bring clinical research training abroad. Dr. Clare Hastings, CC chief nursing officer; Dr. Cheryl Fisher, program director of professional development; and Dr. Gwenyth Wallen, chief of nursing research and translational science shared photos and a description of their recent trip. The group taught a two-day course on evidence-based practice to 104 nurses of various career stages in Bejing, China, and to more than 300 participants at the Fourth Xian Military Medical University in Xi’an, China.
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Lab Professionals Week gives leadership a chance to thank staff
The Department of Laboratory Medicine (DLM) kicked off National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week with a breakfast on April 25 attended by Clinical Center and DLM leadership.
“It is really wonderful to just pause for a week and celebrate what you do,” said CC Director Dr. John I. Gallin.
DLM Chief Dr. Thomas Fleisher acknowledged the strength of his “fabulous crew” in a year of transition of service chiefs. “It is a time to celebrate where we’ve been, but also where we’re going,” said Fleisher.
A committee of DLM staff organized events throughout the week for staff members: a pizza party, an ice cream social, and an employee-designed lab coat fashion show.
Department of Laboratory Medicine staff (from left): Vivian Morales, Laura Roeder, Gabrielle Farello, Gina Mattia, and Perlita Powers pose with (from left) CC Director Dr. John I. Gallin, Department of Laboratory Medicine Chief Dr. Thomas Fleisher, and CC Deputy Director for Clinical Care Dr. David Henderson during a breakfast marking National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week.
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“Medicine for the Public” lectures address depression and obesity
The “Medicine for the Public” lecture series has been a key public and community health education program since the Clinical Center began hosting the lectures in 1977.
Today, the series is presented as a new collaborative program between the CC, Suburban Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Medicine. This collaboration couples the strengths of three institutions and expands the scope of expertise available to include experts working in areas ranging from basic research laboratories to hospitals and community programs.
The lectures, held on May 17 and 24th in the Suburban Hospital Auditorium presented the latest in research for two of today’s most common health problems, depression and obesity. For more information about the series visit: www.cc.nih.gov/about/news/mfp.shtml
Pictured above with CC Director Dr. John I. Gallin (right), the speakers at the May 24 lecture titled "Challenging Depression: New Insights into Treatment Research," included (from left) Dr. David T. George, Suburban Hospital; Dr. Jennifer Lanier Payne, Johns Hopkins Medicine; and Dr. Carlos A. Zarate, National Institute of Mental Health.
The May 17 lecture titled "Confronting Obesity: Updates in Prevention and Treatment Research," was presented by Dr. Tania Heller, Suburban Hospital; Dr. Kong Y. Chen, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (center); and Dr. Lawrence Appel, Johns Hopkins Medicine (right).
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Social Work supervisor retires after 23 years
Long-time Social Work Department supervisor Margo Aron retired after 23 years supporting patients and staff.
Margo Aron, social work supervisor, retired May 31 after 23 years at the Clinical Center working with a range of patient populations.
“I think the patients give more to us than we give them,” Aron said.
When she started in 1989 as a clinical social worker, Aron created a support group for HIV patients who didn’t know what they were dealing with. “I was glad to help,” she said. “I created an environment where patients felt heard and supported.”
Aron began her professional career as a teacher in New York City. She graduated with a degree in child development and education from Brooklyn College. In 1989, Aron earned a master of social work from Catholic University, and continued her education at the Washington Psychoanalytic Society.
After her work with HIV patients, Aron worked with breast cancer patients, developing an intake and screening program. She also covered other units, such as pediatric oncology. Her work included dealing with the medical emotional issues of extremely ill children and the impact of their illness on their families and staff. Aron created a support group for breast cancer patients and a support group for physicians.
In 1993, Aron was promoted to clinical supervisor and has overseen social workers assigned to pediatric, oncology, and bone marrow transplant patients. She also assisted in the restructuring of the Social Work Department to prepare for the move to the Hatfield Building in 2004.
Aron has maintained a part-time private practice in psychotherapy, which she plans to continue. She also oversees the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis low-fee clinic. In semi-retirement, Aron is looking forward to sleeping in, hiking, and spending time with her husband of 42 years and her three children and their spouses.
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Former CC director’s family visits
Bonnie Stewart (second, from left) visited the Clinical Center in May in search of her family’s history. Stewart’s grandfather was Dr. Donald W. Patrick, CC director from 1954-1956.
Stewart visited the portrait of Patrick in the Magnuson Building main corridor with her niece and nephew, (Patrick’s great-grandchildren) Adam Harris (left) and Kristina Fenton (second, from right), and Patrick’s deceased granddaughter’s husband David Montoya.
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DLM hosts a "fantastic voyage"/CC celebrates earth day
DLM hosts a "fantastic voyage"
The Clinical Center hosted future scientists around the hospital at Take Your Child to Work Day on April 28. Researchers held interactive sessions teaching young visitors about how the brain works, how clinical research is reviewed, and how imaging technology offers detailed pictures of the heart.
The Department of Laboratory Medicine (DLM) hosted a “fantastic voyage” where staff guided children through a mock lab setting where they dress up like medical technologists, perform laboratory tests, and learn how to collect specimens. DLM medical technologist Jamie Hahn (above, in lab coat) showed what some bacteria look like under the microscope.
CC celebrates earth day
Rain forced Earth Day events into the Clinical Center South Lobby on April 28. With them came an animal exhibit including an eagle who delighted NIH staff and visitors.
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Nursing leadership transition
Clinical Center Nursing and Patient Care Services (NPCS) announced several changes in third floor patient-care unit leadership in May.
Sue Johnson has transitioned to the NPCS Office of Advanced Practice and Outcomes Management. Previously she was the nurse manager for the 3NW Surgical Oncology program, and the acting nurse manager for the 3SE-S Day Hospital.
CAPT Diane Aker, previously nurse manager of the 3NE Hematology Oncology Transplant Program and acting nurse manager for the 3SE-N Medical Oncology Program, is now acting nurse manager for the 3NW Surgical Oncology Program.
CDR Beverly Smith will assume the role of acting nurse manager for the 3NE Hematology Oncology Transplant Program, and Andrea Plati will serve as the acting nurse manager for the 3SE-N Medical Oncology Program and the 3SE-S Day Hospital.
Relocation of drop boxes
The UPS, FedEx, and ACGT drop boxes on the B1 level of the Magnuson Building will be relocated in June to a more convenient spot.
The drop boxes will be moved to the second floor of the Hatfield Building near the south elevator lobby, on the side opposite the entrance to the second floor cafeteria.
CC employees are encouraged to help keep the space organized and neat by following the instructions on each company’s drop-off box. Packages should never be left on top of or next to the drop box.
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New Clinical Research Protocols June
The following new clinical research protocols were approved in April:
- Stereophotogrammetry of the Torso in Normal Individuals and Patients with Scoliosis, Chest Wall Deformations, or Obesity; 11-CC-0120; Dr. Scott M. Paul; CC
- Evaluation of Diagnostic and Prognostic Molecular Markers in Adrenal Neoplasm; 11-C-0149; Dr. Electron Kebebew; NCI
- A Phase I Study of Gemcitabine, Carboplatin and Lenalidomide (GCL) for Treatment of Patients with Advanced/Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma (UC) and Other Tumors; 11-C-0140; Dr. Andrea B. Apolo; NCI
- Autologous Tumor Cell Vaccs and ISCOMATRIX(TM) Adjuvant with Metronomic Oral Cyclophosphamide and Celecoxib in Pts Undergoing Resection of Sarcomas, Melanomas, Germ Cell Tumors, or Epithelial Malignancies Metastatic to Lungs , Pleura or Mediastinum; 11-C-0148; Dr. David Schrump; NCI
- A Phase II Study of Enhancement of Immune Reconstitution and Vaccine Responses with Administratin of Glyco-Recombinant Human IL-7 in Older Subjects Following Chemotherapy; 11-C-0146; Dr. Claude Sportes; NCI
- Longitudinal Investigation of Dark Adaptation in Participants with Age-Related Macular Degeneration; 11-EI-0147; Dr. Catherine A. Cukras; NEI
- Markers of Autism Spectrum Disorders in At-Risk Toddlers: A Pilot Study; 11-M-0144; Dr. Stacy Shumway; NIMH
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Clinical Center Grand Rounds
Lipsett Amphitheater, 12 noon
Lectures will be videocast at http://videocast.nih.gov
New Imaging Approaches to Determining Morphology and Severity of Mitral Valve Disease
Vandana Sachdev, MD
Staff Clinician and Director, Echocardiography Laboratory, NHLBI
Surgical Approaches to Management of Mitral Valve Disease
Keith Horvath, MD
Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery Research Program, NHLBI
Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery, NIH Heart Center at Suburban Hospital
Contemporary Clinical Medicine: Great Teachers
Eighth Annual John Laws Decker Memorial Lecture
Childhood Growth: New Concepts, New Treatments
Jeffrey Baron, MD
Chief, Section on Growth and Development, NICHD
Asthma and the Environment
Darryl Zeldin, MD
Senior Investigator and Acting Clinical Director, NIEHS
Genome-wide Association Studies and Environmental Interactions in Pulmonary Function
Stephanie London, MD, DrPH
Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch and Laboratory of Respiratory Biology, NIEHS
Steroids in Sepsis: Review of Clinical Trials and Preclinical Studies in a Canine Model
Charles Natanson, MD
Senior Investigator and Chief, Anesthesia Section, Critical Care Medicine Department, CC
Peter Minneci, MD
Instructor in Surgery, Chief Surgical Resident
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Bisphosphonates: Pros and Cons in Bone Health
Michael T. Collins, MD
Chief, Skeletal Clinical Studies Unit, Craniofacial and Skeletal Diseases Branch, NIDCR
Deborah E. Sellmeyer, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
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This page last updated on 12/20/2017