Freedom of Information Act Office
IC Directors' Meeting Highlights
February 17, 200
|From:||Director, Executive Secretariat|
|Subject:||IC Directors Meeting Highlights—November 10, 2005|
I. NIH Communications
Mr. Burklow noted that NIH communication objectives should seek to increase —
- understanding of the relevance of medical research in improving people’s health,
- understanding of NIH’s role in supporting and conducting medical research, and
- public awareness that NIH is a trusted, credible source of health and medical information.
Noting that it is critical that NIH take advantage of media opportunities to communicate in a clear, consistent, and coordinated way, he urged the group to be proactive in outreach efforts to NIH’s various audiences, which range from the public to scientists to voluntary organizations to businesses and to Congress. And he stressed that medical breakthroughs and news should be linked with NIH at large as well as the IC conducting or supporting the underlying research. He cited several examples of successful NIH IC media campaigns and said the OCPL is gathering examples of best practices to share trans-NIH.
Dr. Zerhouni emphasized that great institutions are ones able to create positive connections that link locally and regionally as well as nationally. He asked for the IC Directors' personal interest and personal availability in this institutional effort and urged that ICs further develop and refine individual, coordinated communications plans.
II. Public Trust in Science Initiative (PTI) Update
Dr. Grady and Dr. Maddox, Co-Chairs of this Initiative, brought the group up to date on its efforts and accomplishments since Dr. Zerhouni announced its creation on March 31, 2004. Dr. Grady noted that the purpose of the update was to clarify where we are, present some models of successful activities, and delineate and discuss next steps.
The NIH PTI mission is to enable the public to understand and to have full confidence in the research that NIH conducts and supports nationally and internationally. A steering committee composed of a broad cross-section of NIH staff as well as a COPR member is in place, as is a liaison group comprising members from ICs and OD Offices. An inventory of current NIH activities has captured a tremendous amount of information that is being categorized by types of activities and reviewed for the types of audiences targeted. Also, programs that might be exportable to other entities including the extramural community, clinical research participants, and the general public will be identified.
Dr. Maddox summarized a PTI outreach effort to the Native American and Alaskan Native Health Community at a health fair in Anchorage and through visits to several villages. This was a trans-NIH effort by a delegation of NIH staff representing nearly half of the ICs. She then discussed a number of recommended next steps that have been identified by the Public Trust steering committee for implementation. Recommendations included the following:
- conduct smaller scale outreach efforts modeled after parts of the Alaska trip,
- create a set of slides for all to use when ”on the road,”
- publicize the effort in articles for NIH publications, and
- use http://publictrust.nih.gov to showcase activities.
Dr. Zerhouni commended the group and its leadership for their ongoing efforts and asked to be kept informed of progress and new efforts.
III. Targeting Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease
Dr. Nabel began by summarizing the history of the Framingham Heart Study, a landmark epidemiological study that began in 1948 under the U.S. Public Health Service and came under the auspices of the National Heart Institute (now NHLBI) in 1949. After noting several early milestones of the study, including the 1961 publication by W. Kannel et al. of “Factors of Risk for Development of Coronary Heart Disease” in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Dr. Nabel highlighted a 1996 editorial in Science by Michael S. Brown and Joseph. L. Goldstein that challenged researchers “to detect coronary atherosclerosis at its earliest stages.”
She initially focused on a series of studies on inflammation beginning with Tillett and Francis’s seminal 1930 paper that first described “fraction C” (albeit incorrectly as a non-protein material) up through Paul Ridker’s 2002 NEJM article concluding that—
- C-reactive protein (CRP) is a strong predictor of CV risk.
- Statin therapy to lower CRP may be effective in early prevention of coronary events.
- CRP may be a useful biomarker in clinical trials.
- CRP recommendations should be considered in treatment guidelines.
Note: Dr. Ridker recently presented the NIH 2005 Astute Clinician Lecture. See http://www.nih.gov/nihrecord/2005/10212005Record.pdf.
After citing Chris Kramer’s work in cardiac MRI at UVA, Dr. Nabel next addressed recent genetic findings related to —
- hypertropic cardiomyopathy, the most common heritable cardiac disorder, and how such research may ultimately lead to earlier interventions when the basic knowledge is translated to clinical practice; and
- finding safe and effective stabilization and maintenance doses of Warfarin, indicated for the prevention of thromboembolism in atrial fibrillation, valvular heart disease, recurrent MI, stroke, and VDT.
She concluded by pointing to several NHLBI initiatives, including a genome-wide association of the Framingham and Jackson Heart Studies (with resultant database to be available to IRBs); heritable CVD; gene-directed clinical trials (Warfarin); and incorporation of inflammation biomarkers into clinical intervention trials and treatment guidelines.
Dr. Zerhouni announced that Mr. Graeff was ending his tenure as the Director of the CIT and would be joining the NLM as a senior scientist. Dr. Zerhouni thanked Mr. Graeff for his many contributions as CIT Director and for sharing his IT expertise and creativity throughout the NIH.
cc: OD Senior Staff