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he National Foundation for Biomedical Research, also known as the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, is living up to the promise for which it was designed by Congress.

In the past year, the Foundation has started to become a magnet for donations from private-sector entities with an inherent interest in biomedical research, as well as from individual scientists who cherish NIH.

  • Contributions approaching $2 million have been made to the Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP), the Foundation's first major initiative in collaboration with NIH, which aims to expose medical and dental students to the rigors and rewards of a career in clinical research. The CRTP is accommodating nearly twice as many students in its second academic year (1998­1999) as it did the first time around, thanks to grants of $572,000 from Pfizer, Inc., to support 16 fellows, and $35,000 from the Ruch family foundation in New York, in honor of Foundation Board member Mrs.William McCormick Blair, Jr., to sponsor one student. The Pfizer gift extends over two subsequent years for a total commitment of $1.6 million.

  • The Foundation has received two grants from the pharmaceutical industry in support of the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics—$25,000 from Novartis and $10,000 from Pharma. The Coalition includes more than 100 professional organizations, government agencies, and consumer groups intent on ensuring that health professionals systematically keep pace with advances in human genetics. NHGRI, the American Medical Association, and the American Nurses Association are among the coalition's members. NHGRI director Francis Collins is a coalition co-chair. Moreover, the Merck Company Foundation has given a grant of 25,000 to support the foundation's operations, a critical need as it grows.

  • The family of virologist Norman P. Salzman has established the Foundation's first endowed memorial fund—the Norman P. Salzman Memorial Award in Virology, which will be awarded on a regular basis to an outstanding young postdoctoral investigator in virology at NIH. Salzman's research career spanned 40 years, many of them spent at NIH's Bethesda and Frederick campuses. The Salzman family has donated $15,000 to start the fund, and Salzman's colleagues and friends have contributed another $15,000, for a total of $30,000 thus far. Details about the award and the nominations process will be forthcoming; the first award will be made in 1999.

For further information regarding the Salzman award, the CRTP, or making a donation to the Foundation, contact Anne Alexander, executive director, Building 60, Room 152, 1 Cloister Court, Bethesda, MD 20814; 301-402-5311.


More Slide Tips

Make multiple copies of a slide if it is to be used more than once in a presentation. Avoid flipping back and forth during your talk. When at all possible, find out the size of the room you're talking in and preview your slides in a similarly sized room. Stand in the back and look at your own slides. Always mark your slides so you can easily place them in a cassette. As you hold the slide up to light to see it, make sure you can read it with your naked eye. Then mark the lower left corner. When filling the cassette, the mark is in the upper right corner.

Barbara Vonderhaar, NCI

On Teamwork

I'd like to endorse, with enthusiasm, Michael Gottesman's emphasis on the role of group dynamics in optimizing today's biomedical research environment ("Fostering Collaboration and Teamwork at NIH," Catalyst, July­August 1998, p. 2).

Not only is the creative exchange among multidisciplinary teams of strategic importance in conquering diseases, those teams are expanding beyond the usual government-academia research collaborations to include corporate partners, as "inventions" are viewed more as an integral part than a byproduct of biomedical research. Indeed, public demands for practical applications are often tied to funding authorizations. Along with the advice that younger scientists working with more senior investigators "work cooperatively but carve a distinctive niche within the team," I would add that they acknowledge the creative integrity of the contributions of their colleagues as well as their own and readily credit the works of others—whether they are collaborators or not—that served as sparks to their own creativity.

One hopes that young investigators are introduced early in their NIH experience to mentors who pay attention to group dynamics and foster teamwork in achieving research goals—not to mention strict adherence to ethical principles. The value of the process and the people involved cannot be overstated.

Wanda Darwin, OD/OHRM

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