NIH Clinical Center

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Dr. Harvey Alter Dr. John Laws Decker
Dr. Arthur J. Atkinson Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel
BMT Unit Staff Dr. Susan Leitman
Tannia Cartledge Tony Staton
Award for Dr. Harvey Alter
In April, Dr. Harvey Alter received the American College of Physicians Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine. Only 47 scientists nationwide have received the award. Other NIH scientists to do so were 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. In December Dr. Alter received the First International Prize of Inserm (the French equivalent of NIH).

In 2003, Dr. Alter became 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, who came to the NIH Clinical Center as a senior investigator in 1969, is chief of the infectious diseases section and associate director of research in the Department of Transfusion Medicine. As a young research fellow, he co- discovered (with Baruch Blumberg, a geneticist with Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases) the Australian antigen, a key to detecting the hepatitis B virus. Later, he spearheaded a Clinical Center project to create a storehouse of blood samples used to uncover the causes and reduce the risk of transfusion-associated hepatitis. Because of such work, the United States instituted blood and donor screening programs that reduced the risk of transfusion-associated hepatitis from 30 percent in 1970 to nearly 0.

In collaboration with Bob Purcell and Stephen Feinstone (NIAID), Dr. Alter used this repository of clinically linked blood samples to solve another puzzling clinical problem. Most transfusion-related hepatitis was attributed to a virus different from the two then-known hepatitis agents. Calling this new form “non-A, non-B hepatitis,” the researchers subsequently proved through transmission studies in chimpanzees that it was transmitted through a new agent — which led eventually to discovery of the hepatitis C virus.
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Photograph of Dr. Harvey Alter.
Dr. Harvey Alter
Atkinson awarded for outstanding service

Dr. Arthur J. Atkinson, senior advisor in Clinical Pharmacology to the Clinical
Center Director, was awarded the 2004 Henry W. Elliot Distinguished Service Award. Sponsored by the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the organization. Dr. Atkinson directs NIH’s ClinPRAT postdoctoral training program, the NIH Clinical Center course on Principles of Clinical Pharmacology, and an NIH computer workshop on Principles of Pharmacokinetic Data Analysis: Modeling and Simulation.

He has been a member of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics for more than 25 years, serving as president for 1995-1996. He was also a member of the board of directors, chairman of the Committee on Coordination of Scientific Sections, and associate editor of the organization’s journal, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Atkinson received his A.B. degree in chemistry from Harvard College and graduated from Cornell University Medical College in 1963. He served as a clinical associate in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, NIAID, and received postdoctoral training in clinical pharmacology at the University of Cincinnati. In 1970, Dr. Atkinson started a clinical pharmacology center at Northwestern University Medical School, where he served in the departments of medicine and pharmacology for 24 years before accepting a position at the Upjohn Company as corporate vice president of clinical development and medical affairs. Following the merger of Upjohn with Pharmacia, he returned to the NIH Clinical Center where he began his research career.
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Photograph of Dr. Arthur J. Atkinson.
Dr. Arthur J. Atkinson.
NIH Director’s Award
NIH Director’s Award for Bone Marrow Transplant Unit Staff from the Clinical Center and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute were recognized with an NIH Director’s Award for their “commitment to enhance patient care and service at the Clinical Center” and “the team’s outstanding clinical research contributions in the advances of the practice of stem cell transplantation.” Dr. Elias Zerhouni, NIH director, presented the award.

“This program has been not just a team effort from the combined work of a group of doctors, nurses, research nurses, pharmacists, social workers and other healthcare professionals directly involved in patient care,” said Dr. John Barrett, the unit chief, “but it reflects dedicated and enthusiastic effort from the entire Clinical Center. It is not an exaggeration to say that the transplant program has only been possible in the unique environment of NIH, where we have enjoyed state-of-the art expertise.”

“We are rewarded each day as we are given the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our stem cell transplant patients,” noted Nonniekaye Shelburne, a clinical nurse specialist in stem cell transplants. “Having the BMT team recognized with the NIH Director’s Award energizes our passion to continue working in this intense and ever-changing area of medical research.”

Margaret Bevans was also awarded the Josh Gottheil Memorial Bone Marrow Transplant Career Development Award, sponsored by the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation, for meritorious practice in bone marrow transplant nursing. Bevans has been a part of the Bone Marrow Transplant program since it began in 1993.
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NIH Director's Award for Bone Marrow Transplant Unit Staff.
“Shown receiving an NIH Director’s Award from Dr. Elias Zerhouni are, left to right, clinical research nurses Leslie Wehrlen and Virginia (Ginnie) Warren; Dr. Renee Stubbs, lead recreational therapist; nurse manager Priscilla Rivera; clinical research nurse Eleftheria (Libby) Kozanas; clinical social workers Patricia Prince and Katherine Cone; Dr Lawrence Friedman, assistant director for Ethics and Clinical Research, NHLBI; Dr. John Barrett, chief of the Stem Cell Allotransplantation Section , NHLBI; Dr. Richard Childs, senior investigator, Hematology Branch, NHLBI; and clinical nurse specialists Margaret Bevans and Nonniekaye Shelburne.
Mentor honored
Tannia Cartledge, chief of Adult, Pediatrics and Behavioral Health in Nursing and Patient Care Services, received the NIH Mentoring Award for “her superb approach to mentoring that has benefited so many nurses at NIH and in the community at large.” Not only is Nursing Care committed to mentoring, said Cartledge, but it is an important value at NIH generally.
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Tannia Cartledge, shown here with Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, NIH director, and Dr. John I. Gallin, director of the Clinical Center.
Tannia Cartledge, shown here with Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, NIH director, and Dr. John I. Gallin, director of the Clinical Center.
Dr. John Laws Decker Memorial Lecture
The first annual Dr. John Laws Decker Memorial Lecture was given June 2 in Lipsett Amphitheater. The lecture recognizes an outstanding clinical teacher at the Clinical Center. The lecture, sponsored by the Clinical Center and the Foundation for the NIH, honors the contribution of former Clinical Center Director Dr. John Laws Decker, who died of a heart arrhythmia in July 2000. Dr. Decker served as director of the Clinical Center and as NIH associate director for clinical care from 1983 until his retirement in 1990.

2004 lecturers were Drs. Steve Holland and Michael Bishop. Dr. Holland, chief of the immuno- pathogenesis section of NIAID’s Laboratory of Host Defenses, discussed “The Human Genetics of Mycobacterial Susceptibility.” Dr. Bishop, investigator and clinical head of NCI’s Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch discussed “Allogeneic T Cells as Adoptive Immunotherapy for Metastatic Breast Cancer.”

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 United States 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, including systemic lupus erythematosus, earned him international recognition and many distinguished awards. In retirement, he remained active at the Clinical Center, serving as author and contributing editor of Protomechanics, A Guide to Preparing and Conducting a Clinical Research Study.
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Photograph of Dr. John Laws Decker.
Dr. John Laws Decker
Honor for Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel
On October 18, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Department of Clinical Bioethics, became
the latest Clinical Center physician to be elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM), joining Dr. Harvey Alter and Dr. John Gallin in this honor. Emanuel was elected to the Institute in recognition of his work in bioethics.

A breast cancer specialist, Emanuel was appointed chair of the Clinical Center's Department of Clinical Bioethics in 1998. He received his MD from Harvard Medical School and his PhD in political philosophy from Harvard University. His doctoral dissertation received the Toppan Award for the finest dissertation in political science of the year. Emanuel was a fellow in the program in ethics and the professions at the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard.

After completing an internship and residency in internal medicine at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital and an oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Emanuel joined the faculty at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He was also associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Emanuel served on the ethics section of President Clinton’s health care task force and on the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. He has published widely in medical journals on the ethics of clinical research, advance care directives, end-of-life care issues, euthanasia, the ethics of managed care, and the physician-patient relationship. His book on medical ethics, The Ends of Human Life, received honorable mention for the Rosenhaupt Memorial Book Award by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. He received the AMA-Burroughs Wellcome Leadership Award and a Fulbright scholarship (which he declined).
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Photograph of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel
Award for hemochromatosis work
Dr. Susan Leitman, chief of Blood Services in the Department of Transfusion Medicine, received the Iron Disorders Institute’s prestigious annual “Making a Difference” Award in August. She received the award for her work improving care for patients with too much iron in their blood — a disorder than can lead to early death if not treated by regular blood drawing.

Randy Alexander, chairman of the board of trustees of the patient advocacy organization making the award, has hereditary hemochromatosis. He is one of 200 participants in DTM's hereditary hemochromatosis donor protocol. The condition, dubbed the “Celtic Curse” by some, is more commonly known today as hereditary hemochromatosis (HH). Its effects can be devastating: arthritis, fatigue, heart palpitations, nonspecific stomach pain, impotence, loss of menstruation, and infertility. In advanced stages, the skin can take on a gray or bronze hue, and serious problems — such as cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, diabetes, heart and joint disease, severe fatigue, cardiac arrhythmia, and congestive heart failure — may develop, resulting in disability or death.

A common genetic disorder in people of northern European Caucasian descent, it affects one in 200 people in this risk group. “Many people don't even know they have it, although it affects them from early childhood,” says Leitman. She believes it should be tested for at infancy or in childhood. Under Dr. Leitman’s auspices, said Alexander, NIH has demonstrated “tremendous forward thinking in designing an outstanding program yielding significant data and publicizing HH.” Leitman finds it highly rewarding to be able to improve the quality of care in this group of patients, who are so highly informed about their condition. Ironically, “blood donations by people with HH constitute 15 percent of all the blood units collected in DTM and transfused to Clinical Center patients.” By participating in the DTM protocol, those with HH “not only get the best, most expert and informed care, but they help save other lives while being treated. That is the paradigm that IDI was honoring with this award.
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Dr. Susan Leitman receives the Making a Difference Award from Randy Alexander.
Making a difference. Dr. Susan Leitman (left) receives the Making a Difference Award from Randy Alexander, chairman of the Iron Disorder Institute. With them are Dr. Charles Bolan (in uniform) and Glorice Mason, team leader of the Donor Room Staff. Leitman, Bolan, and Mason are all members of the Hemochromatosis Protocol Team in the Department of Transfusion Medicine.
Making a difference
Tony Staton, making a difference “It’s a joy to get up in the morning to come and do this,” says Tony Staton of his job on the Clinical Center’s hospitality staff. A 25-year employee, Tony moved from Housekeeping to Hospitality a year ago. His job now is to help patients and visitors by giving them directions or other information, escorting them when they need help getting places, and helping out in ways that change daily.

“I know I make a difference because I see the smiles on people’s faces. Last week an elderly lady and her husband came up, but her husband had to turn around and go right back home, so she was here by herself for about a week. I went upstairs a couple times to take her out for a little air, give her a tour of the new building, to take her to the gift shop, and she told me, ‘You know, that was better than medicine.’ If they can just leave with a smile and stop thinking about what they’re here for, we’ve done our job. When her husband came back he came and thanked me personally, and I’m not even the doctor here!

“It makes me feel good, that I made somebody happy for whatever small amount of time I came in contact with them. I can leave here knowing I made a little difference today, and then just look for it again tomorrow.

“This is a very easy job to get up for.”

Photograph of Tony Staton, making a difference.
“This is a very easy job to get up for. I know I make a difference,”
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