In June, the NIH Animal Care and Use Program was evaluated by a team of 12 outside experts as part of our triennial Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) site visit. This review, like other rigorous reviews—such as the upcoming Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs’ (AAHRPP) evaluation of our human subjects research program; the Joint Commission’s evaluation of the Clinical Center’s patient-care services; and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME) review of the Clinical Center’s medical residency programs—is an important component of the oversight that ensures the high quality of our programs.
As part of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, the National Naval Medical Center will become Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on September 15, 2011. The new Center is expected to add approximately 4,300 daily commuters and will double the number of patient visits to nearly one million annually.
Imagine having to teach a science class to a group of children—between the ages of five and 18—with no idea how many you will be speaking to, what their background is, or whether they even speak English. Recently, two NINDS fellows did just that and discovered the experience to be rewarding and even fun.
FIC: Mexican Flu Pandemic Study Supports Social Distancing
Would closing schools, movie theaters, and restaurants help improve health? Yes, at least in terms of mitigating unusual infectious disease outbreaks. According to NIH researchers, these social distancing interventions proved effective during the 2009 influenza pandemic in Mexico. Mexican health authorities implemented a nationwide mandatory school closure policy, effectively reducing disease transmission by more than one-third. The research team provided the first comprehensive epidemiological description of the age, geographical, and severity patterns of the 2009 pandemic in Mexico. Eighteen-day periods of mandatory school closures and other social distancing measures were associated with a 29 to 37 percent reduction in influenza transmission rates in Mexico during the 2009 pandemic. The authors applied mathematical modeling to influenza surveillance data compiled by a large private health system, the Mexican Institute for Social Security, which covers 40 percent of the population. (NIH authors: G. Chowell, C. Viboud, L. Simonsen, J. Tamerius, M.A. Miller; PLoS Med8:e1000436, 2011)
News from and About the NIH Scientific Interest Groups
New SIG: Trans-NIH Health Disparities Research
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities has established this interest group to focus on health disparities research that uses biomedical, behavioral, and social sciences approaches to advance the knowledge base and the translation of research to improve health. Co-chairs are William Coleman and Francisco Sy. A series of seminars will take place on the last Thursday of each month, 2:30–4:00 p.m. To join the LISTSERV, visit https://list.nih.gov/cgi-bin/wa.exe?SUBED1=healthdisparities&A=1.
Vilcek Foundation Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science
Application deadline: August 14, 2011
The Vilcek Foundation will award a prize of $25,000 to a young, foreign-born scientist who demonstrates outstanding early achievement in the field of biomedical research. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working under the supervision of a mentor are not eligible. For more information and an online application visit http://www.vilcek.org/prizes/creative-promise/.