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Just Ask!

Celia Hooper

Dear Just Ask:
How does one go about forming an interest group? We would like to start a Clinical Pharmacology Interest Group. In general, the individuals we are aware of who want to participate are oncology-focused, but it could be open to all clinical pharmacologists.


William D. Figg, NCI



Dear WDF:

Thanks for asking a question that pops up several times a year. Here are the steps to take to establish a new interest group.

1. Talk to your colleagues interested in the subject area to assess enthusiasm for starting a new group. Be sure to identify people from other institutes (and possibly other area institutions, such as USUHS, FDA, EPA, Georgetown, Howard) and talk to them, too. Get e-mail and surface mail addresses and phone numbers for people interested in forming a group.

2. Check the list of existing interest groups to make sure there isn't one already in your area. Talk to the heads of related groups to see if a subset of their members have any interest in collaborating with you on the formation of the new group.

3. If there seems to be sufficient interest and energy to make a stab at it, call an organizational meeting. Notify the csarina of the interest groups (that's me) two or three weeks in advance, and I will publicize the meeting on the DDIR's Bulletin Board. You should also contact the Yellow Sheet and maybe the NIH Record to get the word out.

4. If energy and participation at the organizational meeting are high, set a course for your group. Decide who will be the head or contact point. Decide when and where you will meet and how you will communicate with group members. Consider establishing a listserv list. Make arrangements for teleconferencing if there are folks at NIH facilities in North Carolina, Frederick, or Baltimore who are interested in participating. Decide what your group will do at its meetings (journal club? intramural speakers? outside speakers? networking? postdoc posters?) and whether or not you will be affiliated with one of the major faculties (Genetics, Neurobiology, Clinical Research, Molecular Biology, Structural Biology, Cell Biology, or Immunology). Send all this information to the csarina, and I will publish it on the DDIR's BB and in The NIH Catalyst. I'll also add the name of your group's contact person to my listserv of interest group heads and send you my boilerplate letter on interest groups. You may want to discuss creating a web page for your group, proposing a speaker for the Wednesday Afternoon Lectures, or applying for support for an outside speaker at an interest group symposium.

Good luck with your group, and keep in touch.


Can We Talk?

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