August 2015

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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

2015 ISSUES:
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Scientists come together at the Clinical Center to collaborate, advance research

This fiscal year, eight projects have been awarded in the form of three-year, renewable grants of up to $500,000 direct costs per year, to conduct collaborative clinical research with the NIH intramural program and its Clinical Center. These projects will be conducted by scientists from across the U.S., known as extramural researchers, who will collaborate with government scientists at the NIH, known as intramural researchers.

The Clinical Center will provide access to awardees to innovative resources and technology to help collaboratively advance biomedical research and improve public health. This is the second cycle of awards for the U01 program. Ten awards were made in 2014.

The awards will support projects on a variety of diseases and health conditions. The clinical trials plan to:

  • examine the human immune responses to natural influenza virus;
  • investigate the effects of a new treatment to reduce liver fat and improve inflammation and cellular damage in HIV-infected individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease;
  • help transform the clinical management of hepatitis C virus/HIV co-infected people with advanced liver disease;
  • bridge the gap between current knowledge of Aicardi Goutières Syndrome, a genetic mimicker of viral infections of the central nervous system, and the long term goal of effective therapy;
  • study gene therapy methods aiming to correct some lysosomal storage diseases, which are a large group of inherited disorders that have severe disease in the brain;
  • uncover biological functions of the human Y chromosome beyond reproduction, which will have significant implications for human health and disease;
  • learn about the shrinkage of the part of the brain which controls walking, balance and coordination, and other structural abnormalities in active alcoholics and individuals during very early abstinence with the help of recent advances in imaging and software techniques;
  • analyze a prostate-specific protein through imaging and chemical binding to understand how it can be utilized in prostate cancer treatments.

Applications for the next round of competitions for the awards are due on April 11, 2016. (See PAR-15-287) View the list of the NIH institutes and their awards for extramural/intramural research partnerships. Questions about the U01 program? Email

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The dog days of summer bring furry friends to the bedside

A 10-year old Clinical Center patient with Juno the dog and Dr. Lisa G. Portnoy

A 10-year old Clinical Center patient recently welcomed Juno, a furry beagle, into her hospital bed. While Juno tries to locate a hidden treat in the picture above, the therapy dog silently brings a bit of normalcy and emotional companionship to the pediatric patient. Juno, whose owner is Clinical Center veterinarian Dr. Lisa G. Portnoy, joins a long list of canines who visit patients once a week. The Rehabilitation Medicine Department runs the Animal Therapy program and welcomes trained and certified volunteers and their dogs from the National Capital Therapy Dogs organization.

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Teaching and training future generations remains steadfast

Clinical Fellows Orientation

New clinical fellows from across the country mingled at a welcome reception July 15 hosted by the Clinical Center's Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education. The fellows networked with Drs. Francis S. Collins (left), director of the NIH, and John I. Gallin (second from left), director of the NIH Clinical Center, additional senior leaders and NIH medical and administrative staff. The 83 new clinical fellows develop competence as medical, surgical or dental specialists and collaborate with world-renowned mentors to conduct cutting-edge patient-oriented research. The Clinical Center sponsors 18 medical/surgical specialty or subspecialty training programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and the NIH supports numerous one-of-a-kind clinical or translational research fellowship training programs within its constituent Institutes. More details on graduate medical education at NIH.

Clinical & Translational Research Course for Ph.D. Students

Twenty-nine graduate students representing 24 academic institutions throughout the U.S. took part in the Clinical and Translational Research Course for Ph.D. Students at the NIH Clinical Center July 6-17. During the two week intensive course, participants learned the design and regulatory fundamentals of clinical and translational research, participated in a mock-IRB meeting, and met with Ph.D. investigators who are involved with clinical and translational research at the NIH, FDA, and industry.

Medical Research Scholars Program

Just steps from the NIH Clinical Center in Building 60, also referred to as "the Cloisters," more than 50 new medical research scholars have moved into dorm-like housing on campus and have taken a year off from medical and dental school to pursue basic, clinical or translational research.

Howard University Robert Wood Johnson Summer Medical & Dental Education Program

For the fourth consecutive year, the NIH Clinical Center has opened its doors to students participating in the Howard University's Robert Wood Johnson Summer Medical and Dental Education Program. During their visit, the students learn about NIH training opportunities and see the amazing work taking place in labs. The 80 students, who have completed their freshman or sophomore year in college, participate in the program to prepare for re-examinations and to remove deficiencies in basic science courses.

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Feds Feed Families stock pantries

NIH staff holding signs

NIH staff promote the 'Fill the Truck' annual event for Fed Feed Families.

Check your pantries or head to the stores – it's time to Knock Out Hunger. The NIH will continue its tradition of giving back to our community by joining federal agencies across the Nation in the Feds Feed Families summer food drive.

Donations can include non-expired canned and boxed food, baby food and beverages, as well as hygiene products such as soap, toothpaste, tissues, diapers and shampoo.

There are 15 sites on campus and 23 nearby sites to drop off donations through September. Collection boxes are located in the Clinical Center 2nd floor and B1 cafeterias. Donations can also be made online and delivered directly to a non-profit partner.

Last year, the NIH contributed 19,276 pounds of goods to the program's grand total of over 14 million pounds.

Donations will be distributed throughout Maryland, D.C. and Virginia and a portion will also go to the Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge and The Children's Inn at the NIH. Email for more details.

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Sibling Day spotlights brothers and sisters of pediatric patients

Cristiano Martinez and Dr. Julia Labovsky

A group of eight children, including 5-year-old Cristiano Martinez seen above, participated in Sibling Day at the NIH Clinical Center and The Children's Inn at NIH July 14. The daylong event focused on the brothers and sisters of pediatric patients and the important role they play as part of the medical care team. Above, Dr. Julia Labovsky, with the Department of Perioperative Medicine, demonstrates a video assisted intubation of a practice mannequin during a hands-on session in the operating room. The kids also visited the Department of Laboratory Medicine and participated in other therapeutic music and art activities.

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Free interpretation and translation services for patients with limited English proficiency

The NIH Clinical Center has developed an informational guide about the availability of free language services at the research hospital to ensure that patients with limited English proficiency have access to the resources they may need.

The guide, which is written in the top ten most requested languages at the hospital, is just one component of the Clinical Center's Language Access Plan. The plan is a part of an NIH-wide effort under a Presidential Executive Order "to improve access to federally conducted and federally assisted programs and activities for persons who, as a result of national origin, are limited in their English proficiency." The guides have been posted on bulletin boards throughout the building and distributed to nursing stations across all units, clinics and day hospitals. In addition, a webpage has been developed to assist patients and staff in finding language services.

Learn more about the guide or call the Language Interpreters Program for additional language support 301-496-2792. View the CC News December 2014 coverage of the Language Access Plan.

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Guided tours now available to view hospital artwork

People viewing art

Patients and visitors can view and learn about the creative and therapeutic artwork that rotates throughout Building 10 in greater detail by scheduling a walking tour with volunteer Louisa Howard, right.

As you walk down nearly every hallway of the Clinical Center's Hatfield building, you can admire artwork in the form of landscapes, photography, sculptures and much more. To help patients, their families and staff view the nearly 130 pieces of artwork on display, the Clinical Center Fine Arts Program now offers personalized tours of the artwork. To schedule a tour, call 301-435-5576.

The guided tour is provided by Louisa Howard, a NIH post baccalaureate intramural research training awardee who is a volunteer in the Fine Arts Program. The program, which began in 1984, has more than 2,000 pieces in its collection and is made possible in part through monetary and artwork donations from artists, staff, visitors and patients.

Also available is a self-guided walking tour. A brochure of the artwork on display is available at the north entrance hospitality desk, the reception desk near the P1 garage and the patient library on the 7th floor of the Clinical Center in addition to The Children's Inn at NIH and the Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge.

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Manager of space, facilities retires after 30 years

Debbie Byram

After decades of service to the CC, Debbie Byram retired in July.

In late July, Debbie Byram, chief of the Clinical Center Office of Space and Facility Management, retired after 30 years at the NIH Clinical Center. Under Byram's leadership, the office continued to coordinate closely with NIH teams responsible for renovation projects, providing engineering support along the way; enabled the safe and efficient installation and operation of special purpose equipment; and ensured hospital facility compliance with codes and regulations.

"I have worked in a variety of health care settings across the country, but there is something special about this place," says Byram. "As one of our patients so aptly coined the name 'House of Hope,' it has been such a privilege to have worked in this hospital."

Her first position at the Clinical Center was in 1985 as the Clinical Nurse Specialist of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. In 2000, Byram transitioned from nursing to hospital administration, where she started as a senior administrative officer until she was asked to serve as the activation project manager for the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center from 2001 to 2005.

Before coming to the NIH, she worked in military, community, university and inter-city hospitals. She has published several articles, research abstracts, and book chapters and has received numerous awards throughout her career recognizing her contributions in nursing, leadership, research, process improvement, and special projects.

View an archived CC News story to learn more about Byram — and the significance of her American Flag hardhat.

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The Clinical Center enhances sustainable practices and solutions

Green labs initiative focuses on conservation in research

Staff working in a lab

There are more than 1,600 laboratories conducting basic and clinical research in the Clinical Center. Many continue to take practical steps to reduce waste.

Scientists in the Clinical Center perform advanced research to improve people's lives. However, changes being implemented in labs can help improve the environment.

Efforts to lower the environmental impact the NIH research labs date back to the 1980s. More recently, annual Green Labs Fairs have been held at the Clinical Center and other NIH locations beginning in 2010. Focused on practical changes that labs can introduce to reduce environmental impact while still performing advanced scientific research, the initiative has generated much interest. Beginning in 2013, the fairs became fully incorporated as an important and integral component of the annual NIH Research Festival.

Volunteers come from a number of institute labs based in the Clinical Center: the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the National Human Genome Research Institute. In addition, the initiative is supported by the NIH Environmental Management System, the NIH Division of Environmental Protection and the NIH Division of Occupational Health and Safety.

The Green Labs Initiative has already had a positive impact with the introduction of a styrofoam re-use program in the Clinical Center. Many lab products are shipped in styrofoam containers for protection and security. Industry partners take the containers back to re-use, which prevents them from entering the landfill. This program saves energy, reduces carbon dioxide emissions and decreases production of solid waste.

As a result of the initiative, more labs are recycling paper and plastic. Empty chemical bottles are picked up for recycling, which benefits the environment and saves money that would have been spent to dispose of these bottles as chemical waste. Researchers have also identified alternatives to toxic chemicals, and many labs are choosing to use these safer, less toxic compounds when conducting their research.

The initiative has changed over the years in support of NIH research, and its impact on the Clinical Center and the NIH continues to be felt.

Nurse recognized as HHS green champion

Brenda Martinez

Brenda Martinez is clinical research nurse and recycling advocate in the CC.

Sometimes big changes start with a simple idea. Brenda Martinez, a clinical research nurse at the NIH Clinical Center, instituted a recycling initiative in the Southeast Day Hospital. As a result of her effort, she was recognized as a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) "Green Champion."

Having worked in her unit for 15 years, Martinez noticed that a majority of healthcare supply packaging used on her floor was thrown away. But, after reviewing the guidelines of the recycling programs in Montgomery County and at the NIH, she realized that most of the packaging could be recycled.

Martinez sought out the facilities managers responsible for the recycling program at the Clinical Center and educational sessions for staff were arranged to explain what materials were recyclable and how each staff member could make the initiative a success.

Employees overwhelming identified access to recycling containers and timely removal of accumulated recyclables as their biggest concerns. To overcome these challenges, Martinez helped arrange for a regular removal of recyclables and for additional recycling containers to be placed in all patient care and staff offices and other work areas. The NIH Green Team also places 20 small blue collection bins in patient treatment workspaces and offices. The Southeast Day Hospital now positively contributes to the over 3,600 pounds of recycled waste that is generated daily during hospital operations.

Staff participation in the recycling program has been robust and its reception has been overwhelmingly positive. The program at the Southeast Day Hospital supports the NIH in maintaining its pollution prevention and waste reduction goals outlined in the HHS 2014 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan. Equally important, Martinez's passion to protect the environment has motivated others to take action not only in the workplace, but also in their lives.

"I work with an awesome team of nurses who have increased their concern for the environment and are even increasing recycling in their homes," she said.

Recycling Update: How You Can Help

Due to changes in the recycling industry, recycling centers that previously accepted NIH recycling no longer accept many items. Therefore, the Clinical Center has modified the recycling program.

What can no longer be recycled?

  • Medical plastic (Dispose in the NIH "Disposable Labware and Broken Glass Box" or "MPW" box as appropriate)
  • Empty lab bottles (Call NIH Chemical Waste for pick-up: 301-496-4710)
  • Plastic utensils, plastic bags, chip bags, wrappers, plastic wrap and other plastic films (Dispose in trash)
  • Food waste (Food and all items that cannot be recycled should go in the trash or compost/organic waste bin. NIH Bethesda compost program is on hold until a local compost facility’s services become available to the Clinical Center. However, the designated bins are still emptied and contents are sent to a waste-to-energy facility along with general trash.)

What can still be recycled?

  • Clean and empty food and drink containers made of rigid plastic, metal and glass.
  • Mixed paper, cardboard, toner cartridge and pipette tip rack box recycling is still in effect, as well.

For more information, email the NIH Clinical Center Green Team: call the NIH Recycling Coordinator: 301-496-7990 or visit the NIH Environmental Management System website.

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Upcoming Events

Most lectures will be streamed live and archived

Clinical Center Grand Rounds Lecture: Contemporary Issues in Graduate Medical Education
Human Research Protections Beyond the Institutional Review Board; Unmasking the Ramifications of Data "Fudging" in Human Research Studies

August 5, 2015, Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Lipsett Amphitheater
Presented by Kristen Grace MD, Office of Research Integrity, Division of Investigative Oversight, Department of Health and Human Services

Clinical Center Grand Rounds Lecture: Contemporary Issues in Graduate Medical Education
The Current Reality of Competency-based Medical Education
August 12, 2015, Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Lipsett Amphitheater
Presented by William F. Iobst, MD, The Commonwealth Medical College

Clinical Center Grand Rounds Lecture: Contemporary Issues in Graduate Medical Education
The Clinical Environment as a Learning Environment: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Clinical Learning Environment Program
August 19, 2015, Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Lipsett Amphitheater
Presented by Carl Patow, MD, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education,
Clinical Learning Environment Program, Virginia Commonwealth University

Clinical Center Grand Rounds Lecture: Contemporary Issues in Graduate Medical Education
Risk-Benefit Analysis in Clinical Research: What is the Role of Equipoise?
August 26, 2015, Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Lipsett Amphitheater
Presented by Scott Kim, MD, NIH Clinical Center

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