News Release

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NIH hosts 2nd annual Community College Day

The Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) at the National Institutes of Health launched a Community College Program in 2009, to encourage community college students to pursue undergraduate studies in a science and/or health related disciplines. The NIH Community College Program consists of two core components: Community College Day and the Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP).

NIH Community College Day 2010 was held October 1. More than 300 students and faculty participated in a day of seminars, panel discussions, and networking activities. Dr. Sharon Milgram, director of the Office of Intramural Training & Education, began the program by introducing the NIH and describing NIH training opportunities, including CCSEP, and careers.

"Dr. Milgram's presentation was filled with information and support! She reinforced my decision to go into medical research," said a Prince George's Community College pre-med student.

As the program continued, community college students engaged in panel discussions that focused on basic and clinical research, as well as on non-bench careers such as science education and allied health careers at the NIH Clinical Center. Panelists ranged from NIH graduate students to senior scientists. Community college faculty attended simultaneous breakout sessions that focused on educational resources and funding opportunities.

"The diverse career paths of the panelists allowed me to gain insight on how best to prepare for careers and challenges in each field," said a Howard Community College public health major.

Dr. William Gahl, director of the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program, illustrated how NIH investigators use science to improve health. He discussed the use of genomic information to unravel medical mysteries. "The presentation by Dr. Gahl was impressive. It inspired me to learn more about undiagnosed diseases," said a pre-medicine student from Northern Virginia Community College.

"The best parts of the day were the opportunities for the students to see researchers at NIH who share a similar background with them as community college students. Also seeing that biomedical researchers are real, regular people who happen to have a passion for discovery," said a faculty member from Montgomery College.

NIH Community College Day 2011 will take place on October 11 in the Natcher Conference Center.

The OITE is now accepting applications for the 2011 Community College Summer Enrichment Program. For additional information, please visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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