December 2014

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Published monthly by the Office of Communications and Media Relations. 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 6-2551,
Bethesda, MD 20892-1504
Tel: 301-594-5789
Fax: 301-402-0244

2014 ISSUES:
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Language Access Plan created to strengthen resources for patients

As part of an NIH-wide effort, the Clinical Center has completed a Language Access Plan to ensure patients with limited English proficiency can easily find information and communicate effectively with staff and researchers.

The Clinical Center's plan, along with all of the other Institutes' and Centers' plans, support the NIH Language Access Plan to make certain all research participants have meaningful access to NIH-administered programs and activities. This effort has roots in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1993 NIH Revitalization Act, and, most recently, the Executive Order 13166, which establishes federal requirements to ensure language access for limited English proficiency applicants and beneficiaries of government-funded programs.

Currently, the Clinical Center provides extensive interpretation services within its facility at no cost to patients. The Social Work Department has a Language Interpreters Program and translation services are provided through the Office of Communications and Media Relations. In Fiscal Year 2014, roughly 2,200 patients requested interpretation services for more than 60 languages. Sixty-eight percent of the requests were for Spanish interpretation.

The plan is based on input from language program leaders, the Patient Advisory Group and senior officials from multiple Clinical Center departments. The feedback indicated that additional opportunities exist to help patients make full use of translation and interpretation services.

The plan, which will adjust from year to year as patients' needs evolve, currently includes the following goals; Increase the number of notices posted to inform patients that translation services are available at no cost; Ensure that staff know how to guide patients to language access services; Evaluate that each department's specific needs for oral interpretation services and translation services.

The language services identified in the plan include public communications about the Clinical Center, such as key webpages or public health events, and other diverse forms of communication required for patients to fully engage in clinical trials, such as printed and electronic consent forms or instructions, maps and signage.

For language resources or help with a departmental assessment of language needs, email

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Are you a match? Recruitment tool continues to connect staff with research volunteers

Liana Bonilla, Allyson Browne, Melanie Webb, Omar Echegoyen, Ingrid Frey, DeShawn Riddick, Carol Daniels, Mandy Jawara and Dinora Dominguez

Members of the Clinical Center Office of Patient Recruitment were awarded the MatchMaestro award from ResearchMatch, an organization that NIH utilizes to recruit research volunteers. From left to right: Liana Bonilla, Allyson Browne, Melanie Webb, Omar Echegoyen, Ingrid Frey, DeShawn Riddick, Carol Daniels, Mandy Jawara and Dinora Dominguez.

The Clinical Center continues to pick up momentum with its two-year partnership with ResearchMatch [disclaimer], a free online recruitment tool that connects medical staff with research volunteers.

In October, ResearchMatch presented the Clinical Center with the distinguished MatchMaestro award. The award recognizes innovative ideas, engaging with stakeholders and education of the community about the importance of research. These efforts have resulted in a record number of potential volunteers registering on ResearchMatch. Since 2012, NIH researchers have used the tool to enroll more than 200 volunteers in NIH studies. In total, more than 42 research teams are currently using ResearchMatch for their studies.

"ResearchMatch has been an excellent tool for the recruitment of patients, who play an important role in research," said Dinora Dominguez, chief of the Office of Patient Recruitment. "It is such a great way to connect volunteers with researchers."

ResearchMatch kiosk

A ResearchMatch kiosk is now available at the NIH visitor's center.

NIH researchers are encouraged to register their study with the Office of Patient Recruitment by emailing Once their study is placed online, the researcher can look at a volunteer registry for someone who may be a good fit for a clinical study. Once a potential volunteer is found, an email is sent to the volunteer notifying him or her of the researcher's interest.

"RM is my new favorite method of patient recruitment," said Nicole M. Millan, a post-baccalaureate intramural research training award fellow with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "Thank you for introducing me to it! [It] definitely made the process of recruiting healthy volunteers so much easier (and fun). It was exciting to get so many positive responses so quickly to the study. In the span of two and a half days, I scheduled appointments for 9 of the subjects found on ResearchMatch!"

Roughly 67,000 volunteers nationwide have created a profile on the site. A volunteer who is interested in participating in an NIH clinical study can learn more at A volunteer's online profile in ResearchMatch would include contact information, details about medical history and medications and how far volunteers would be willing to travel. Volunteers who would like more details about a study must give consent for his or her contact information to be released to the researchers. Volunteer profiles remain anonymous unless volunteers decide to release their own contact information.

ResearchMatch is part of the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards program. Only research sites that are affiliated with the awards program can extend invitations to potential research studies. All studies listed on the website have been approved by an institutional review board.

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Clinical Center recognized for the use of advanced electronic medical records system

A leading healthcare organization has recognized the Clinical Center's excellence in establishing and continuously improving electronic patient medical records through the Clinical Research Information System (CRIS). Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics [disclaimer], evaluated the Clinical Center on inpatient use of CRIS and recently announced that the research hospital has achieved nearly the highest level of certification possible for adopting and using electronic medical records. Only 16 percent of hospitals evaluated by HIMSS Analytics have reached this level.

The certification level, known as Stage 6, is based on a 0 to 7 scale measuring the extent to which an organization has adopted the use of electronic medical records to care for patients and improve their health outcomes. HIMSS Analytics, which is a wholly owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of HIMSS, delivers data and analytical expertise and provides an Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model to analyze which stage an organization has achieved.

Although the Clinical Center just earned the certification this fall, the facility has been using electronic medical records as far back as the 1970s, according to Sue Houston, chief of the Department of Clinical Research Informatics Portfolio Office.

Until recently, HIMSS Analytics only assessed non-government facilities.

"According to HIMSS Analytics, we are the first government healthcare facility to be evaluated," Houston said. "This is basically a new recognition for something we have been doing for a long time. While we had already accomplished Stages 1 through 5, the implementation of barcode technology for medication management and administration earlier this year helped us to reach Stage 6."

Houston says the department's next goal is to begin evaluation for Stage 7, which nearly 200 hospitals have already achieved in the US. This top-rank certification represents an advanced electronic patient record environment in which "a hospital no longer uses paper charts to deliver and manage patient care and has a mixture of discrete data, clinical documentation, and medical images within its [electronic medical record] environment," according to HIMSS Analytics.

HIMSS Analytics criteria for Stage 6 hospitals

  • Have made significant executive commitments and investments to reach this stage.
  • Appear to have a significant advantage for patient safety, clinician support, clinician recruitment, and marketing of both consumers and nurse recruitment.
  • Have almost fully automated/paperless medical records when they have implemented their IT applications across most of the inpatient care settings.
  • Are either starting to evaluate their data for care delivery process improvements or have already documented significant improvements in this area.
  • Have made investments that are within reach of most hospitals and recognize the strategic value of improving patient care with the electronic medical record.
  • Have begun to create strategic alignments with their medical staff to effectively utilize information technology to improve the patient safety environment

Stage 6 hospitals also have achieved a significant advancement in their IT capabilities that positions them to successfully address many of the current industry transformations and quality reporting programs.

Read more about the Department of Clinical Research Informatics.

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Dr. Jay H. Hoofnagle presents 17th annual astute lecture series

Jay H. Hoofnagle (center), Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers (left), and Dr. John I. Gallin (right)

Dr. Jay H. Hoofnagle (center), director of the Liver Disease Research Branch in NIDDK, receives a certificate from Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers (left), director of NIDDK and Dr. John I. Gallin (right), director of the Clinical Center.

On Nov. 12, Dr. Jay H. Hoofnagle spoke on the past and future therapies for hepatitis C as part of the annual Astute Clinician Lecture series held at the Clinical Center. Since 1998, scientists, such as Hoofnagle, have had the honor of speaking at the lecture series because they have observed an unusual clinical occurrence, and by investigating it, have opened an important new avenue of research.

Hoofnagle serves as the director of the Liver Disease Research Branch in the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). For more than 30 years, Hoofnagle has studied hepatitis C, the most critical area of liver disease research. He has also been involved in the early evaluation and development of virtually all antiviral agents developed for viral hepatitis, including interferon, ribavirin, lamivudine and adefovir dipivoxil.

"To be designated as astute by one's colleagues, particularly at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health, is a pleasure and honor," Hoofnagle said.

During the lecture, which was a part of the NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, he spoke about new insights into how hepatitis harms the liver and developments in new direct-acting antivirals that promise to cure the majority of patients with this disease.

Dr. Jay H. Hoofnagle

Dr. Jay H. Hoofnagle, director of the Liver Disease Research Branch in NIDDK, speaks in the Clinical Center Masur Auditorium.

The lecture series was established 16 years ago through a gift from Dr. Robert W. Miller and his wife Haruko. Miller was a scientist emeritus at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) whose work led to a new understanding of cancer genetics. His wife was a research chemistry technician at NCI for most of her 27 years at NIH.

View a videocast of the lecture online.

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NIH creates alert system for emergency communicationAlertNIH

An emergency communication service called AlertNIH is now available for employees to utilize in the case of a major crisis, emergency or severe weather event. NIH public safety officials will use AlertNIH to send event updates, warnings and instructions directly to employees' government-owned communication devices. Employees also have the ability to opt-in to receive these updates on personal devices.

Enroll your devices

1. Navigate to
2. Click 'Update your information' and sign in
3. Under Self Service, click 'Update my record'
4. Scroll to the bottom. Next to 'AlertNIH Notifications', click 'Edit' to choose the devices you want updates sent to

Updates are also publicly available on Twitter [disclaimer] and Facebook [disclaimer]. Call 301-496-1985 or visit for more information.

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Institute of Medicine honors Dr. James J. Cimino

Dr. James J. Cimino

Dr. James J. Cimino earned one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine in late October.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) [disclaimer] recently elected Dr. James J. Cimino, chief of the Clinical Center's Laboratory for Informatics Development, as a new member of the prestigious organization. Election to the IOM recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service and is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Established by the National Academy of Sciences, IOM is a resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues.

Dr. John O'Shea, Jr., scientific director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, was elected to the IOM along with Cimino this fall. Other members of the IOM who work at the Clinical Center include Dr. John I. Gallin, director of the Clinical Center, Dr. Harvey J. Alter, distinguished NIH Investigator, chief of Clinical Studies and associate director of research for the Department of Transfusion Medicine and Dr. Leighton Chan, chief of the Rehabilitation Medicine Department. At the Clinical Center, Cimino directs the development of the Biomedical Translational Research Information System (BTRIS), an NIH-wide repository of data collected over the past four decades of clinical research. This fall, he led a town hall lecture to provide the clinical research community with an update on BTRIS.

Cimino has conducted groundbreaking research into methods for representing biomedical terminologies used in healthcare and research that have had a major influence on current standards. Cimino originated the concept of context-aware links, called infobuttons, between electronic health records and knowledge resources such as PubMed or electronic textbooks, which are becoming a standard way to provide clinicians and patients with relevant health information at the point of care.

In November, unrelated to the IOM award, Cimino presented at the American Medical Informatics Association's annual symposium in Washington, D.C. [disclaimer] on his recent paper, "Adapting a Clinical Data Repository to ICD-10-CM through the use of a Terminology Repository." He discussed how the Clinical Center is providing a model for transitioning current clinical data repositories that contain patient diagnoses coded with the International Classification of Diseases 9th Revision to accommodate tens of thousands of new codes and meet the 10th Revision standards.

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Doctor earns 'roots' award in Argentina

Dr. Juan Lertora

Lertora accepted the award in Buenos Aires Nov.17.

Dr. Juan Lertora, director of the Clinical Pharmacology Program in the Clinical Center, was honored last month by the Argentine Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation as one of the 2014 recipients of the "Premio RAICES," or "Roots" award. The award recognizes professionals from Argentina residing abroad who have contributed to the education and training of Argentine scientists and to the strengthening of science and technology in the country.

Lertora contributed to scientific conferences, special courses, and visiting lectureships in Argentina and mentored Argentine scientists during his academic tenure at Tulane University School of Medicine prior to coming to NIH in 2006.

"During my years in New Orleans, I was fortunate to work with several promising Argentine students and postdoctoral fellows, some of whom went on to productive careers in medicine and science in the US, and others that returned to Argentina and are now successfully pursuing academic biomedical research," Lertora said. "I feel very honored with this recognition."

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NIH farmers market heads indoors for the winter

Staff, patients and visitors who enjoying the farmer's market

A winter market, supported by the NIH Recreation and Welfare Association [disclaimer], will take place in the Clinical Center south lobby every Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. through the end of April 2015. Staff, patients and visitors who enjoyed the farmer's market during the warmer months can now enjoy the pleasures of winter market products such as baked goods, extra virgin olive oil, barrel-aged wine vinegars, balsamic vinegars, canned nuts, crab dips, marinara, salsa, soups, chocolates and a variety of pickles.

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The Children's Inn at NIH turns 25 in 2015

25 Years: 1990-2015In 2015, The Children's Inn at NIH [disclaimer] will celebrate its 25th anniversary of providing "a place like home" for patients participating in pediatric research studies at the Clinical Center and their families.

"As a patient-centric hospital, the Clinical Center understands that our pediatric patients' health and well-being doesn't just depend on their healthcare team. The Children's Inn has played a crucial role for literally thousands of our youngest patients, and it stands as a constant reminder of the true purpose of our work," said Dr. John I. Gallin, director of the NIH Clinical Center and member of The Children's Inn Board of Directors.

Since September, the private, non-profit organization has been holding special events leading up to the official anniversary June 21, 2015. President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, who presided over the Inn's ribbon cutting ceremony in 1990, are serving as the honorary chairpersons for the anniversary. The year of celebration began with an opening reception in the Inn's newly remodeled kitchens, during which residents were treated to a sampling of hors d'oeuvres prepared by celebrity chefs. Upcoming events in 2015 include [disclaimer] two galas (A WINNter Affair Feb. 21 and An Evening for Hope May 2), an anniversary reunion picnic for residents and Inn friends June 20, a congressional dinner in September and the publication of a "Hope" book of art, poems and short stories created by Inn residents.

In January, the Inn's Chief Executive Officer Kathy Russell, who has served in the position since 2005, will be retiring. Jennie Lucca, the current chief program and services officer for the Inn, has been selected by their Board of Directors to serve as the new CEO.

Since opening in 1990, the Inn has provided more than 12,500 children and families from all 50 states and more than 86 countries with lodging as well as emotional and social support while they are receiving treatment at the Clinical Center. The thought of establishing the family-centered residence began in the 1980s when an Dr. Phil Pizzo, former chief of the National Cancer Institute's pediatric oncology branch and the infectious diseases section, observed that patients and their family members were congregating with other families, forming informal support networks and that they seemed reluctant to return to their hotels. With the merging of public and private resources, the concept was made into a reality.

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A salute to our veterans for their service

Service members from the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy

The annual NIH Veterans Day celebration was held Nov. 5 in the Clinical Center. The NIH employs about 1,000 veterans. Just over 13%, the second highest percentage of veterans at NIH, continue to serve their country as staff members at the Clinical Center. Service members from the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy performed the Setting of the Missing Man Table to honor those missing, fallen or imprisoned. At the event, retired Navy CMDR. Everett Alvarez, Jr. spoke about his experience as the first pilot shot down in North Vietnam and his eight years held as a prisoner of war.

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The Clinical Center celebrates a happy Halloween

Debbie Marcus, Laura Herbert, Jeanette Leishman, Kristin Johnsen and Megan Shupe

NIH Debbie Marcus, Laura Herbert, Jeanette Leishman, Kristin Johnsen and Megan Shupe join in Halloween festivities as trick or treaters made their way through the Clinical Center Oct. 31.

Kevin Isgrig (left), and volunteer Keniesha Tubbs (right)

NIH staff, Kevin Isgrig (left), and volunteer Keniesha Tubbs (right) strike an action figure pose with a pediatric patient (center). Patients, family members and NIH staff, dressed as witches, fairy tale characters, ninjas and other head to toe, gathered in the atrium before trick or treating in the building.

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Clinical Research Nursing Residency Program graduates first class of nurses, kicks off second cohort's curriculum

Eight newly hired nurses in the Clinical Center recently graduated from the Nursing Department's Clinical Research Nursing Residency Program. The newly-licensed graduate nurses were the first participants of the 12-month program, which focuses on building critical thinking, clinical skills, and professional role development in the context of a clinical research setting. The highly competitive program, which attracts new graduate nurses from prestigious universities across the US, accepted its second cohort of six nurses in August.

Clinical Center nurses group photo

The first group of Clinical Center nurses to participate in the Clinical Research Nursing Program gather in the Medical Broad room to celebrate completing the 12-month curriculum. Back row: Sharon Flynn (program coordinator), Jamie Mutchler, Lisa Nyman, Heather Moorman, Santhana Webb, Rachel Perkins (program coordinator). Front row: Sarah Mutchler, Eva Erbskorn, Kelly White, Alex Classen.

Clinical Center nurses group photo

The second group of Clinical Center nurses began the Clinical Research Nursing Program in August 2014. From left to right: Katherine Townsend, Kevin Murray, Mary Lacy Grecco, Karen Pozo, Shani Scott and Christina Luckett.

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The 5th annual Caregiver Day provides resources, support to families

Rose meeting Bella

Rose, a patient at the Clinical Center, and her caregiver (right), stop by the Caregiver Day fair and expo to meet Bella, a St. Bernard animal assisted therapy dog, and her owner and Clinical Center employee Hillary Fitilis.

On Nov. 20 the Clinical Center held the 5th annual Family Caregiver Day in celebration of National Family Caregiver Month. The event included an informational fair and expo featuring representatives from local and national caregiver resource, support and advocacy organizations with interactive activities to support family caregivers.

Clinical Center staff group photo

Clinical Center staff hosted the 5th annual Caregiver Day in celebration of National Family Caregiver Month. From left to right: CDR Leslie Wehrlen, Miriam Magana-Lopez, Stephen Klagholz, Alyssa Brooks, Elyssa Stoops, Priscilla Pollack, CDR Margaret Bevans, and Alexandra Ranucci (centered on the floor).

Clinical Center patients and caregivers doing yoga

Clinical Center patients and caregivers were joined by Towson University graduate students to participate in Gentle Chair Yoga in the Auxiliary Chapel on Caregiver Day.

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Upcoming Events

Most lectures will be streamed and archivedGingerbread houses on display

11th Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Contest Exhibit
Dec. 1 Jan. 2, 2015

Building 10 Atrium
Vote for your favorite house Dec. 1 - 11 in the north atrium or on Facebook [disclaimer]. The nearly 60 houses will remain on display through Jan. 2, 2015. Contact Ann Marie Matlock for more details:

NIH Clinical Center Director's Annual Address and Awards Ceremony
Dec. 12, 2014, 1:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m.

Masur Auditorium
The event will honor employees' exemplary contributions to NIH.

Contemporary Clinical Medicine: Great Teachers Lecture
Autoimmunity: The Once and Future History of an Idea
Dec. 10, 2014, Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Lipsett Amphitheater
Presented by Paul H. Plotz, MD, NIAMS.

NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
The Extraordinary Bacterial Type VI Secretion Machine
Dec.10, 2014, 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.

Masur Auditorium
Presented by John Mekalanos, PhD, Harvard Medical University.

Clinical Center 14th Annual John Doppman Memorial Lecture for Imaging Sciences
CT Colonography: Progress Beyond the Department of Defense Screening Trial
Dec. 17, 2014, Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Lipsett Amphitheater
Presented by Perry J. Pickhardt, MD, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Clinical Center Grand Rounds Lecture
Radiation Exposure Monitoring and Dose Reduction; Developing Methods to Reduce Radiation Exposure After CT Angio
Jan. 7, 2015, Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Lipsett Amphitheater
Presented by Les Folio, CC and Marcus Chen, MD, NHLBI.

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