About NIA

NACA meeting: September 22-23, 2009

General Information/Staff Awards

Meetings and Exhibits

NIH Pain Consortium Symposium: Advances in Pain Research – May 26, 2009
The NIA co-sponsored and participated in the organization of the 4th Annual Symposium on Advances in Pain Research by the NIH Pain Consortium in Bethesda, MD. This year the symposium featured twelve presentations from NIH grantees that highlighted cutting-edge research accomplishments in areas of genes and genetic studies to understand risk factors for chronic pain, assess treatment responses and abuse potentials, and develop pain research tools and animal models. Dr. Roger Fillingim from the University of Florida presented his work on genetic contributions to ethnic differences in chronic pain, which is currently funded by NIA. In addition, seventeen posters from NIH-funded new investigators were presented, and at the end of the symposium there was an open session for participants to provide feedback on pain research opportunities. (For more information, contact Dr. Wen G. Chen, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350, chenw@nia.nih.gov.)

Workshop on Results from the 2004 National Long-Term Care Survey – May 28-29, 2009
The purpose of this NIA/BSR-supported exploratory meeting held in Bethesda, MD, was to present new research taking advantage of the 2004 (and final) wave of the National Long-term Care Survey (NLTCS) to further our understanding of disability and the aging life course. Scholars were invited based upon submitted abstracts, and other interested researchers and policymakers were invited to participate as well. (For more information, contact Ms. Georgeanne Patmios, BSR, Ph: 301-496-3138.)

The Science of Behavior Change Roadmap Development meeting - June 15-16, 2009
This meeting featured more than 60 invited experts and an equal number of NIH extramural staff from seventeen participating ICs. The meeting charge was to identify areas within the science of behavior change that were especially important or ripe for further development by NIH, either through the Roadmap process or some other trans-NIH effort. The meeting report was expected to be released in late summer. Dr. Richard Suzman, Director of NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) is the co-chair of this effort with Dr. Patricia Grady, the Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). Dr. Jonathan King, of NIA/BSR, is the coordinator of this ongoing Roadmap effort. (For more information, contact Dr. Jonathan King, BSR, Ph: 301-594-5942.)

NIA staffed, exhibited, and/or disseminated materials at the following meetings and conferences:

  • American College of Sports Medicine meeting, Seattle, WA
  • Assisted Living Federation of America conference, Philadelphia, PA
  • “AWARE for All” Clinical Research Education Day sponsored by the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), Baltimore, MD
  • National Association of Area Agencies on Aging Conference, Minneapolis, MN
  • Special Libraries Association (SLA) Conference, Washington, DC
  • Miami Senior Adult Educational Center health fair, Miami, FL
  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) exhibit booth at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Annual Clinical Meeting, Chicago, IL
  • NIAMS exhibit booth at the National Association of Hispanic Nurses meeting, San Antonio, TX
  • Women’s Health Week exhibit, NIH, Bethesda, MD

NIA coordinated a meeting with the Geronotological Society of America (July 23).

(For more information about NIA’s exhibits, contact Ms. Vicky Cahan, Communications Director, OCPL, Ph: 301-496-1752. For more information about meetings with professional organizations or associations, contact Dr. Tamara Jones, Legislative Officer, Ph: 301-451-8835.)

Awards

  • The 2009 NIH Director's Award:
    • Dr. Jack Guralnik, Chief, Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, was awarded in recognition of his mentoring efforts over the past 25 years. Dr. Guralnik is a leader and scientist in the field of epidemiology of aging and has mentored staff and scientists and worked closely with key stakeholders to develop an effective program internally with strong external relationships, keeping in line with the NIH mission and the advancement of science. He has mentored postdoctoral students, visiting scientists, graduate students as well as senior staff. In many cases, his mentees are now his collaborators. Whether through his teaching techniques, the stimulation of creative and reflective thinking, guidance on writing scientific papers, encouragement in the establishment of an early publication career, advice on the focus and structure of research hypotheses, instruction on performing correct data analysis, interpretation of research results, encouragement in life-long learning, teambuilding, providing advice on coursework, best practices for the presentation of data at meetings and conferences, he always impressed upon all of his mentees that they should produce excellent science, do it with passion, and share their successes with their collaborators. A major aspect of his mentoring is to assist and encourage mentees and other colleagues to stretch in making more ambitious goals and in helping to find resources, both personal and institutional to meet these goals. His dedication and attention to his mentees, his scientific rigor, his desire to “connect” people in an effort to facilitate collaboration, and his desire to continue mentoring beyond the boundaries of the laboratory have stimulated the academic field of aging. As a result of Dr. Guralnik’s mentoring, young scientists who have been mentored by him have achieved prestigious leadership academic careers both in the U.S. and abroad, are internationally recognized leaders in the field of gerontological research, and have developed new landmark research studies, such as the InChianti, Health ABC, LIFE, and many other studies. Through his tireless mentoring efforts, Dr. Guralnik has launched the careers of a full generation of gerontologists worldwide and thereby has had a tremendous impact on the direction and progress of an entire field of study. This represents a legacy that will continue to impact the progress of scientific knowledge and research in the area of aging for many years to come.
    • Dr. Myriam Gorospe, Senior Investigator/Section Chief, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology (LCMB), was awarded in recognition of her many accomplishments in understanding the mechanisms by which RNA binding proteins and micro RNAs regulate gene expression in response to stress. Dr. Gorospe heads the RNA Regulation Section within the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology with the goal of studying post-transcriptional mechanisms of gene regulation. Her primary focus has been the study of RNA binding proteins that regulate messenger RNA stability and the efficacy of conversion to protein products, particularly in response to stress stimuli that are the crux of cellular aging. Dr. Gorospe has made several important contributions in this arena with the most recent being (1) elucidating signature binding motifs of different RNA binding proteins, (2) investigating how RNA binding proteins regulate one another, and (3) investigating how more than one RNA binding protein targets specific RNAs. With these observations, she gained widespread recognition in the RNA field, and highlighted the substantive advances being made by intramural researchers. She has also shown remarkable facility in adding newer technologies, such as confocal microscopy, to broaden the scope of her studies in this area. Additionally, Dr. Gorospe has made a timely and very important transition to studying micro RNAs. These are small non-coding RNA molecules that were recently discovered and have attracted the attention of leaders in the RNA field. By moving quickly into this area, Dr. Gorospe has demonstrated foresight and drive, and placed herself in this select group of investigators. As a member of this elite group, Dr. Gorospe exemplifies the cutting edge research being carried out in the NIA/IRP and positively impacts the Institute’s visibility and reputation. Her studies resulted in more than twenty publications in 2008 in outstanding journals such as Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA), Molecular and Cellular Biology, Cell Cycle and Genes and Development, and a superlative review from the Board of Scientific Counselors of the NIA.
    • Ms. Melissa Fraczkowski, Management Analysis Officer, Office of the Director, Office of Administrative Management, was awarded in recognition of her exceptional leadership in not only establishing the new Workforce and Strategic Planning Branch (WSPB) under the Office of Administrative Management (OAM), but in the proactive and positive manner in which she has quickly handled a number of significant initiatives impacting the NIA as well as the NIH. Her responsibilities cover a wide range of institute-wide programs including performance management, telework, emergency preparedness, risk, awards and recognition, equal employment opportunity and outreach, A-76, and training. In her efforts to manage these programs, Ms. Fraczkowski has been exemplary in her ability to implement programs in a way that minimizes the administrative burden on staff while embracing and emphasizing the importance, key features, and necessity of the work she carries out. Several noted accomplishments in these areas include: (1) implementation of administrative competencies for all positions in the OAM through the development of an assessment tool, training of OAM staff, and the development of Individual Development Plans (IDPs) (NIA was recognized by NIH for being the first and only IC to accomplish implementation of competencies for all occupations); (2) implementation of a risk management program in which she worked with program officials on assessing risk for over 300 identified areas, instituted personally ensured risk training for all NIA employees, and worked with NIH risk management staff to pilot their larger program (NIA implemented this program at a pace well ahead of NIH deadlines); (3) development of a quarterly tracking process that ensures targeted metrics in performance plans are being met, saves program staff significant time in preparing close-out plans, and includes individual templates of cascading language for all employees for the establishment of new plans; and (4) the design of a streamlined IC-wide mandatory once-a month training program ensuring that all NIA staff meet the required NIH deadlines for specific training resulting in NIA having an outstanding completion record. She is masterful in getting program buy-in and involvement and is frequently a leader at NIH in piloting and pushing ahead when implementing major initiatives.
    • Dr. Robin Barr, Director, Division of Extramural Activities, was awarded as part of a group nomination submitted by the Office of the Director, in recognition of exceptional contributions toward the conception, development, and implementation of NIH policy which encourages biomedical scientists and their institutions to accelerate postdoctoral training completion and early application for independent research support. The group developed policy on Early Stage Investigators, developed web pages providing guidance to Early Stage Investigators, and worked closely with the Electronic Research Administration (ERA) to implement design changes in the Commons to allow electronic and Commons identification of Early Stage investigators based on the information that these investigators supply. The policy and design changes were completed on time within an exacting timeframe and allowed NIH to improve its policies towards new investigators rapidly. These investigators are a most important and vulnerable community of scientists.
    • Dr. Marilyn Miller, Health Scientist Administrator, Division of Neuroscience, was awarded as part of a group nomination submitted by the Office of the Director, in recognition of exceptional contributions in implementing the goals of the Enhancing Peer Review Initiative. NIH leadership called Subgroups together as early as July 2008 and all members were asked to contribute a significant amount of time and effort at a very rapid pace. The goals of the Subgroups encompassed all aspects of the peer review system and included many of the major visible enhancements of the peer review system. These groups were responsible for enhancing the review criteria, developing and aligning the new shorter application with the enhanced review criteria, developing and piloting the new 9-point scoring system for peer review, and developing templates for Summary Statements to provide feedback to applicants. They also developed an extensive set of surveys and analyses for the collection of baseline data that will be used for analysis of the NIH Peer Review system. Other accomplishments included establishing a permanent process for continuous balanced and fair review systems across scientific fields and career stages and implementing major goals under the heading of "Engaging the Best Reviewers,” including the identification of new options and incentives to increase the ability of busy experts to serve as peer reviewers as well as defining new opportunities to acknowledge reviewer service. It is because of the interest and enthusiasm as well as exceptional knowledge base and dedication to the peer review process of these NIH staff members who comprised the Subgroups that NIH was successful in accomplishing the goals of enhancing peer review.
    • Dr. Michele Evans, Deputy Scientific Director, Office of the Scientific Director, and Dr. J. Taylor Harden, Assistant to the Director for Special Populations, Office of the Director, were awarded as part of a group nomination submitted by the National Center for Minorities and Health Disparities, in recognition of exceptional contributions made in planning and coordinating the first trans-NIH scientific event on health disparities, the “NIH Summit: The Science of Eliminating Health Disparities,” which was held December 16-18, 2008. The success of the summit could not have been attained without the commitment and diligence of a dedicated team of NIH employees from the Institutes and Centers, and NIH OD Offices. Dr. Evans and Dr. Harden were part of a trans-NIH committee which consisted of several sub-committees who handled the planning and execution of a well organized and comprehensive summit. Contributions included coordinating sessions with grantees and other committee members, organizing logistics, and attending regular planning meetings. The summit showcased the multi-faceted strategies of the NIH Institutes and Centers and their many partners within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal government, foundations, academic institutions, health care organizations, community organizations, and international groups involved in tackling the multiplicity of diseases, health conditions, and issues associated with health disparities. The summit attracted more than 4,400 participants including scientists, policy leaders, physicians, community leaders, health care practitioners, media professionals, and students. A pre-summit workshop on the NIH grants process drew approximately 1200 attendees and introduced this potentially new cohort of applicants to the NIH grants process. The summit was organized around five tracks, with approximately 300 speakers from around the world, 100 break-out sessions, 89 abstracts for oral presentations, 328 poster sessions, and 70 exhibits. The summit highlighted the breadth of NIH research on health disparities in a manner that has never been done: it underscored the complexity of health disparities; introduced the audience to a new paradigm for health disparities that integrates science, practice, and policy as being fundamental in understanding and seeking solutions to eliminate health disparities; and increased awareness about the diversity of approaches that have been undertaken by different disciplines with regard to health disparities. An entire morning of the summit was broadcast by C-Span which helped to heighten national interest in health disparities as evidenced by the subsequent volume of inquiries, calls, and correspondence pertaining to health disparities funding and partnership opportunities.
  • Emmy Nomination: The Alzheimer’s Project: Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? (Outstanding Children's Nonfiction Program)
  • Emmy Nomination: The Alzheimer’s Project: Momentum in Science (Part I & II) (Outstanding Nonfiction Special)
  • Emmy Nomination: The Alzheimer’s Project: The Memory Loss Tapes (Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking)
  • The Alzheimer’s Project won the Television Critics Association 2009 award for Outstanding Achievement in News & Information.
  • Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging: 2009 APEX Awards for Publication Excellence – Grand Award (Electronic & Video Publications)
  • National Institutes of Health Plain Language awards:
    1. Gold: End of Life: Helping with Comfort and Care; Senior-Friendly Public Service Announcement for NIHSeniorHealth.com
    2. Silver: Helping Older People Find Health Information Just Got Easier; La Ronde Public Service Announcement for NIHSeniorHealth.com; Menopause: Time for a Change; Toolkit for Trainers
    3. Bronze: NIHSeniorHealth Wisdom for the Ages Bookmark

(For more information about NIA’s awards, contact Ms. Vicky Cahan, Communications Director, OCPL, Ph: 301-496-1752.)

  • Collaboration with HBO on Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Care
    HBO Documentary Films and the NIA/NIH co-presented, in association with the Alzheimer’s Association, the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, and the Geoffrey Beene Gives Back Alzheimer’s Initiative, The Alzheimer’s Project, which debuted on May 10-12, 2009. The Alzheimer’s Project included the four core documentary films, 15 supplemental films, a robust Web site, and extensive information and outreach about research and care. Since the debut, the programs and materials continue to be widely viewed and accessed. Beyond being initially offered for free to millions of viewers on various platforms provided by participating television service providers, the videos continue to stream for free at www.HBO.com/alzheimers, YouTube, Facebook, and iTunes. During the first month, the films were viewed an estimated 760,000 times in those digital formats. Additionally, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers will be adding the HBO segments to relevant sections of the VA website where they can be accessed by VA staff, veterans and their caregivers. Communities and organizations also are participating widely in The Alzheimer’s Project; nearly 6,000 free “screening kits” containing the four films and discussion guides were sent to organizations in all 50 states to assist in hosting community screening events that drew an estimated 165,000 people. NIA Web site traffic increased, as the HBO website also directed visitors to the Institute’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center, as well as resources from the Alzheimer’s Association and other helpful sites.
    (For more information about NIA’s collaboration with HBO, contact Ms. Vicky Cahan, Communications Director, OCPL, Ph: 301-496-1752)

NIA Publications

A new Census Bureau Report, An Aging World: 2008, commissioned by NIA/BSR and published July 21, 2009, examines nine international population trends identified in 2007 by the NIA and the US Department of State. An Aging World: 2008 contains detailed information on life expectancy, health, disability, gender balance, marital status, living arrangements, education and literacy, labor force participation and retirement, and pensions among older people around the world. The number of people worldwide age 65 and older is estimated at 506 million as of midyear 2008; by 2040, that number will hit 1.3 billion. Thus, in just over 30 years, the proportion of older people will double from 7 percent to 14 percent of the total world population. This new report examines the demographic and socioeconomic trends accompanying this unprecedented rate of increase in the average age of the world’s population.  (For more information, contact Dr. Richard Suzman, BSR, Ph: 301-496-3131.)

The following new NIA publications were completed:

  • Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease: Your Easy-to-Use Guide from the National Institute on Aging
  • Clinical Trials and Older People Tip Sheet
  • Connections (Volume 16, Number 1) – e-zine
  • Connections promotional postcard
  • Inside the Brain: Unraveling the Mystery of Alzheimer’s Disease – animation video
  • Participating in Activities You Enjoy Tip Sheet
  • Spotlight on Aging Research (Volume 2, Number 2) – e-zine
  • Taste and Smell (AgePage)
  • Links, spring issue

The following publications were updated and/or reprinted:

  • A Good Night’s Sleep (AgePage)
  • ADEAR Center Publications List
  • Aging and Your Eyes(AgePage)
  • Alcohol Use (AgePage)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: Unraveling the Mystery (HBO edition)
  • Can Alzheimer’s Disease Be Prevented?
  • Choosing a Doctor (AgePage)
  • Exercise and Physical Activity (AgePage)
  • Falls and Fractures (AgePage)
  • Flu—Get the Shot (AgePage)
  • HIV, AIDS, and Older People (AgePage)
  • Información sobre el cancer (Cancer Facts AgePage)

La mala memoria: Reconozca cuándo debe pedir ayuda (Forgetfulness AgePage)

  • Medicines: Use Them Safely (AgePage)
  • NIHSeniorHealth.gov “At Last” bookmark

(For more information about NIA’s publications, contact Ms. Vicky Cahan, Communications Director, OCPL, Ph: 301-496-1752.)

News Releases

The following news releases were distributed to audiences in print and on the internet:

(For more information about NIA’s press activities, contact Ms. Vicky Cahan, Communications Director, OCPL, Ph: 301-496-1752.)

NIA Web Activities

E-mail Alert Launched

  • News & Notes from the ADEAR Center, highlighting additions to the Alzheimer’s Disease Library (AD Lib) was launched as a monthly update sent to Alzheimer’s Disease Centers (ADC) education and administrative core staff.

NIHSeniorHealth

  • Medicare Basics for Caregivers, topic added
  • Alzheimer’s disease, topic updated

(For more information about NIA’s web activities, contact Ms. Vicky Cahan, Communications Director, OCPL, Ph: 301-496-1752.)