News & Events

Shorttakes

June 2011

A compilation of news from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Published three times a year. Just scan these “shorttakes” for information on what’s happening at the NIAMS, or access the complete articles for viewing or use in your own newsletter or other publication.

From the Director . . .

As many of you know, after four unparalleled decades at the NIH, Dr. Paul Plotz, the chief of the NIAMS Arthritis and Rheumatism Branch, has retired. This is by no means goodbye — he will continue his pursuits as a Scientist Emeritus — but it gives us the opportunity to celebrate his outstanding career. Paul is among the original architects of the NIAMS intramural program and has helped guide and shape it from its early days to what it is today.

Paul has many talents and interests, and if things had worked out differently, he might have pursued opportunities he was afforded in fields as diverse as physics and journalism. But it really could not have been otherwise: Paul is the archetype of the physician-scientist. It is his true vocation.

Paul’s impact on the NIH and the NIAMS has been both deep and broad. As an NIH researcher and clinician since 1965, Paul is not only a luminary in the field of rheumatology, but a good number of the field’s other leading lights consider him a mentor.

I could catalog the long list of achievements Paul has attained, which include many of the major awards in rheumatology, as well as holding the co-chairmanship of the Committee of Concerned Scientists, acting as the NIAMS Deputy Director, and winning the NIH Director’s Award in Mentoring. I suspect, however, he would prefer that I sketch out some of the key themes of his work.

In his earliest NIH research, Paul studied the biology of immune complexes, and, with his fellows, Drs. Bill Seaman and Bob Kimberly, he also described in a groundbreaking study the major hepatic and renal toxicities of aspirin and related prostaglandin synthetase-inhibiting drugs. Later, with Dr. Bruce Scharschmidt, he developed an extracorporeal affinity perfusion system to remove bilirubin and other toxins from the circulation. Since the 1980s, Paul has concentrated on inflammatory muscle disease. At first, myositis served as a model for basic immunologic studies, but he and his colleagues, particularly Dr. Fred Miller, have worked on many related aspects, both basic and clinical. In recent years, Paul and his longtime colleague, Dr. Nina Raben, have directed studies on Pompe syndrome towards the goal of developing enzyme and gene replacement therapy. Myositis and other muscle diseases continue to dominate his interests.

Paul, for the strides you have made in research, for your commitment to human rights, for your love of discussion and inquiry, and for your work as a careful administrator I thank you, on behalf of the hundreds of scientists you have trained and the thousands of patients you have very truly cared for.

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
Director
National Institute of Arthritis and
Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health

Research Watch and Announcements . . .

Scientists have discovered that molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by the energy factories, or mitochondria, in cells, may play a role in a rare inherited disorder, TNF receptor-associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS), in which uncontrolled inflammation damages the body’s tissues.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2011/1_31.asp

High impact physical activity during childhood and early adolescence can lead to long-term improvements in bone mass.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2011/child_exercise_bone.asp

A study on the relationship of arthritis and sleep disturbance, one of the largest to date, found that three types of sleep disturbance were increased among people with arthritis.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2011/sleep_disturbance_arthritis.asp

Scientists identify a gene that could hold the key to muscle repair.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2011/4_15.asp

Scientists have uncovered why combining the bone-building treatment parathyroid hormone (PTH) with alendronate, a drug that slows bone loss, is no better than PTH alone.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2011/combined_osteo_treatment.asp

Researchers gained insights into the immune process involved in lupus, especially the role of an immune system cell called a dendritic cell. The findings could potentially lead to the development of new treatments for the disease.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2011/immune_cell_lupus.asp

A new study shows it may be possible to grow healthy new skin for people with a rare disfiguring skin disease called recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB).

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2011/rdeb_mouse_model.asp

Scientists have uncovered a new role for neutrophils in lupus.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2011/neutrophils_lupus.asp

Cells that line blood vessels are a main source of the excessive bone tissue that defines the rare inherited disease fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP).

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2011/FOP_ossified_tissue.asp

Treatment with the protein biglycan reduces muscle damage in a mouse model of Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2011/biglycan_dbmd.asp

Research that expanded upon the initial success of a gene transfer study for treating limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2D, showed that the expression of the protein alpha-sarcoglycan, which is deficient in people with this form of muscular dystrophy, can be sustained for at least six months.

Full Story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2011/limb_girdle_md.asp

A preliminary study conducted by a team of scientists from the NIAMS and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has identified a promising new treatment for periodic fever associated with aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis and cervical adenitis (PFAPA), the most common periodic fever disease in children.

Full story: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/apr2011/nhgri-11.htm

Losartan, a drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure, shows promise in mouse studies for protecting against muscle loss and rebuilding injured muscle.

Full story: http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/may2011/05162011muscle.htm

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA):

With the help of ARRA funds, researchers found a strong connection between calorie restriction in perinatal mice and impaired bone health.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Recovery/Chronicles/chronicle_perinatal_diet.asp

ARRA funds are helping scientists develop a new genetic database for musculoskeletal disorders.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Recovery/Chronicles/chronicle_genetic_database.asp

ARRA funds boost the research efforts of scientists studying signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms involved in the onset and progression of osteoarthritis.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Recovery/Chronicles/chronicle_osteoarthritis_onset.asp

Grants and Contracts . . .

The following announcements related to the NIAMS appeared in recent issues of the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts. These announcements are made to the research community to express the NIAMS’ interest in funding specific areas of research. For more information on NIAMS grants and contracts, visit the NIAMS website at http://www.niams.nih.gov/Funding/, and the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html.

Requests for Applications

Development and Translation of Medical Technologies to Reduce Health Disparities, (R43/R44), RFA-EB-11-001. Issued: March 11, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: April 20, 2011, August 22, 2011; application receipt dates: May 20, 2011, September 22, 2011; AIDS application receipt dates: September 7, 2011, January 7, 2012.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-EB-11-001.html

Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Centers (P60), RFA-AR-12-001. Issued: March 25, 2011; letters of intent receipt date: May 24, 2011; application receipt date: June 24, 2011.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AR-12-001.html

Requests for Applications (NIH Common Fund):

NIH-HMO Collaboratory Coordinating Center Limited Competition (U54), RFA-RM-11-003. Issued: February 17, 2011; letters of intent receipt date: April 27, 2011; application receipt date: May 27, 2011.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-11-003.html

Program Announcements:

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellowships to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Parent F31 - Diversity), PA-11-112. Issued: February 10, 2011; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-112.html

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Biology and Medicine (R01), PA-11-148. Issued: March 14, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-148.html

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Biology and Medicine (R21), PA-11-149. Issued: March 14, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-149.html

Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Cooperative Research Projects (U01), PAR-11-155. Issued: March 16, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: August 14, 2011 and August 14, 2012; application receipt dates: September 14, 2011 and September 14, 2012.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-11-155.html

NIAMS Clinical Study Implementation Cooperative Agreement (UM1), PAR-11-168. Issued: March 18, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-11-168.html

NIAMS Multi-Center Clinical Study Implementation Planning Grants (U34), PAR-11-169. Issued: March 18, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-11-169.html

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants (Parent T32), PA-11-184. Issued: March 25, 2011; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-184.html

Support of NIAMS Program Project Grants (P01), PAR-11-188. Issued: April 1, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-11-188.html

Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01), PA-11-190. Issued: April 8, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-190.html

Independent Scientist Award (Parent K02), PA-11-191. Issued: April 8, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-191.html

Academic Career Award (Parent K07), PA-11-192. Issued: April 8, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-192.html

Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (Parent K08), PA-11-193. Issued: April 8, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-193.html

Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (Parent K23), PA-11-194. Issued: April 8, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-194.html

Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (Parent K24), PA-11-195. Issued: April 8, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-195.html

Mentored Quantitative Research Development Award (Parent K25), PA-11-196. Issued: April 8, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-196.html

NIH Pathway to Independence Award (Parent K99/R00), PA-11-197. Issued: April 8, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-197.html

NIAMS Clinical Trial Implementation Cooperative Agreement (U01), PAR-11-219. Issued: May 27, 2011; letters of intent receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-11-219.html

Highlights From the Hill, DHHS and NIH . . .

New Congressional Leadership

As a result of the November 2010 elections, the Republicans hold a majority in the House of Representatives, while the Democrats have a reduced majority in the Senate. While the previous edition of Shorttakes (http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Shorttakes/2011/shtke_2_11.asp) included the new leadership of the House Committees and Subcommittees of particular interest to the NIH, the Senate leadership had not been finalized. That leadership is as follows:

  • Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies
    • Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman
    • Richard Shelby (R-AL), Ranking Minority Member
  • Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
    • Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman
    • Michael Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Minority Member

Stem Cell Policy

On August 23, 2010, a U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction stopping federal funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, in response to President Barack Obama’s 2009 Executive Order that lifted the previous Administration’s limitations. However, following the issuance of temporary and administrative stays that blocked the injunction, restrictions were put on hold.

On April 29, 2011, a Federal Appeals Court lifted the preliminary injunction, allowing NIH funding for such research to continue. However, a trial on the merits of the case is still possible, as are further appeals by opponents of hESC.

More information can be found on the NIH Stem Cell Information website:
http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp.

Pending Legislation: Health Care Reform

On January 19, 2011, the House passed, by a vote of 245 to189, H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, which was introduced by Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA). H.R. 2 would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152). P.L. 111-148 established the Cures Acceleration Network and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and designated the former National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities as an Institute, among other provisions of interest to NIH.

Since the House passed H.R. 2, many other bills—including several that focus on debt reduction—that aim to repeal or significantly modify last year’s health care reform legislation have been introduced in both the House and Senate. H.R. 2, however, is the only one that has been discussed or voted on.

Pending Legislation: Regenerative Medicine

On May 12, 2011, Representative Brian Bilbray (R-CA) along with Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced H.R. 1862, the Regenerative Medicine Promotion Act of 2011. The bill would launch a national strategy to: a) support regenerative medicine through funding of research and commercial development of regenerative medicine products; and b) create a regulatory environment that enables rapid approval of safe and effective products. Specifically, the bill would: 1) require a report identifying all ongoing federal programs and activities regarding regenerative medicine to be submitted to the Congress no later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Act; 2) establish a regenerative medicine coordinating council in the Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); 3) authorize the HHS Secretary to make grants for basic and preclinical research only under certain conditions, one of which is that research be partly funded by one or more private entities; 4) authorize the HHS Secretary to make grants for the development of drugs, biological products, medical devices, and biomaterials for use in regenerative medicine; 5) support regenerative medicine research through the Cures Acceleration Network; and 6) encourage the Food and Drug Administration to fund regulatory research with respect to regenerative medicine. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Pending Legislation: Small Business Programs

Congress passed a series of bills that temporarily extended the programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 that authorizes Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs. The current bill, signed into law on June 1, 2011, provides an extension to September 30, 2011.

On May 11, 2011, the House Committee on Small Business marked up and reported out H.R. 1425 as amended, the Creating Jobs Through Small Business Innovation Act of 2011. Among the many provisions, the bill would reauthorize the SBIR/STTR programs for three more years. The bill would maintain the current set-aside requirements, but allow up to 45 percent of the SBIR/STTR monies to fund venture capital backed small businesses.

Several bills concerning SBIR/STTR programs are at various stages of the legislative process. The primary issues of disagreement are the increase of the SBIR set-aside from 2.5 to 3.5 percent of the extramural budget and the increase of the STTR set-aside from 0.3 to 0.6 percent. While most of the proposed legislation would increase the maximum award levels, there is still debate over the level of allowable venture capital involvement. Bills of note include H.R. 1425 and S. 493, both of which have been marked up and reported out of their respective committees.

Pending Legislation: Bone Health

On May 12, 2011, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced S. 966, the Bone Health Promotion and Research Act of 2011. The bill would authorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish a National Bone Health Program and education and outreach activities. The CDC would be required to establish an Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases Advisory Committee that would include NIH representatives. The bill would also amend Title IV of the Public Health Services (PHS) Act to require the NIH to expand and intensify osteoporosis and related bone diseases programs. Finally, the bill would authorize an osteoporosis and related bone diseases surveillance program at the CDC. S. 966 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Pending Legislation: Psoriasis

On May 26, 2011 the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Research, Cure, and Care Act of 2011 was introduced in the Senate (S. 1107) by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and in the House (H.R. 2033) by Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA). The bill would: 1) encourage the NIH to work with stakeholders on convening a multidisciplinary meeting to discuss the future directions of research into psoriasis and its associated health risks; 2) suggest that the organizers of the meeting share with the public, Congress, and relevant policymaker/research groups a report on the findings from this meeting; and 3) encourage the NIH to consider developing a virtual “center of excellence” to share and leverage information on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis across disciplines, and to emphasize integrated psoriatic disease research. The bill would also authorize $1.5 million to be appropriated to the CDC for each fiscal year from 2012 through 2017 for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis data collection. S. 1107 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. H.R. 2033 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Pending Legislation: Scleroderma

On May 2, 2011, Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) introduced H.R. 1672, the Scleroderma Research and Awareness Act. The bill would amend the PHS Act to authorize the Director of the NIH to expand, intensify, and coordinate the agency’s activities with respect to scleroderma. The bill also would authorize the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to carry out a public awareness education campaign. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

This bill is similar to the Scleroderma Research and Awareness Act (S. 649), introduced in the Senate on March 17, 2011, by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). That legislation would: 1) require the Director of the NIAMS to expand, intensify, and coordinate the activities of the Institute regarding scleroderma; 2) require the status of scleroderma research to be included in the NIH Biennial Report; and 3) authorize $25 million to be appropriated in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, $30 million in FY 2013, and $35 million in FY 2014. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be required to carry out a public awareness campaign. S. 649 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

For More Information

For other related legislative highlights including those involving arthritis, autoimmunity, osteoporosis, pain, and psoriasis, please refer to the webpage of the NIH Office of Legislative and Policy Analysis: http://olpa.od.nih.gov/.

Budget Update

FY 2011

On April 15, 2011, following a long series of continuing resolutions, President Obama signed the Department of Defense and Full-year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-10). This legislation provides full-year funding to NIH at $30.917 billion, which represents a one percent decrease below the FY 2010 level. The amount for NIAMS is $534.348 million, which is a reduction of $4.7 million or 0.9 percent below FY 2010. Current and historical budget related data are always available on the NIAMS website. As well, recent updates have been made to the NIAMS funding plan for fiscal year 2011, including the latest policies for reductions to research project grants, and can be found at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Budget/funding_plan_fy2011.asp.

FY 2012

On February 14, President Obama released his FY 2012 budget request to Congress. The amount requested for NIH is $31.979 billion, which represents an increase of 3.4 percent above the FY 2011 enacted level. The amount for NIAMS is $547.891 million, which represents an increase of $13.5 million or 2.5 percent above FY 2011. In addition to budget tables, the FY 2012 Congressional Justification (CJ) document includes narrative sections about the Institute’s programs, and descriptions of how funds under the FY 2012 budget will be allocated. This document can be found on the NIAMS website at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Budget/2012cj_full.asp.

Currently, a date has not been set for a budget hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies. On May 11, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies (Senator Tom Harkin [D-IA], Chairman) held a hearing on the FY 2012 budget. NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., was the primary witness. He was accompanied by Harold Varmus, M.D., Director National Cancer Institute (NCI); Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Griffin P. Rodgers M.D., Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK); and Susan B. Shurin, M.D., Acting Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). There was much discussion about the proposal to establish the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) as well as questions concerning disease-specific research underway at the NIH.

Dr. Collins’ testimony can be found at:
http://www.nih.gov/about/director/budgetrequest/fy2012budgetrequest.pdf

All Directors were invited to submit written statements for the record, and Dr. Katz’s statement can be found at the link below:

http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/budget/2012statement.asp

NIAMS Faces . . .

As mentioned earlier, Paul H. Plotz, M.D., has retired. He has been part of the NIAMS since its origin over 20 years ago and part of the NIH for more than 40 years. He was Chief of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Branch in the NIAMS Intramural Research Program, and has served the Institute in the capacity of Acting Scientific Director and Acting Deputy Director. In addition, he was Senior Advisor to the NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research.

Kudos . . .

The National Osteoporosis Foundation honored Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., NIAMS Director, by presenting him with the "Paul G. Rogers Leadership Award." The award, named after the Foundation’s founding chairman, honors an individual who has made great strides in advancing osteoporosis as a critical public health issue. The award recognized Dr. Katz for his efforts in health research policy and scientific progress for public health.

Congratulations to NIAMS Advisory Council member Harry C. Dietz, M.D., on his election to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). NAS members are elected annually in recognition of their distinguished achievements in original research; election is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer.

Ten members of the NIAMS staff have been selected for special recognition at the annual NIH Director’s Award Ceremony to be held on August 2, 2011. The honorees are: William J. Sharrock, Ph.D., for distinguished leadership in developing opportunities and policies throughout the NIH, and particularly, to promote genetic and genomic projects in arthritis, musculoskeletal, and skin diseases; Janet S. Austin, Ph.D., for exceptional skill and leadership in outreach activities for underserved populations; Susana A. Serrate-Sztein, M.D., Melinda B. Nelson, Andrew C. Jones, James P. Witter, M.D., Ph.D., William P. Tonkins, Ph.D., Natalie C. Reyes, and Sandra Wearins for their outstanding efforts in promoting the use of the NIH Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) tools in clinical research; and Carl C. Baker, M.D., Ph.D., team member of a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-led group designing programs for timely and responsive services following the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill.

The NIAMS’ electronic and print resources received seven commendations on May 17 at this year’s NIH Plain Language Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to: Janet S. Austin, Ph.D., Susan A. Bettendorf, Jonelle K. Drugan, Ph.D., M.P.H., Anita M. Linde, M.P.P., Wilma A. Peterman-Cross, M.S., Trish L. Reynolds, R.N., M.S., Karin L. Rudolph, M.A., Allisen B. Stewart, M.A., Julie L. Townshend, M.B.A., and Sara R. Wilson for their achievements.

The NIAMS public website is a top performer, rated 11th of the top 30 federally ranked websites. A recent report from ForeSee Results on the E-Government Satisfaction Index, one of the most comprehensive and representative re¬flections of citizens’ experience with government websites, ranked the NIAMS website ahead of all other NIH sites, except for the National Library of Medicine’s Medline and Medline Plus.

NIAMS Communications Update. . .

Multicultural Outreach

After ten years of serving patients in Unity Health Care’s Upper Cardozo Health Center in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of northwest Washington, D.C., the NIAMS Community Health Center (CHC) has moved to a new location in Silver Spring, Maryland. The move was precipitated by the end of the lease due to building renovations. The new CHC is located in the McCarrick Center of the Spanish Catholic Center of Catholic Charities in Silver Spring, Maryland. It is accessible by public transportation, and free parking is available. There is no change in patient care at the new CHC; it will continue to operate three days a week and, as part of the NIAMS Natural History of Rheumatic Diseases in Minority Communities study, allow patients to access the NIH campus for services not available at the CHC.

Public Information

The NIAMS Intramural Research Program (IRP) has launched the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Labs Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/NIAMS.Labs. The IRP will use this form of social media to reach current and prospective researchers by posting information about ongoing research, symposia, publications, etc. The Facebook page will also link to news and other content on the NIAMS website.

Media Highlights

Vittorio Sartorelli, M.D., of the NIAMS Laboratory of Muscle Stem Cells and Gene Regulation, was recently featured in the NIH Radio segment "NIH scientist identifies gene that could hold the key to muscle repair." The program, which aired on Tuesday May 10, 2011, can be accessed at http://www.nih.gov/news/radio/radio.htm.

The work of NIAMS Acting Clinical Director, Richard M. Siegel, M.D., Ph.D., was reported in a story in Drug Discovery News (http://www.drugdiscoverynews.com/index.php?newsarticle=4659). The article highlighted Dr. Siegel’s work related to the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in TNF receptor-associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS).

Mark F. Gourley, M.D., Director of Clinical Care and Training at the NIAMS, was interviewed for a story on Raynaud’s syndrome (http://articles.philly.com/2011-02-16/news/28538675_1_cold-comfort-cold-hands-budget-proposal) in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Dr. Gourley also recently appeared in a lupus segment for the blog talk radio show "Online With Andrea." http://www.blogtalkradio.com/onlinewithandrea/2011/03/15/what-is-lupus

Update on Equal Employment Opportunity . . .

Approximately 18 students from culturally- and geographically-diverse backgrounds have been selected to participate in the 2011 NIAMS Summer Internship Program. The summer internship program provides a unique opportunity for talented students to come to the NIAMS for training and mentoring. This program is designed to encourage students to work in the field of biomedical research and, in particular, in the disease areas that NIAMS supports.

This summer, the NIAMS is hosting an intern from the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), a national recruitment and referral program coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense. The WRP connects employers with highly motivated post-secondary students with disabilities who are eager to gain experience in the workplace through summer employment. The intern will be working with the Pediatric Translational Research Branch in the Office of the Clinical Director.

On April 8, the NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch (CDOB) participated in the annual Wheaton High School Biosciences Academy Career Fair in Wheaton, Maryland. This personal connection inspires the students to stay focused on their studies while encouraging them to pursue internships and summer programs in health science by introducing them to biomedical science careers. On March 11, CDOB staff participated in a certification visit for "Project Lead the Way Biomedical Sciences," at Wheaton High School. The visit gave the NIAMS, along with other Wheaton High School partners, an opportunity to showcase to the Montgomery County School Board how these partnerships contribute to the scientific educational enrichment of the students.

As part of the NIAMS partnership with the SEED School of Washington, DC, the NIAMS IRP is hosting a student for a 2011 summer internship. In addition, CDOB staff members are working on a mechanism to offer science training (research-based internship activities) to teachers from the SEED School.

NIAMS staff members are planning for this summer’s annual NIH National Minority Youth Initiative in Biomedical Research. The Native American, African American, and Hispanic students who will be coming to NIH will partake in a program focused on health and career information. One of the many activities will be a tour of NIAMS’ laboratories.

Mario E. Cerritelli, Ph.D., Chief of the CDOB, continues to provide leadership to the NIH Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP), now in its second year. The goal of CCSEP is to increase the number of community college students who transfer to four-year colleges and universities and consider careers in the biomedical or health care fields. This summer, the NIAMS IRP will host two students from CCSEP.

The NIAMS continues its leadership role in the NIH Warrior Transition Program, working with service members on training plans and placements at the NIH. In April, CDOB staff members participated in two career fairs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. The Warrior Transition Program is designed to provide wounded service members the opportunity to transition back into the civilian workforce through a part-time training program prior to seeking full-time permanent employment.

Upcoming Events . . .

Look for the NIAMS exhibit at the following events between now and the September 2011 issue:

  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, June 22-26, 2011
  • Association of Women’s Health Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, June 25-29, 2011
  • National Association of School Nurses Annual Conference, Washington, DC, June 29-July 3, 2011
  • Arthritis Foundation National Juvenile Arthritis Conference, Crystal City, VA, July 7-10, 2011
  • American Academy of Family Physicians Annual Conference, Orlando, FL, September 14-17, 2011
  • American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, September 16-20, 2011

Publications . . .

New Publications

New easy-to-read fact sheet (English):
What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

New easy-to-read fact sheet (Spanish):
¿Qué es la espondilitis anquilosante? (What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis?)

New Chinese audio versions of easy-to-read fact sheets:
What Is Acne?
What Is Back Pain?
What Are Knee Problems?
What Is Osteoarthritis?
What Are Sprains and Strains?
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

For information on arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, including copies of NIAMS publications:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Information Clearinghouse
National Institutes of Health

1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
Phone: 301-495-4484
Toll free: 877-22-NIAMS (877-226-4267)
TTY: 301-565-2966
Fax: 301-718-6366
Email: NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.niams.nih.gov

If you need more information about available resources in your language or another language, please visit our website or contact the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov.

For information on osteoporosis and other bone diseases, contact:

NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center

2 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3676
Phone: 202-223-0344
Toll free: 800-624-BONE (2663)
TTY: 202-466-4315
Fax: 202-293-2356
Email: NIHBoneInfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.bones.nih.gov

If you need more information about available resources in your language or another language, please visit our website or contact the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov.

For general information on NIAMS and its research programs, contact:

Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
National Institutes of Health

Building 31/Room 4C02
31 Center Drive, MSC 2350,
Bethesda, MD 20892-2350
Phone: 301-496-8190
TTY: 301-565-2966
Fax: 301-480-2814
Email: niamsinfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.niams.nih.gov/

If you need more information about available resources in your language or another language, please visit our website or contact the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse at NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov.

Compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, NIAMS; phone: (301) 496-8190; e-mail: NIAMSInfo@mail.nih.gov