Cynthia Rider, Ph.D., and Kyla Taylor, Ph.D., both from the Division of the National Toxicology Program (DNTP), put an Academy Awards-style twist on the annual NIEHS Awards ceremony Feb. 11. “Think Oscars meets reality television, with your colleagues as stars,” the two told organizer Crystal Littlefield, from the Administrative Services and Analysis Branch, during the weeks leading up to the event.
NIEHS and NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., opened the ceremony by noting that it is one of her favorite events of the year at the institute. “It’s great to see the good work that’s being done and the impact that NIEHS and you are having around the globe,” she said.
“Every one of you is absolutely critical to fulfilling our mission,” Birnbaum emphasized. “It doesn’t matter whether you are a scientist or administrator, a support technician, a contractor, or a trainee, you are part of our One NIEHS family and you make us who we are.” That cohesion was underscored as individuals from across the institute were recognized with presentations.
Noting the theme of celebrating excellence, Birnbaum began with a review of notable achievements in 2018 by the institute’s scientists, staff, and contractors. “I’m so proud of all of you and how you make us who we are,” she said.
Traditionally, the emcees amuse the audience between groups of awards with sketches and photos, and this year was no different. Rider and Taylor prepared video clips that riffed on a reality shows. “Celebrity Big Brother” inspired “Hidden Camera”; “The Lab Mate” was an unabashed nod to “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”; and the audience’s favorite was “The Amazing Race.”
Individual Merit Awards
Individuals recognized for merit are listed below, along with their projects.
John Balbus, from the Office of the Director (OD), for visionary leadership in developing the Human Health Chapter of the Fourth National Climate Assessment and raising worldwide awareness on the relationship between climate and health.
Martha Barnes, from the Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT), for exemplary oversight, management, and support to DERT for all components of human subjects’ monitoring, tracking, and reporting.
John Bucher, from DNTP, for outstanding leadership, guidance, and mentorship as former scientific director and now senior scientist.
Matt Burr, from the Office of Management (OM), for leading NIEHS through a hiring freeze and a series of hiring controls, successfully enabling us to continue advancing our scientific mission.
Regina Stabile, from OD, for exemplary preparation, management, and defense of the NIEHS Freedom of Information Act program in federal court hearings.
Mary Wolfe, from DNTP, for broad support of NTP, managing high-impact stakeholder engagement, establishing a novel cross-agency communication strategy, managing several peer reviews and advisory group meetings, and supporting the integration of the DNTP administrative support community.
Hong Xu, from the Division of Intramural Research (DIR), for exceptional creativity and initiative in developing the first postdoctoral career outcomes interactive dashboard.
Group Merit Awards
The group or project and the individuals involved are listed below, along with their divisions.
Drain Disposal Working Group (Cross-NIEHS), for outstanding dedication toward the development of a new policy for the safe drain disposal of laboratory waste — Jennifer Bradbury, Amy Papaneri, and Stella Sieber, from DIR; Jeff Church, Bill Fitzgerald, Paul Johnson, and Bill Steinmetz, from OM; and Debra King, from DIR.
Symma Finn and Liam O’Fallon, from DERT, for exemplary efforts in defining, promoting, and raising the visibility of environmental health literacy.
IMACS Team (Cross-NIEHS), for excellence in research, redesign, and implementation of the International Myositis Assessment and Clinical Studies application and launching an online mentorship program — Lisa Rider and Adam Schiffenbauer, from DIR; and Dan Arsenault, Brandon Gragasin, Beth Lauderdale, Sagar Thakore, Tamu Whitfield, and Tyler Wright, from OD.
Join an NIEHS Study Website Team (Cross-NIEHS), for exemplary teamwork and creativity in planning and designing the Join an NIEHS Study Website — Nicole Edwards, Stavros Garantziotis, Shepherd Schurman, and Janet Hall, from DIR; Robin Arnette, David Christie, Tony Hall, Claus Jensen, Daniel Nedelcu, Joseph Poccia, and Qasim Rasheed, from OD.
Music and Your Health Team (Cross-NIEHS), for exemplary leadership, dedication, and professionalism in planning, organizing, promoting, and hosting the Music and Your Health event for Earth Day 2018 — Brandy Beverly and Nigel Walker, from DNTP; Laura Thomas, from DERT; and Christine Flowers, Donna Corcoran, John Maruca, Kerri Moran, Suzanne Osborne, John Schelp, Anne Thompson, and Ericka Reid, from OD.
NIEHS Strategic Plan Team, from OD, for outstanding effort and creativity in the conception, development, design, and finalization of the NIEHS 2018-2023 Strategic Plan — Stephanie Bishop, Tiffany Bowen, Kelly Chandler, Donna Corcoran, Christine Flowers, Bill Jirles, Sheila Newton, Kimberly Thigpen Tart, Anne Thompson, and Cheryl Thompson.
Unsung Hero Awards
These awards provide supervisors with a mechanism to recognize employees who make valuable contributions that have a huge impact on NIEHS programs. These are often people who work hard behind the scenes whose contributions might otherwise go unrecognized.
William Boyd, from OM, for exemplary integrity, efficiency, and professionalism in managing the NIEHS fleet and express shipping operations.
Gordon Caviness, from DIR, for notable service to the institute through development of a highly functioning cross-departmental team.
Sharon Evans, from OD, for demonstrating leadership as the Executive Secretary in the Office of the Director.
Shawn Jeter, from DNTP, for exemplary service and creativity in support of NTP web-based projects and processes.
Edward Mosley, from DIR, for exemplary integrity, efficiency, and professionalism in support of the Epidemiology Branch.Page Myers, from DIR, for exemplary effort in training, collaboration, and support in furthering the scientific mission of the intramural research program.
Page Myers, from DIR, for exemplary effort in training, collaboration, and support in furthering the scientific mission of the intramural research program.
Terrance O’Hanlon, from DIR, for exemplary integrity, efficiency, and professionalism in administration of the Environmental Autoimmunity Group laboratory.
Brooke Rogerson, from DIR, for commitment to the advancement of cutting-edge science and animal welfare.
Devlin Sawyer, from OD, for exemplary dedication and efficiency in publishing the weekly NIEHS Scientific Calendar.
Vicki Sutherland, from DNTP, for many unrecognized contributions to NTP studies and mentorship of postdoctoral trainees.
Amanda Thompson, from OM, for excellence in completing space and facility projects in a way that is minimally disruptive to staff.
“No other institute has an award quite like this,” said Taylor when introducing these honorees. Peer awards are only available to nonsupervisory employees.
Janice Allen, from DERT; Helen Cunny, from DNTP; Amy Papaneri, from DIR; and Rita Volochayev, from DIR.
Twenty-one winners of the National Institutes of Health Fellows’ Awards for Research Excellence (FARE) were also recognized during the ceremony.
Jonathan Busada, Helen Chin, Joanne Damborsky, Yi Fang, Chunfang Gu, Hao Hu, Kai Kang, Lee Langer, Yu-Hua Lo, Yong-Moon Park, Maria Petrillo, Yufeng Qin, Prashant Rai, Sreenivasa Ramaiahgari, Cynthia Sakofsky, Natale Sciolino, Elise Smith, Sheng Song, Heather Vellers, Sing-Wai Wong, and Miaofei Xu.
Winners of 2018 NIH Director’s Awards were also recognized, then the audience adjourned to celebrate with family and friends at a reception afterward.