T H E   N I H    C A T A L Y S T     J U L Y  –  A U G U S T  1997


Below are comments we received in response to questions posed or issues raised in recent issues.


On Quality Issues

I am just reading the March–April Catalyst and saw the letters on telecommuting. I hope that NIH employees know that telecommuting or flexiplace arrangements are in place in some pockets of NIH. Some are formal programs where the employee works a regular schedule of days from home. Others are more ad hoc, where an employee might need to work at home for a particular day for whatever reason, such as the need for "quiet" without office disruptions or the need to care for a sick child. The NIH Quality of Work Life initiative calls for expansion of this program along with alternative work schedules and other flexible arrangements, where the work can be accommodated in that manner. I hope managers and their employees will work together to implement these programs and perhaps ease some of the parking problems on campus, as well as assist employees in balancing home and work demands as necessary.

Marvene Horwitz
Chair, Quality of Work Life Committee

On Daycare

I saw the daycare suggestions in the Catalyst. I am a mother of two, ages 5 and 7, and married to an NIH scientist. We have used Mother’s Aides in Virginia and, with the exception of one experience (which was more of a personality problem than a performance problem), they have been great. They are expensive but have found us sitters on as little as four hours notice.

—V. Hampshire, NCRR

On Cloning Ethics

I am surprised that no one in your May-June issue who discussed the perceptions of cloning by religious leaders made this observation—not Boston College theologian Lisa Cahill, not Protestant theologian Gilbert Meilaender, and not Elliot Dorff of the University of Judaism.

Nevertheless, this cannot go unsaid.

Before we decry the fact that the contribution of a male parent is an "essential reality," let us remember that [it is a central tenet of Christianity that] Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary.

Sharon Ricks, NIDDK

Parking Problems?

Click onto this site to locate about 400 temporary employee parking spaces—and read about plans to create 1,200 paid visitor spaces and other parking news.

Reweaving the Web

Did you miss DCRT’s Web Information Day, or just didn’t make it to a particular talk?

The presentations and handouts from the meeting are available online under "Seminar Descriptions."

Interest Group Gazette

The Lymphoma and Leukemia Interest Group (LLIG) was "reinvented" this past May and has expanded its mission to stimulate exchange of ideas, information, and reagents among lymphoma/leukemia investigators within the NIH community. The group will host seminars featuring leading extramural speakers. (See the Interest Group Directory.)

The new Bioethics Interest Group held an organizational meeting in June.

Examples of members’ wide-ranging interests are the participation in research of children, cognitively impaired and demented people, and other defined groups; reproduction issues; genetics research (stored samples, genetics of behavior, discrimination regarding health and life insurance and other uses of genetic information, consent, testing and screening for single-gene disease, genetic diversity); IRB issues; privacy and confidentiality; and consent issues, including advance directives for research.

The group is defining the scope of its interests and activities and welcomes new members. (See the Interest Group Directory.)


PRAT Sponsor Preapproval Dropped

Prospective sponsors of PRAT (Pharmacology Research Associate) postdoctoral fellows no longer need to apply beforehand for inclusion on the list of accepted mentors, although their credentials will continue to be examined as part of the fellows’ application process. Additionally, tenure-track scientists are now considered qualified to sponsor applicants for the PRAT fellowship.

Accordingly, the PRAT program will no longer produce a brochure listing all of the preapproved PRAT preceptors and their research interests. Instead, interested applicants can find a listing of all the research laboratories at NIH, along with recent journal citations, at the NIH Office of Education web page under "NIH Research Labs and Projects."

These changes are meant to simplify the process for participation in the PRAT Program. Current PRAT fact sheets describing the program for the upcoming recruiting year are available from the PRAT office (telephone 594-3583, fax 480-2802, or e-mail).

The deadline for applications for fellowships beginning in the fall of 1998 is Jan. 2, 1998.






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