September 2012

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Published monthly for CC employees by the Office of Communications, Patient Recruitment, and Public Liaison. News, article ideas, calendar events, letters, and photographs are welcome. Submissions may be edited.

Clinical Center News
National Institutes of Health
Building 10, 10 Center Drive
Room 12C440,
Bethesda, MD 20892-1504
Tel: 301-496-6787
Fax: 301-402-1982

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RM ResearchMatch

NIH Clinical Cener on ResearchMatch

Stop searching on your own for clinical studies.
Let opportunities to join a study find you.

The NIH Clinical Center has joined ResearchMatch, an online, national clinical research registry that "matches" people who want to participate in clinical studies with researchers who are seeking volunteers. To learn more, visit


Wounded Warrior Project allows soldiers
to make investment in their future

CPL Mark Sackett
CPL Mark Sackett observed and learned occupational therapy techniques, such as splinting and bracing, during his placement in the Wounded Warrior Project. The military veteran will begin
working toward his degree in the field this spring.

CPL Mark Sackett was on a career path. Originally from Winchester, Va., Sackett was an infantryman serving in Afghanistan when, in October 2010, he stepped on an improvised explosive device.

While undergoing rehabilitation on his injured leg and hand at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Sackett was forced to ask, "What next?"

As part of the Wounded Warrior Project [disclaimer], he spent four months in the Clinical Center Rehabilitation Medicine Department observing and assisting the occupational therapy practice. He'll start working toward his degree in the field in the spring at Lord Fairfax Community College.

"I want to help people, and this field is a good opportunity for me, since I can't fight anymore," Sackett said.

The Wounded Warrior Project helps transition injured soldiers from military to civilian life with a variety of outreach programs and support systems, including vocational training and experience. Participants are in active duty, but undergoing rehabilitation and awaiting discharge or clearance for return to service

He is one of the first two Wounded Warriors placed at the CC (the other was in physical therapy), and the partnership is welcoming two more to information technology this fall.

The CC's involvement with the project grew from the suggestion of a Patient Advisory Group member. Administrators met with local Wounded Warrior Project organizers and made a catalog of placement opportunities at the CC.

"Training is part of our mission," said Colleen McGowan, deputy chief operating officer, who leads the CC's partnership with the project. "These soldiers have given so much, and they are excited to learn and contribute. We see it as a win-win for us and for them."

McGowan acknowledged that placing the warriors in positions at the CC has taken some forethought and adjustment. They are used to a very structured environment, she said, and supervisors may need to consider that.

Bonnie Hodsdon, occupational therapy section chief, said their staff discussed how to address Sackett and respect his military position. Their concerns were unfounded, though.

"He put us all at ease very quickly," Hodsdon said. "He is an awesome individual, and we are glad to have been able to provide an opportunity for an investment in his future."

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Minority outreach program excites next generation of researchers

University of Arizona students David Gonzalez, Lizbeth Alvarez, Robbie Shatto, and Benjamin Juan
University of Arizona students David Gonzalez, Lizbeth Alvarez, Robbie Shatto, and Benjamin Juan visited NIH
in August for a one-week introduction to
biomedical career possibilities.

The Clinical Center hosted a small group of Hispanic and Native American students from the University of Arizona during a one-week immersion program August 6 — 10 focusing on supporting minorities pursuing careers in biomedical sciences.

The program included seminars and tours throughout the NIH campus, exposing the students to a variety of current research and training opportunities.

"Our ultimate goal with this program is to get the hook of interest in these undergraduates, which can be sustained as they progress in their careers to professional schools, with the goal that they may have additional NIH experiences in their futures," said Dr. Frederick P. Ognibene, director of the Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education (OCTRME).

The program was an idea conceived in partnership with the director of the Medical Student Research Program at the University of Arizona, Dr. Marlys Witte. She was inspired to help coordinate the new program in collaboration with OCTRME after she attended the Society of Clinical and Translational Science's [disclaimer] meeting in April that included a tour of the CC.

The students were Lizbeth Alvarez, David Gonzalez, Benjamin Juan, and Robbie Shatto, who are all either prospective or current undergraduate students at the University of Arizona. "I am leaving this trip feeling very inspired," said Alvarez, who added she loved meeting so many different staff and hearing about their career experiences.

"I definitely want to come back to the NIH in the future," said Shatto. "I want to do it all. I want to focus on clinical research, and I also want to do patient care. I want to find that perfect balance."

The CC's diversity management and minority outreach chief, Walter Jones, said the one-week program was a great opportunity and he hopes to do more like this in the future. "Hispanic Americans and Native Americans are dramatically underrepresented in the biomedical sciences as compared to their percentages of the civilian workforce. NIH is working to address this disparity by connecting with universities, such as the University of Arizona, that have higher percentages of Hispanic and Native American undergraduate students," Jones said. "Our goal is to get these students excited early on in a potential career in clinical research."

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Communications chief retires

Sara Byars
Sara Byars served the Clinical Center in various roles for 18 years.

Chief of the Office of Communications, Patient Recruitment, and Public Liaison (OCPRPL), Sara Byars, retired on August 17 after 18 years of service to the Clinical Center.

Byars began her NIH career as CCNews editor in 1993 and was promoted to deputy director of the then Office of Communications in 1997. During that time, she assisted on the launch of the CC's first Internet site. Byars left to work at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for a year, but returned as communications specialist in the Department of Clinical Research Informatics in 2002. In this role she led the communications efforts around the start-up of the Clinical Research Information System.

Byars also served as strategic communications specialist for the Office of the Director, where she worked on the dedication of and move to the new Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center. She was named chief of the recently established OCPRPL in 2007, and under her leadership, the department launched a social media presence and enjoyed international media coverage.

A graduate of Mississippi University for Women, Byars worked as a writer and photographer for the U.S. Army in Germany and Hawaii before joining the NIH. She'll retire to Pensacola, Fla.

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Annual flu vaccine can protect you, your patients,
and your family

Foil the Flu! flu bug illustrationWhat would you do to save a life? Your own, your child's, or one of your patients?

Getting the flu vaccine is a simple action that can protect you and those close to you from potentially fatal infection.

"Patients who have cancer, stem cell transplants, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and other immune-compromising conditions are particularly at risk for severe complications of flu infection. Those can include prolonged pneumonia and death," said Dr. Tara Palmore, deputy hospital epidemiologist. Pregnant women, and the elderly are also at elevated risk of severe infection, she said.

The best way to reduce your risks of getting sick or getting others sick is to get the flu shot every year. Planning to stay home once you feel ill may not be enough.

"Most healthy adults can infect others one day before symptoms develop," Palmore said. "So actually even if they stay home when they get sick, they may have already transmitted influenza."

The Clinical Center offers free flu shots for all staff and employees and contractors who work with patients are required to get immunized. Those who submitted written physician documentation of a medical contraindication form last year need not do so again.

Also, staff age 65 and older will be offered a high-dose vaccine that stimulates a stronger immune response. This population tends to develop lower levels of protective antibodies with a traditional dose vaccine.

The free vaccine clinic will be held on the seventh floor of the north Clinical Center atrium. Take the central elevators behind the piano in the atrium to the seventh floor. Please dress appropriately in clothing that will let you quickly expose your upper arm; changing areas will not be available. Following vaccination, the Occupational Medical Service will send an email with a questionnaire and certificate of immunization.

For times of off-site clinics and for more information on the flu vaccine, visit

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Intern from DC charter school presents on research

KIPP DC high school student Briana Robertson (center) presented her poster on alkaptonuria, a rare hereditary condition, during the annual NIH Summer Poster Day on August 9. Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) [disclaimer] DC is a network of high-performing, public, college-preparatory charter schools that serves the city of Washington, D.C.'s under-resourced communities. Robertson was a summer intern in the Clinical Center this year. Also pictured is Mai Maye from KIPP DC (right) and Dr. Clare Hastings, the CC chief nurse officer.

Briana Robertson, Mai Maye, and Dr. Clare Hastings

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Hamlisch mourned

Marvin Hamlisch

Renowned composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch died August 6. A friend of Mrs. Lily Safra, whose donations provided principal funding for the Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge, Hamlisch performed a holiday concert for Clinical Center patients and visitors at the lodge every year since it opened in 2005. Last year the concert took place in the CC.

"We all will miss Marvin Hamlisch and the warm generosity he showed to our patients year after year," said CC Director Dr. John I. Gallin.

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Wireless Internet for patients and visitors easier
with guest network

It is now easier for patients and their family members to access wireless Internet at the Clinical Center, the Family Lodge, and The Children's Inn at NIH [disclaimer]. A guest network that went live on July 31 eliminates the need for pre-authorization and account registration.

Patients and visitors are able to access the Internet, including social media sites, but not NIH internal systems, services, or resources. Please note this network is not secure or encrypted.

To access the guest wireless service, follow these steps:

1. Select the NIH-Guest-Network in "available wireless networks" from a laptop or mobile device, then click the "connect" button.

2. Launch a web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Safari), and you will be redirected to the network Terms and Conditions.

3. Read the Terms and Conditions and click "Accept" if you wish for immediate access to the Internet.

Stop at a Hospitality Services desk or the NIH Patient Library on the seventh floor, or call 301-451-4380 with questions. Staff of the Family Lodge will also be available to provide assistance.

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Clinical Center news briefs

Science education seminars launch

A new seminar series will spark "NIH Science Education Conversations." The monthly series will promote thought and discussion on the NIH campus about current science education topics, including those related to research, policy, and science education practices in other countries.

The series kicks off September 27 with a presentation from 3:00 — 4:30 p.m. in Building 50, Room 1328/1334.

Rodger Bybee is director emeritus of Biological Sciences Curriculum Study [disclaimer], a nonprofit committed to transforming science teaching and learning. He will present the inaugural talk in this new series: "Thinking Differently about How We Teach Science: Why Should NIH Care, and What Can NIH Do?"

Future sessions in this series will take place on October 25, November 29, and December 20.

For more information, visit

Clinical research course registration open

Registration for the 2012-2013 "Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Clinical Research" course is now open. The deadline for registering is October 9.

There is no charge for the course, which will teach basic epidemiologic methods involved in clinical research; ethical and legal issues and regulations in human subjects research; and the steps involved in developing and funding research studies.

The course will run from October 16 through March 26 on the NIH campus on Monday and Tuesday evenings from 5:00 p.m. to approximately 6:30 p.m. While the course is free, the textbook, "Principles and Practice of Clinical Research, Third Edition," is suggested as supplemental information.

For additional information or to register, visit call 301-496-9425.

NLM releases a mobile app for apps

There's an app for that! Chances are you've heard or uttered this phrase since Americans started relying on their smartphones for just about everything. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has been adding to the mobile application mix for a while and recently released another tool — an app for apps.

The NLM Mobile app helps users navigate the many mobile apps and mobile websites that the NLM manages. Accessible through most mobile devices and computers, NLM Mobile categorizes apps and sites by topic area, such as drugs or disasters, and device, that is which are available on each type of smartphone.

Learn more at or explore NLM Mobile at

Editor's Note

Nicole Martino, CCNews editor since January 2011, was accepted into the NIH Management Intern Program. Former editor and current media relations coordinator Maggie McGuire is covering operations and is the contact for CCNews coverage.

A shorter print version of the newsletter will be published monthly. More coverage of Clinical Center news and events can be found elsewhere on the CC website and social media pages.

Guest contributors and personal profile nominations are always welcome. If you would like to share your research, your observations of life at the CC, or your personal accomplishments, contact the editor.

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