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NIH Record  
Vol. LX, No. 4
February 22, 2008
NCCAM Welcomes Briggs as New Director
NLM Marks African-American History Month
CC’s Nice Gets President’s Award for Humanitarian Work
Mass General’s Woolf To Inaugurate NIDCR Seminar Series
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Results Support, Surprise and Stump
Survey of NIH Postdocs in Pursuit of Tenure Provides Answers, More Questions

When it comes to child-rearing and family, many women have to—or choose to—sacrifice their science careers, and for the most part, men don’t. That may explain at least in part why women comprise less than 20 percent of NIH’s intramural senior investigators, but make up about 45 percent of NIH’s postdoctoral population. Some time between completing their postdoc training and starting on the tenure track, more women than men stop pursuing their independent scientist careers. NIH—and the entire scientific community—want to know why. Last summer, the agency finished the first of 4 surveys designed to provide answers. Results alternately supported, surprised and stumped theorists.

“The confidence issue is the thing that surprised us the most,” said Dr. Joan Schwartz, assistant director of NIH’s Office of Intramural Research, which cofunded the study with the Office of Science Policy and the Office of Research on Women’s Health. “Our women postdocs feel so much less confident than the men.”

NIH Makes Plans to Cope with Changes BRAC Will Bring

For more than a year, NIH has been considering ways of coping with the increased volume of local traffic and other impacts projected to occur as the National Naval Medical Center expands—due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) legislation—to become Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

In January 2007, Dan Wheeland, director of NIH’s Office of Research Facilities Development and Operations, provided NIH input to a scoping study that initiated the Navy’s EIS (environmental impact statement) preparation effort. He recently gave a presentation to NIH’s facilities working group that concluded: NIH employees and patients will be adversely affected by the BRAC move; NIH’s ability to attract and retain a high-quality workforce will be diminished; and NIH needs to take external and internal measures to mitigate the impact of BRAC, both short- and long-term.