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NIEHS Launches Intramural Awareness Campaign

By Eddy Ball
August 2009

Free coffee mugs
Free coffee mugs helped catch the attention of people on their lunch break. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Elena Braithwaite, Ph.D., Wendy Boyd, Ph.D., and Julie Rice
From left to right, NIEHS Comparative Genomics Group scientists Elena Braithwaite, Ph.D., Wendy Boyd, Ph.D., and Julie Rice listened as Wang explained how they can contribute to the new Web site. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Bill Schrader, Ph.D. and Perry Blackshear, M.D., D.Phil.
NIEHS Deputy Scientific Director Bill Schrader, Ph.D., foreground center, and Principal Investigator Perry Blackshear, M.D., D.Phil., toasted the success of the campaign as Wang watched from behind the table. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Wang, Miller andSteve Kleeberger, Ph.D.
Toward the end of the lunchtime period, Wang, left, enjoyed the antics as Miller, center, made a show of handing NIEHS Acting Deputy Director Steve Kleeberger, Ph.D., a mug from the dwindling supply. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

As part of a three-month NIH-wide campaign to raise the visibility of the Intramural Program, investigators in the NIEHS Division of Intramural Research (DIR) staffed a table at the Institute's cafeteria on July 20 and handed out nearly 75 promotional coffee mugs. It was the first outreach event at NIEHS for the NIH "I Am Intramural" initiative, which is gathering information and testimonials from scientists and staff for a new public Intramural Web site.

According to NIH organizers, the new Web site will be instrumental in helping NIH "bring ‘the best and brightest' from all walks of life into the Intramural Program, make connections with the broader scientific community, enroll patients in clinical studies and account to taxpayers and Congress for the investment they make here."

Scientists, clinicians and professional staff can submit stories about their experiences in the NIH Intramural Program at the NIH "I Am Intramural" Web site. Developers are looking for stories, photos and scientific images that clearly explain how Intramural research improves people's lives, showcase the talents of professionals at all stages of their careers, provide information on how the Intramural scientists are training the "next generation" of biomedical scientists, and promote participation in Intramural clinical research studies.

Staffing the table for the kick-off event was NIEHS Intracellular Regulation Group Research Fellow Xueqian (Shirley) Wang, Ph.D. Wang was joined later in the lunch period by her group's leader, Principal Investigator David Miller, Ph.D., campaign representative at NIEHS.

According to Miller, because of its diversity, NIEHS has a unique contribution to make to the new Web site, as well as a special need for raising public awareness of its new Clinical Research Unit.

Staffers at the booth invited passersby to take a complimentary mug and learn more about how they can contribute to the campaign. Among the visitors to the information table was Fordham University Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Natural Sciences Joan Roberts, Ph.D, who has spent the past 17 summers investigating light and human physiology with scientists in the NIEHS Laboratory of Pharmacology.

"I think it's a great idea," Roberts said as she promised to share her experiences at NIEHS and the way her summers here have benefited her students at Fordham. "I always emphasize to my students how important it is to communicate advanced scientific ideas in an accurate but understandable fashion - to get the information out of the ivory tower to the people it could one day benefit."

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