CSR’s Stroh Retires With Style
|Anne Stroh of the Center for Scientific Review recently retired after 35 years of federal service.
It was a day for Darjeeling tea and crisp cucumber sandwiches. Anne Stroh’s coworkers at the Center
for Scientific Review hosted a retirement tea to honor her 35 years of federal service. The party mirrored the efficient but gracious manner with which she served others as CSR’s ethics officer.
“My experience with Anne can be described as ‘bittersweet,’” said Dr. Toni Scarpa, CSR director.
“Bitter because of all the things I couldn’t do…sweet for all the trouble she helped me avoid and sweeter still because of her professionalism,
efficiency and class.”
Melanie Keller, CSR executive officer, agreed. “I’ve never known someone to say ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea’ in such an eloquent way,” she said.
The job fit Stroh like a white glove, but she never planned a career in ethics. She earned her B.A. from Barat College in political science. While a student, she started her federal career with a summer job alphabetizing index cards for the Commerce Department. The government had to hire lots of summer students back then. “There were big backlogs,” said Stroh. “They couldn’t hire enough permanent file clerks willing
to stand on their feet all day.”
After college, she took a job as an administrative
assistant at the Bureau of Standards. Working
on personnel documents at the bureau inspired her to take a job in personnel at the Patent Office. The backlogs there also were great, and in one summer Stroh single-handedly
hired 500 clerical workers. She then worked on a more permanent solution to the staffing shortage that also helped people in need. She coordinated efforts to hire the hard-core unemployed,
welfare mothers, the handicapped and even people coming out of jails. “I didn’t have the background for this, but I’d do anything,” said Stroh, who became a part of a government-wide affirmative action program. “There were so many things that people did to help.”
After 6 years at the Patent Office, she left to raise two sons. When her boys got older, she worked part time during the school year as a personnel specialist at NOAA and NHLBI, and then at NIH’s Division of Research Grants. DRG, which is now CSR, asked her to continue working
one summer because there was so much work. Stroh said she “could only work on sunny days” because her boys worked at a golf course and had to be looked after when they weren’t working. Fortunately for DRG, it was a sunny summer and Stroh eventually went full time.
In the late 1980s, each institute and center had to appoint an ethics point person and Stroh was asked to serve. “It was no big deal,” she said. “The forms were simple and I just moved the paper.” It wasn’t long, however, before Stroh had a full-time job, overseeing compliance with new regulations and counseling every scientist hired by CSR.
As the field matured and Stroh grew in experience,
she was asked to weigh in on many key decisions. Her office eventually was moved into the director’s suite. “I never could have dreamed I would be so much a part of a scientific organization,”
said Stroh. But her real satisfaction came from helping staff find their way through government ethics regulations. Her reasoned but compassionate voice was a great comfort to many. Even when proposed changes in ethics regulations unsettled staff, and storms gathered
elsewhere, it was always a sunny day in Stroh’s office.
NIDCR Mourns Former Director Löe
Dr. Harald Löe, 82, former director of NIDR (now NIDCR) died at his home in Osteras, Norway on Aug. 9. He directed NIDR from 1983 until 1994.
“I was saddened to learn of Dr. Löe’s passing,”
said NIDCR director Dr. Lawrence Tabak. “Under his leadership, the institute dramatically
expanded its research agenda. Dr. Löe will be remembered for his enabling vision of dental science and his many contributions to improving oral health in the United States and throughout the world.”
Known internationally for his contributions to periodontal disease research, Löe conducted landmark clinical studies on periodontal disease,
gingivitis and antimicrobials including chlorhexidine. During his tenure as NIDR director,
he broadened the scope of the institute’s research to encompass all the oral and craniofacial
tissues. To support this expanded agenda, the institute promoted the use of centers in which multidisciplinary teams conducted basic and clinical research.
Löe established centers focusing on specific subjects
including aging, materials science, craniofacial
anomalies and pain at which basic and clinical research were supported. He also created regional
centers for minority oral health designed to strengthen the research capability of minority institutions and to support research to improve the oral health of racial and ethnic minorities. The focus on a more diversified research program was also reflected in NIDR’s intramural laboratories and clinics with studies on the cell and molecular
biology of oral infections, including AIDS; bone and joint diseases; and acute and chronic pain.
Löe was committed to building a strong epidemiology
program at NIDR and in 1984 created the Epidemiology
and Oral Disease Prevention Program. To complement the survey research on the epidemiology
of oral diseases and conditions as well as the effort on prevention and oral health promotion,
he created a molecular epidemiology and disease
indicators unit whose scientists conducted basic research on genetic diseases and risk factors.
A staunch advocate of education, Löe established new dental research career programs, including the Dentist Scientist Award Program.
Löe was a native of Norway and received his dental degrees from Oslo University. A Fulbright fellowship
in the 1950s introduced him to American academic
dentistry at the University of Illinois. Over the next two decades he held appointments at universities
in the U.S. and other countries and in 1974 was named dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Connecticut in Farmington, the position he held before arriving at NIDR.
He was a member of many societies and had received awards from numerous international and American professional organizations. He was a past president of the International Association for Dental Research and a member of the Institute of National Academy of Sciences. Among his awards were the U.S. Surgeon General’s Exemplary
Award Medal, the American Dental Association
Gold Medal for Excellence in Dental Research, the Harvard Dental and the Meritorious Presidential Executive Rank Award. In 1989, he was honored by the king of Norway with the Commander,
Royal Norwegian Order of Merit. He also received more than a dozen honorary doctorate degrees from universities in the U.S. and Europe as well as a professorship at the Beijing Medical College,
Faculty of Stomatology.
Löe published hundreds of papers on various aspects of dental disease, some of which are Citation
Classics. He authored the seminal paper “Experimental Gingivitis in Man,” which illustrated the role of dental plaque bacteria in the development
He is survived by his wife, Inga, two children and four grandchildren.
OBSSR’s Mabry Wins with Systems Analysis Team
|Winning team members at the award presentation include (from l) Dr. Patricia Mabry, Dr. Bobby Milstein, Dr. Gary Hirsch, Andrew Jones, Dr. Joyce Essien and Kevin Klein. (Not shown are Jack Homer, Dr. Diane Orenstein and Kristina Wile.)
The CDC-NIH System Dynamics Collaborative for Disease Control and Prevention recently received the inaugural Applied Systems Thinking
Prize awarded by the Applied Systems Thinking Institute (ASysT). The nine-member winning team includes Dr. Patricia Mabry of NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.
The ASysT prize is awarded for a significant accomplishment achieved through application of systems thinking to a problem in national security, energy, environment, health care or education.
Systems thinking is an analytical approach that addresses a system and its associated external context as a whole that cannot be analyzed solely
through reduction of the system to its component
The ASysT award will be given annually. The 2008 prize is $20,000, which the team elected to donate to the CDC Foundation, an independent,
nonprofit organization that forges partnerships
to fight threats to health and society.
Mabry’s team was recognized for designing and coordinating a series of collaborative ventures within CDC and NIH to expand the dynamic dimensions of public health policy analysis. The award acknowledged 11 system-modeling projects
that demonstrate the likely consequences
of enacting alternative policies on diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular health, reproductive health, urban health and national health system
performance. The team was also recognized for its efforts to educate CDC and NIH staff and investigator communities on the utility of systems
“We are seeing a groundswell of interest in [systems science],” said Mabry. “My teammates and I believe that utilizing systems science methodologies will lead to breakthroughs in solving some of the greatest public health challenges
facing our nation today.”
In addition to Mabry, members of the winning team are Dr. Joyce Essien, Dr. Bobby Milstein and Dr. Diane Orenstein, all of CDC; Dr. Jack Homer of Homer Consulting; independent consultant
Dr. Gary Hirsch; Kristina Wile and Drew Jones of Sustainability Institute; and Doc Klein of Uncharted Territories, Inc.—
Team Honored for BSL-3 Lab in Bldg. 29A
|Among those honored for the new BSL-3 lab in Bldg. 29A are (seated, from l) David Shaw, ORF; Jacqulin Glass, ORS; Leila Nikkhoo, FDA; James O’Neil, ORF. In middle row are (from l) Sherry Bohn, ORS; Sam Denny, ORS; Gopi Boray, ORF; Martin McCourt, G. Bailey Co.; Howard Hochman, ORF; Ryan Bayha, ORF; Rafael Torres-Cruz, ORS; Kevin Wimsatt, G. Bailey Co. At rear are (from l) Kenneth Roman, ORF; Brian Temme, Jacobs Engineering Group; David Conrad, G. Bailey Co.
At the 13th annual Food and Drug Administration Office of the Commissioner Honor Awards Ceremony recently, a group composed of FDA and NIH employees
received an award of excellence for their design and construction of an enhanced Biosafety Level 3 research laboratory in Bldg. 29A on campus.
Accepted by FDA project officer Leila Nikkhoo, the award represented a collaborative
effort through an interagency agreement with FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Regulation and the NIH Office of Research Facilities to construct a research laboratory to evaluate, test and prepare regulated products such as potential vaccines for pandemic (avian) influenza, West Nile virus and SARS coronavirus.
The award nomination cites the “major shortage of secure laboratories and animal
facilities in which to perform…science essential for rapid development and deployment of safe and effective blood products.” Prior to the construction of this laboratory, FDA had “no access to the necessary containment facilities…to evaluate these serious infectious agents and biological medical products developed
to protect the nation from them.”
The renovation posed a challenge with space limitations and the need for employees to continue to occupy the building during construction. A team of scientists, engineers, safety specialists, fellows, contracting, financial and administrative specialists provided their technical expertise and innovative solutions to finish the laboratory on budget and on schedule.
The team managed to exceed current BSL-3 standards in the areas of air filtering,
handling and exhaust, housing and care for animals, security and Department
of Agriculture pathogen biosafety when building this specialized containment
Not only will the laboratory help FDA with its research, but it also has long-term benefits for NIH. Once CBER eventually relocates to FDA’s White Oak campus, NIH will be able to utilize the space for programs displaced during a planned renovation of Bldg. 10.
Wilder Named OPASI Division Director
Dr. Elizabeth L. Wilder has been named the first director of the Division of Strategic Coordination in the Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives. She served as division director in an acting capacity for the last year and a half and officially assumed the post in August.
The division provides increased opportunity for trans-NIH dialogue, decision-making and funding for scientific programs that are intended to foster innovation
and catalyze research broadly. It manages the NIH Common Fund and oversees the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.
“I am delighted to have Dr. Wilder in the position of division director,” said NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni. “She will have a significant impact at NIH in her work addressing critical research efforts in intersecting areas of NIH priorities.”
Wilder graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., in 1984, received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1989, and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. In her last position before coming to NIH, she served in the department of cell and developmental biology at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine. She started at NIH in 2002 as a program director at NIDDK.
Wilder has been engaged in trans-NIH initiatives since coming to NIH. Most recently, she served as co-chair of the multiple principal investigator policy implementation
committee and as coordinator for the NIH Roadmap interdisciplinary research working group. In addition to her acting role in the division over the past year, she has provided leadership to OPASI as acting associate director of the office.
New Intern, Fellow Class Debuts
|New interns and fellows from the class of 2010 include (front row, from l) Camilla Benedicto, Emily Rugel, Meghan Gleason, Courtney Bell, Christine Salaita, Monique Ndenecho, Debbie Pettitt, Fred James. At rear are (from l) Dr. William Duval, Katie Rush, Maya Thet, Ebony Mitchell, Jennifer Dreier.
Five individuals have been selected by NIH’s administrative training committee for the Management
Intern Class of 2010: Jennifer Dreier, Fred James, Monique Ndenecho, Debbie Pettitt
and Christine Salaita.
The committee also recruited eight rising leaders from the Presidential
Management Fellows program: Dr. William Duval, Ebony
Mitchell and Emily Rugel will serve at-large; Katie Rush will be dedicated to NIAID; and Courtney Bell, Camilla Benedicto, Meghan Gleason and Maya Thet will join NCI.
The interns represent a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines and will hone their skills through rotational placements, a formal mentoring program and leadership training. They will begin their first rotations this month at institutes and centers across NIH and will pursue additional opportunities in a variety of administrative areas throughout their 2 years of service.
NINR Director Grady Honored by SUNY Downstate Medical Center
|NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady receives an honorary doctor of science degree recently from Dr. John C. LaRosa, president of SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
Dr. Patricia Grady, director
of the National Institute
of Nursing Research, received an honorary doctor of science degree recently from the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical
Center. The degree was presented at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
“You are an illustrious scientist and a leader in the field of nursing research,” said Dr. Daisy Cruz-Richman, dean of SUNY Downstate’s College
of Nursing, as she introduced Grady. “You have played a major role in setting the research agenda for nursing science and expanding the ranks of nurse scientists. You have been instrumental
in developing major initiatives in health promotion and disease prevention, as well as in quality of life, health disparities and care at the end of life. Thanks in large part to your efforts, the current state of nursing research is rich with opportunity. You have noted that research moves the nursing profession forward and represents
a critical investment in the future.”
Noting that Grady was elected to the Institute
of Medicine in 1999, has authored numerous
scientific articles, served on the editorial boards of several research journals and currently
serves as co-chair of the NIH Public Trust Initiative, Cruz-Richman also thanked Grady for “the inspiration you have given to others.”
Delivering the commencement address at the ceremony, Grady said, “When Andrew Carnegie laid the cornerstone of this building in 1890, he said, ‘It is probable that this hall will intertwine itself with the history of our country.’ And it has. Carnegie Hall is one of the world’s most important stages for music, theatre, dance and the exchange of ideas. But today it is a remarkable
venue that intertwines itself with your personal
history, marking the realization of your accomplishments and the beginning of a new chapter in your lives.”
CSR Division Director Sostek Retires
The Center for Scientific Review navigated its fair share of riptides in the 21 years division director
Dr. Anita Miller Sostek worked in peer review. Through it all, she never lost her footing, or lost sight of peer review’s role in paving the way for medical breakthroughs.
Sostek, who retired Aug. 29 after leading the Division
of Clinical and Population-Based Studies for 6 years, played key roles in helping CSR maintain core principles of grant review as NIH’s budget doubled, sparking rapid changes in workloads and review procedures. Her big-picture focus and commitment to creating the best review process amid such changes are part of her legacy.
“She was a rock for CSR during many transitions,” said CSR director Dr. Toni Scarpa. “Her knowledge, diligence and commitment are exceptional. Anita had a big impact on American science and NIH. She was an indefatigable presence who possessed Olympic calm and was seldom without a big smile.”
“The work here is critically important, with a lot riding on it,” said Sostek. “If we did review poorly, vast resources could be misapplied. It is critical [that review] be done properly and that merit drives funding. New reviewers come in and sometimes think that who you know rather than how good the application is will result in favorable review, but then they realize how fair the system is. It’s a fantastic thing to see.”
She came to CSR in 1987 as a scientific review officer and worked her way up the ranks. She made significant contributions to training and cultivating talent among both scientific review officers and integrated review group (IRG) chiefs.
While Sostek was an IRG chief, she helped launch the CSR Review Internship Program,
which provided training opportunities to promising scientists interested in a career in research administration while filling important staffing gaps.
In 1995, she became coordinator of the behavioral and social sciences IRG and later became chief of the broader biobehavioral and behavioral processes IRG.
Sostek’s career path was not one she anticipated. She came to NIH from Georgetown University School of Medicine, where she worked for 13 years, ultimately
as an associate professor of pediatrics. “I thought I’d be at Georgetown for a couple of years, and then at NIH for a couple of years,” she said. “Here we are 34 years of career later. It is amazing to me…and extremely satisfying.”
Sostek earned a bachelor’s degree in English from New York University, a master’s
degree in developmental psychology from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
She will join Autism Speaks, the New York-based advocacy organization, as vice president of scientific review and operations. She will be based in Washington, D.C., and be responsible for overseeing the grants program, which currently processes
more than 1,000 research and training grants annually.