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past issues

Clinical Center News

 Published monthly for CC employees by Clinical Center Communications

September 1999

Back-to-school time

CC Positions filled

Lives saved

MFP Lectures

Foil the flu

News briefs



    Natasha Walters (left) and Matt Caprio (right) get a lesson in geography from teacher Anne Wasson at the NIH Children's School, which helps pediatric patients stay current with their schoolwork while they're away from home.

It's back-to-school time...even at the CC

It is a common belief that learning shouldn't stop at the classroom door, and NIH and the Clinical Center have made this ideal a reality for pediatric patients. Through the Children's School, not only does learning continue beyond the standard classroom door, it endures within the sometimes confining doors of a hospital.

The NIH Children's School is a resource provided for pediatric patients and their families to help keep children current with their schooling during visits to the CC. The school classrooms are housed in the Clinical Center, and the program is supported by the Institutes.

The school, opening along with the Clinical Center in 1953, was founded by researchers upon the idea that parents wouldn't let their children participate in protocols if they had to miss school. This type of schooling is only now becoming more common in research and standard hospitals alike.

The school is under contract with the Montgomery County public school system. The 10th floor classroom operates according to the standard 9-month school year, while the 3rd floor classroom, specifically for patients of NIMH, operates all year.

"The school has been extremely successful," said Helen Mays, school director, who has been a part of the program for 25 years. "There's a greater awareness of the school, and we are getting a newer group of physicians who regard the school as very important."

When the CC doors opened, the school started with 75 students, while the highest number of students enrolled was 300. This past school year the school enrolled 184 students.

Mays attributes the lower enrollment to the addition of day hospitals, shorter patient visits, and an overall decrease in research patients.

Families of pediatric patients are informed of the school before their arrival at the CC and instructed to bring work from the child's home school. Work completed at the CC is graded and combined with the child's home school grades.

The school serves mainly as a tutoring service. The teachers, contracted through the Montgomery County Home and Hospital Teaching Service, usually work one-on-one with children to help them complete the assignments from their home schools. If a child doesn't have assignments from home, a teaching plan will be devised for them.

"We work very closely with the teachers and counselors at the patient's home school," said Mays. "We can get assignments through fax and email to make sure the kids are kept up with their schooling."

To enroll in the school, a child simply has to be a patient at the CC. Each child is assigned to a tutor. An elementary school patient will usually spend about an hour per day on assignments, while a high school student may spend about 2 hours.

While children are encouraged to come to the classroom for instruction, the teachers are willing and able to take their knowledge to the patient.

"What we really love to do is get the kids into the classroom," said Mays. "The atmosphere is very friendly and kids from different units get to know each other. But if they aren't well enough, they can be tutored at bedside."

In addition to Mays, there are four teachers who work with the school. They are all certified to teach, have had either classroom or home-school teaching experience and are able to teach all basic subjects K-12.

"One of the best things about the school is the personnel," said Mays. "They're very talented, accommodating and giving. I really admire them tremendously and have a great deal of pride in them."

Ann Davidson, who has been teaching for 30 years, has been with the school program since 1986.

"The school is very important to the children," she said. "It gives them normalcy. We provide them with structure, and they gain a lot of skills, more confidence, and become more responsible students."

Anne Wasson, who has taught elementary school, has a background in liberal arts, and was a Home and Hospital teacher for about 24 years, came to NIH to teach 10 years ago.

"I love the program, and I think it's wonderful for the children," said Wasson. "One of the worries for patients and families is how they are going to stay caught up in school. I've seen kids complete senior year and graduate, and it's really great. It's one less worry they have."

"I always bring my schoolwork with me," said Natasha Walters, 11, a pediatric patient from Tennessee who just finished fifth grade with the help of the school. Her favorite subject is math.

Eileen Sandifer, a nurse practitioner who works with Natasha, believes the program is very important to young patients who often have to miss school.

"I think this program is critical," she said. "Like many patients, Natasha has to miss a week every two months, and it's important to keep that link with school."

Matt Caprio, 13, has been involved with the program for 8 years. His visits to the Clinical Center cause him to miss school at his Pennsylvania home, and he and his family find the school beneficial.

"It helps kids who can't go to school and have to stay in the hospital," said Matt, who just finished the 7th grade. His favorite subjects are science and health.

"I think it's a wonderful program because it helps the kids keep up with their peers at home," said Elizabeth Caprio, Matt's mother. "It helps the continuity of learning, provides an aspect of normalcy, and keeps kids in more of the routine they are used to.

"To me, it makes so much sense, rather than having kids repeat grade levels for something they have no control over-their health," she said. "And it's another way of making them feel good about themselves."

- by Bonnie Flock



Key CC positions filled

Two key Clinical Center positions have recently been filled: chief information officer and chief of hospitality services.

Chief information officer

Richard J. Gordon has been appointed as the Clinical Center's first chief information officer.

"Richard joins the CC after an impressive career in information systems development," said CC Director Dr. John Gallin. "I am confident that his experience will lead us smoothly through the many challenges that lie ahead."

Most recently Gordon served as the regional chief technology officer for the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command in Washington, D.C., which manages all the Army hospitals and medical facilities from New York to North Carolina.

"I helped to construct their 'enterprise network'-which is a way to make 25 hospitals talk to one another as if they were one," Gordon said.

He began his career as the deputy chief information officer at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, a medical research facility, and then became the chief information officer at the Walter Reed Health Care System in Washington, D.C.

Originally from Los Angeles, Ca., Gordon is retired from the U.S. Army after 22 years of service, during which he attained the rank of captain.

He holds an associate's degree in computer science and a bachelor's degree in information systems from Park College, in Kansas City, Mo., and a master's degree in information systems from American University in Washington, D.C. He is an adjunct faculty member at A.U., teaching data-base systems.

The job Gordon has taken on is a big one. "The CC wants to create a 'digital hospital' across many of the functional areas - labs, radiology, pharmacy, critical care - just about everywhere," he said.

This entails upgrading the wiring in the old building, wiring the new Clinical Research Center as it grows, and installing a number of new systems that will provide unparalleled ability to manipulate images and generate the hard data so needed by researchers, clinicians, and administrators alike.

"These new systems will allow us to easily move radiology images and digital copies of paper records via the hospital network. We will be able to more easily schedule patients, and understand the impact of that schedule on our staff resources. We are going to provide a physician workstation that affords easy review of the patient's medical history. We are, in essence, going to provide an integrated electronic medical record that offers the NIH a new way to conduct business," said Gordon.

Implementation of the new medical systems is planned for mid-2001, but upgrades to nonmedical CC functions are already underway.

One change staff can look for soon is ISD's new "help desk" function, which will allow remote troubleshooting. Gordon explained: "We plan to set up a phone system and a help desk application and install some software on every person's computer. When you call the help desk, you'll be asked your name and phone number, and then the ISD staffer will ask your permission to take control of your computer. They will then be able to see your computer, and control your mouse and your keyboard. Any problem you might have, they can immediately correct. If the problem can't be corrected that way, we'll dispatch a qualified technician."

Assisting Gordon with all these changes will be Dr. Steve Rosenfeld, deputy chief for clinical informatics, and a deputy chief for operations is being recruited.

"As Richard assumes this new position, I would like to thank Steve Rosenfeld for his exemplary leadership as acting associate director for information systems during the past several months," said Dr. Gallin. "Steve has worked tirelessly to introduce new programs throughout the organization and sustain staff enthusiasm for computer technology. I personally am grateful for his work."

Summing up, Gordon said, "There are going to be some significant changes in the way we do business in ISD. I ask that the staff be patient, let us get through the transition, give us a shot at it, and I think they'll be very pleasantly surprised at what we're able to do."


Chief of hospitality services

Michael D. Daniel

Michael D. Daniel recently came on board as chief of the newly created Clinical Center Hospitality Services Program. He holds a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Hampton University in Hampton, Va., his hometown.

Before coming to the CC, Daniel spent 5 years as director of Patient Access Services at the University of Maryland Medical System, in Baltimore, Md. His responsibilities there included supervising a staff of 60, who provided guest services and patient transportation services. Daniel also managed the numerous retail operations housed within the medical system.

"Clinical Center staff already provide an excellent level of customer service," said CC Director John Gallin. "We hope to take that a step further by creating a state-of-the-art guest-services program that will be emulated by other organizations across the country. Michael brings some great ideas on how we can achieve that."

At the University of Maryland Medical System, Daniel says, patients and visitors experienced a "seamless process for the delivery of customer service. The guest was catered to in an expedient manner from the time they drove up the front drive until the time they were ready to go home."

The CC Hospitality Services Program will include a greeter stationed outside to meet and escort the guest into the lobby, and three inside hospitality services coordinators to assist the guest in reaching his or her destination.

Daniel and a team of CC stakeholders are busy planning the new program, with hopes of launching it later this fall. (Watch CCNews for details on this exciting new initiative.)

Many at the CC have at one time or another been asked to provide directions or help a visitor solve a problem.

"I hope to coordinate customer-service training for all employees to help the organization address way-finding, customer-service, or problem-solving issues," Daniel said. The training would provide staff with a common set of skills to assist patients, families, and visitors.

"I'm very happy to be here and looking forward to working with everyone," said Daniel. "I hope that my skills and attributes can bring more cohesiveness to our customer service initiative, and enhance the exemplary services we already provide."



Lives saved

Former CC patients recall long-ago heart surgeries

   Dr. Susana Capristo

One of the lives saved by doctors at the Clinical Center in 1967 returned to the CC in July.

Dr. Susana Capristo, a former patient and now a cardiologist in Buenos Aires, Argentina, stands in front of a portrait of the late Dr. Andrew G. Morrow, the surgeon she credits with saving her life and inspiring her to become a cardiologist.

As a young girl, Dr. Capristo was treated here for Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of four heart defects. Pictured with her is NHLBI's Dr. Julio Panza. During her visit, Dr. Capristo toured the CC and Dr. Panza's echocardiography lab.

In an interesting coincidence, CCNews received the following letter by way of the NIH web site from another of Dr. Morrow's patients:

My name is Patricia MacDonald and I just wanted to let you guys know that yesterday was the 29th anniversary of my open heart surgery that was performed at NIH on Aug. 18, 1970 by Dr. Morrow.

At the time of my surgery, I was only 9 years old and had been to NIH on numerous occasions for catheterizations, etc., so I was familiar with the "child friendly" atmosphere.

I've always tried to keep healthy after my surgery, and even though I could never take gym in high school, I was a cheerleader. Now I keep in shape by doing Irish step dancing and tap dancing. It was always a
childhood dream of mine to take some kind of dancing lessons, but my mom would never let me because she knew it would be too much for me.

My scar from my surgery is barely visible after all these years, but it still reminds me of my days as a child when I was tired and sickly all the time.

I don't know if Dr. Morrow or any of the members of the cardiac team who worked on me are still around, or if they even remember me, but I just wanted them to know that, even after all these years, every
Aug. 18th I think of them and thank them for fixing my heart so I could live a healthy life!


Patricia MacDonald (Moody)
Niantic, Conn.

Dr. Morrow was a pioneer in the field of heart surgery. He came to NIH from Johns Hopkins in 1953, and worked here until his death in 1982. His wife, Phyllis, volunteers at the Red Cross desk and still receives visits from his former patients.


Medicine for the Public picture

Medicine for the Public lecture series returns

The Medicine for the Public lecture series begins next month. It features physician-scientists working at the forefront of medical research at the National Institutes of Health. The series helps people understand the latest developments in medicine-new therapies, diagnostic procedures, and research. The lectures, which are free and open to the public, are held at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in the Clinical Center's Masur Auditorium. To give you plenty of time to plan, here's the schedule:

Oct. 5, Exercise for the Elderly: Have We Discovered the Fountain of Youth? - By the year 2030, the fastest growing segment of our population will be those over 85 years of age. Seventy million Americans will be over the age of 65. The aging process itself is a complex series of events that are affected by a variety of factors, including lifestyle, chronic illness, and genetics. Dr. Lynn Gerber, chief of the CC's Rehabilitation Medicine Department, will explain how research is showing that exercise holds an important key to staying healthy and active as we age.

Oct. 12, New Directions for Organ and Tissue Transplantation - Dr. Allan D. Kirk, chief of the Transplantation Section of NIDDK, will explain how diabetes, renal failure, and other end-stage organ diseases can be treated more successfully by immunologic strategies that make the body believe that the transplanted tissues are its own. A surgeon and authority on organ transplantation, Dr. Kirk will explore new methods to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs and tissues, and the development of new drugs or techniques that may improve the success of organ and tissue transplants.

Oct. 19, Blood Transfusion at the Millennium - Blood transfusion has changed dramatically during the last quarter of a century. Many of the early risks-hepatitis, incompatibility, and limited storage and supply-have been all but eliminated in industrial societies. This is not the case in much of the developing world. Dr. Harvey Klein, chief of the CC's Department of Transfusion Medicine, will discuss new and interesting challenges that now involve inactivation of infectious agents in blood, production of substitutes for human blood, and collection of novel blood components for the immunotherapy of cancer and infectious agents, and for such promising new approaches as gene therapy.

Oct. 26, Heart Attack: Rapid Diagnosis Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging - When a heart attack is suspected, quick and accurate diagnosis is essential so that treatment can begin immediately. Innovations in imaging technology can significantly speed that process in hard-to-confirm cases. Dr. Robert Balaban, chief of the Laboratory of Cardiac Energetics, in NHLBI, will discuss how scientists are using sophisticated magnetic resonance imaging to detect heart attack and heart disease in emergency-room patients. Dr. Balaban will explore this current research dedicated to rapidly pinpointing heart problems and, ultimately, saving lives.

For details on specific topics or speakers, call 6-2563. The lecture series web address is:



It's time to foil the flu!


1999 Influenza
Immunization Schedule

OMS, Bldg. 10, Rm. 6C306
Hours to receive vaccines are from 7:30 to 11 a.m. and from
1 to 5 p.m. on the dates listed:

1st letter,
last name
Oct. 4
Oct. 5
Oct. 6
Oct. 12
Oct. 18
Oct. 26
Nov. 3
Nov. 1
Nov. 16
Nov. 19
Nov. 22
Nov. 23
Nov. 24

Bldg. 13, Room G-904
Hours to receive vaccinations are from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m. on the dates listed.

1st letter,
last name
Oct. 8
Oct. 15
Oct. 22
Oct. 29
Nov. 5

Immunizations for NIH employees are free. NIH ID must be presented. Immunizations after Nov. 24 will be given by appointment only.

Are you at high risk for the flu?

  • Are you 65 years of age or older?
  • Do you have a serious, long-term health problem, such as heart disease, compromised immune system, diabetes, or lung or kidney disease?
  • Will you be more than 3 months pregnant during the influenza season?
  • Are you a health care worker?

This year, flu vaccinations will again be offered through the Occupational Medicine Service (OMS). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all health care workers be protected against flu strains by annual vaccination. This year's vaccine protects against influenza A and B.

Flu can be debilitating even for healthy people, and is particularly serious if transmitted to the elderly or to patients with certain chronic medical conditions. Flu is very infectious, and can be passed from person to person through casual contact as well as through direct patient care. Moreover, people infected with the flu are contagious before their own flu symptoms develop, usually 2 days before fevers, coughs, and aches begin.

It is part of good medical practice for health care workers to be vaccinated against the flu. Every year, health care workers nationwide have benefited from receiving these vaccinations, which protect them -and their patients - from serious illness.

The flu vaccine does not cause the flu! According to the CDC, "the viruses in the vaccine are killed, so you cannot get influenza from the vaccine."

The vaccine is safe for pregnant women. Those who will be beyond the first trimester of pregnancy during the influenza season should be vaccinated.

CC staff can "Foil the Flu" by choosing to receive a flu vaccination from many convenient times and locations around the hospital during the special "early-bird" health care worker vaccination schedule from Sept. 27 to Oct.1. Look for the early-bird schedules on patient care units and clinics.

Beginning Oct. 4, the OMS clinic offers walk-in times during the day (see the schedule at right). Be sure to bring your NIH employee ID. Off-campus schedules will appear in next month's CCNews.

More detailed information about the flu vaccine is available in brochures throughout the hospital. Also check out the NIAID web site and the CDC website

If you have other questions, send an e-mail to: or call 6-2209.



News briefs

Blood seminar

The Clinical Center Department of Transfusion Medicine will host its 18th Annual Symposium on Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion, Sept. 23, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in Masur Auditorium. Topics include safety of the blood supply, cell processing, and components and processes. There is no registration fee, but advance registration is required. Register on line at, or call Karen Cipolone at 6-8335 for more information.

Review course

The CC Nursing Department will offer a review course Oct. 23-24 for nurses preparing to take the generalist oncology certification exam. There is no cost for the review. Contact hours have been applied for. Register before Oct. 8 by calling the Nursing Recruitment Office, 1-800-732-5985.

EEO web site

The Clinical Center Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office has recently updated its web site to include information on important ongoing initiatives, such as affirmative action, complaint procedures, diversity, disability employment program, sexual harassment, and upcoming EEO training schedules for new employees and supervisors. Visit the web site at for a variety of EEO activities being offered to CC employees. Forward your comments about the site to

Cafeteria hours

The Clinical Center cafeterias recently changed their hours of operation. The B1 cafeteria will be open Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The 2nd floor cafeteria will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and holidays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Studies open

Call the Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office at 1-800-411-1222 for information on any of the following studies:

Allergic Asthma: NIAID doctors seek people ages 12-85 who have asthma symptoms at least 3 times a week (wheezing, chest tightness, cough, night asthma) for a research study of a new investigational asthma medication. Compensation provided.

Psoriasis Study: NCI researchers invite people with psoriasis on at least 10 percent of their skin to take part in a study of a promising new treatment.

Healthy Women: NICHD seeks healthy women to take part in a research study of normal female reproduction. You may be eligible if you are under 35 and use no birth control pills or other hormones.

Endometriosis: NICHD doctors invite women with pelvic pain associated with endometriosis to take part in a new treatment study.

RoundTable resumes

Clinical Center RoundTable begins its fall season Sept. 17 at noon in Lipsett Amphitheater. The topic is bone marrow transplantation. Dr. John Barrett, NHLBI, will discuss "The Use of Nonmyeloablative Allogeneic Marrow Stem Cell Transplants in the Treatment of Hematological Malignancies." Dr. Richard Childs, NHLBI, will discuss "Renal Cell Cancer and Other Solid Tumors," and Dr. Mitchell Horwitz, NIAID, will talk about "Chronic Granulomatous Disease and Nonmalignant Hematological Disorders."

Open house

The CC Nursing Department will host an open house on Sunday, Sept. 26. The event is set for 1 to 4 p.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater. Tours, led by staff nurses, will begin at 1:30, 2:15, and 3 p.m. For more information, call 1-800-732-5985.

Slogan deadline

Reminder: The deadline for submitting those fire-prevention slogans is Sept. 30. Fax your entry to J.P. McCabe at 2-2059. Call 6-0487 for a copy of the contest rules if you missed them in last month's CCNews.

Address & awards

The Clinical Center Director's Annual Address and Awards Ceremony will be held on Oct. 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. in Masur Auditorium. All are welcome to attend.


Editor: Sue Kendall

Guest Writer: Bonnie Flock

Clinical Center News, 6100 Executive Blvd., Suite 3C01, MSC 7511, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-7511. Tel: 301-496-2563. Fax: 301-402-2984. Published monthly for CC employees by the Office of Clinical Center Communications, Colleen Henrichsen, chief. News, article ideas, calendar events, letters, and photographs are welcome. Deadline for submissions is the second Monday of each month.
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