DEA

Just last week, I had the honor of presenting, on behalf of NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, the first-ever NIH Professional Judgment Budget for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Outlined at the July 27 meeting of the HHS Secretary’s Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services, the proposal—commonly referred to as a Bypass Budget—lays out NIH’s plan to speed discovery into these devastating disorders, aimed at meeting the research goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease—to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.

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This year’s Butler-Williams Scholars Program will take place next week on the NIH campus. Recently, NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes described to the Friends of the NIA why it’s so important to encourage new and early-stage investigators’ interests in aging research and explained some of the opportunities that we are providing new investigators.

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We will be posting a new pay line for Alzheimer’s research, and I want to alert you to two important facts around it.

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If you’re struggling to recruit enough participants for your study, you are not alone. When time, staff, and other recruitment resources are limited, this can be a tough problem. How can you get a diverse group of study participants through your doors? One answer is likely right in your own backyard: connecting with local organizations who are already working with older adults in racially and economically diverse communities. Volunteers may spread information about your study on your behalf. Get involved and explain what you are doing and why. Then ask for their help.

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NIA is supporting a unique new website—the Gateway to Global Aging Data—that enables cross-national comparisons of the health, social, and economic status of older people. If you haven’t looked at what’s available, or you haven’t looked recently, I encourage you to check it out. Do you need to know if people in Estonia smoke more than people in Germany? What might be behind why people in Japan live longer than people in other developed countries? The Gateway makes it easy to create interactive graphs and tables to immediately examine population estimates of various countries over time. You can generate graphs and tables to compare the same measures between sub-populations within a country or quickly identify cross-country differences, as well as changes over time.

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I am a Scientific Review Officer (SRO) and currently lead the NIA-N Review committee. I’m constantly recruiting grant application reviewers: I mean, All The Time! During the course of each year, I also run a multitude of meetings to review grants responding to Requests for Applications, Program Project Grants (PPG), and Institutional/Individual Training Grant opportunities. It’s a good thing that I don’t take rejection personally, because more than half of the reviewers I try to recruit say, “NO,” and about a quarter of them just don’t answer my emails. One time I asked 89 people to review a PPG and only 14 of them said yes.

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For scientists writing NIH grant applications, the aims are THE THING.

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Every NIH institute has an executive responsible for managing its business organization. This is someone who keeps computer systems, buildings, human resources, contracts, and budget operations running, someone who makes or administers policies. If I was on your campus, I might be called the Chief Business Officer.

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Pepper Centers—a chain of spice shops?! Maybe.

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We’re excited about participating in the upcoming annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society May 14–17 at National Harbor, just outside of Washington, DC. And, we’re hoping to see many of you at the sessions featuring NIA staff, who will be talking about research funded and conducted by NIA, as well as funding opportunities and applying for grants. Please add these sessions to your schedule in the conference app. Or, print this out to bring with to you the meeting.

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