T H E   N I H    C A T A L Y S T     N O V E M B E R   – D E C E M B E R  2005




Hands Across the Ocean: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, meets NIAMS Director Stephen Katz outside the Clinical Research Center, as NIH Director Elias Zerhouni approaches Prince Charles (back to camera)
Command Performance: NIAMS Director Stephen Katz (seated at table, far right) delivers a specially requested talk on osteoporosis to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, during her visit to NIH November 3. To Katz’s right is NIH Director Elias Zerhouni; to Camilla’s left is her husband, Prince Charles.

In an unprecedented week of high-powered visits to NIH, the United Kingdom’s Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, dropped by on November 3 for a chat about osteoporosis.

The British royals’ visit came just two days after President George Bush used NIH as a backdrop in calling on Congress to pass legislation preparing the country for pandemic flu (see "Bush Uses NIH Visit to Call for Emergency Bird Flu Measures").

After the Prince and Duchess greeted a small crowd of NIH patients and staff gathered in the lobby of the new Clinical Center, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni escorted them to the Medical Board Room and led a meeting with scientific experts, patients, advocacy groups, HHS officials, and NIAMS director Stephen Katz.

The Duchess, who is President of the U.K.’s National Osteoporosis Society, had both a grandmother and her mother with the disease, which affects one in three of women over the age of 50 in the U.K. and one in five women of that age in the United States.

Katz says he told the royal couple that one of NIH’s greatest challenges is "disseminating information about medical breakthroughs, not only to patients but also to the medical professionals who interact with patients." Particularly critical is information about—and then actual changes in—lifestyle in one’s younger years that can prevent bone loss later. "Translating knowledge into behavior changes is a very critical challenge for all of us," Katz told the Duchess.

—Celia Hooper

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