News & Events

Shorttakes

February 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 NIAMS, or access the complete articles for viewing or use in your own newsletter or other publication.

From the Director . . .

Twenty-five years ago, a few months after Congress passed the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-158), the National Institutes of Health formally established the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Over the past two-and-a-half decades, this increased emphasis on research on arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin disorders has benefited countless Americans, as these diseases and conditions affect nearly every household in our Nation.

We are proud of the scientific advances that our extramural and intramural researchers have made toward helping people who have diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin, and are excitedly looking forward to the discoveries they will make in the future. This year, we will be highlighting the progress and promise of our efforts through a series of events around the theme, "Improving Lives through Discovery."

Our first event will be a February teleconference with NIAMS Coalition members—a group of professional and voluntary organizations concerned with the programs of the NIAMS. The Coalition plays an essential role in delivering the latest information about NIAMS-related research findings to patients, health care providers, and the American public, and we are grateful to collaborate with them on the event.

On Monday, June 13, 2011, researchers, health care providers, and patients from across the United States will come to the NIH campus for the NIAMS’ 25th Anniversary Scientific Symposium. The day-long event will feature scientific advances made possible with NIAMS support, highlight how these advances have improved patients’ lives, and address future directions for NIAMS research.

We hope you can join us as we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the NIAMS, and encourage you to visit the NIAMS website, www.niams.nih.gov, for information about these and related events in which you may be interested.

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 . . .

Researchers have discovered how the HIV virus causes bone loss in rats by altering the balance of key proteins that affect the bone renewal process.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2010/Bcell_protein_HIV.asp

Scientists have found that restoring the normal blood concentration of an anti-mineralization protein in a mouse model of the skin disease pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) reduces the abnormal deposit of minerals that characterizes the condition.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2010/mouse_skin_disease.asp

Scientists have identified and described, for the first time, a cell-signaling pathway in mice that directs adult muscle stem cells to repair damaged muscle tissue. Their findings could advance research into therapeutic targets for muscle atrophy like that seen in the muscular dystrophies and advanced aging.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2010/10_14.asp

Researchers discovered a new pathway for the development of Th17 cells, a type of helper T cell involved in autoimmunity, and revealed two kinds of Th17 cells with distinct functions. The research points to potential new targets for treating autoimmune diseases.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2010/10_20.asp

Three grants totaling more than $4.5 million, from agencies of the National Institutes of Health, will be used to explore novel treatment strategies for muscular dystrophy.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/2010/09_29.asp

Scientists have learned that the cell-signaling protein, Cdc42, influences both the number and activity of bone-breakdown cells called osteoclasts. Their study in mice demonstrated that deactivating Cdc42 in osteoclasts increases bone mass, making it a potential therapeutic target for osteoporosis researchers.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2011/Cdc42_Protein.asp

A study has found that two separate genetic arrangements – both on chromosome 4 – are needed to start the disease process in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy.

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

Researchers have identified a new genetic link to systemic sclerosis (also known as systemic scleroderma) and confirmed three previously discovered links to the disease, which can cause thickening of the skin, narrowing of blood vessels, and scarring of internal organs.

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

Scientists supported by the NIAMS and the National Cancer Institute have identified genetic variations associated with the development of alopecia areata, a disease in which the body's immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing patchy, widespread or total hair loss.

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

Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), administered through the NIAMS, are being used to better understand bone marrow fat’s (BMF) possible role as a cause or consequence of osteoporosis.

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

ARRA funding has helped launch a project to develop tests for early diagnosis of RA—a factor that has been linked to a better disease outcome—and identify RA patients who would benefit most from anti-TNF drugs. William Robinson, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University’s School of Medicine and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, leads the research team.

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

An ARRA grant is helping Lubov Timchenko, Ph.D., of Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine, to better understand the mechanisms of myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). Dr. Timchenko’s research focuses on the mechanisms that misregulate the activity of a protein called CUGBP1 in muscles affected by DM1.

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

An ARRA grant strengthened the osteoporosis imaging program of Thomas Link, M.D., allowing him and his team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, to better understand why individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus have fragility fractures.

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

ARRA support for research on osteoporosis at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis helped Steven Teitelbaum, M.D., and colleagues discover new and potentially important targets for drug therapy to reduce or prevent bone loss.

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

Edward A. Botchwey, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Biomedical Engineering, at the University of Virginia, has been selected by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to be among 18 NIH grantees and two intramural scientists to receive the 2009 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). His research is supported by a grant from the NIAMS.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Announcements/2011/PECASE.asp

The NIAMS supports a broad portfolio of projects related to rheumatic diseases in children. A summary of highlights of current NIAMS pediatric rheumatology research is available on the NIAMS website.

Full story: http://www.niams.nih.gov/News_and_Events/Spotlight_on_Research/2010/pediatric_research.asp

NIH’s Common Fund website was launched in January 2010. The Common Fund has been used to support a series of short term, exceptionally high impact, trans-NIH programs known collectively as the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. As the Common Fund grows, and research opportunities and needs emerge in the scientific community, the portfolio of programs supported by the Common Fund will likely evolve to encompass a diverse set of trans-NIH programs, although the NIH Roadmap is likely to remain a central component.

See: http://commonfund.nih.gov

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 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

Deepwater Horizon Disaster Research Consortia: Health Impacts and Community Resiliency (U19), RFA-ES-11-006. Issued: October 29, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: December 21, 2010; application receipt date: January 21, 2011.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-ES-11-006.html

NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet) Short-term Mentored Career Development Awards in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences for Mid-career and Senior Investigators (K18), RFA-DE-11-003. Issued: November 24, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt date: January 24, 2011.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DE-11-003.html

Requests for Applications (NIH Common Fund):

NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards (DP5), RFA-RM-10-019. Issued: October 6, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: December 21, 2010; application receipt date: January 21, 2011.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-10-019.html

Integrating Comparative Effectiveness Research Findings into Care Delivery through Economic Incentives (R21), RFA-RM-11-001. Issued: November 12, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: December 18, 2010; application receipt date: January 18, 2011.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-11-001.html

The Market for Long-Term Care Insurance (R01), RFA-RM-11-002. Issued: November 12, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: December 18, 2010; application receipt date: January 18, 2011.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-11-002.html

Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Award (U54), RFA-RM-10-020. Issued: November 16, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: May 11, 2011; application receipt dates: June 11, 2011 for renewal applications and October 3, 2011 for new applications.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-10-020.html

Production of Affinity Reagents for Human Transcription Factors (U54), RFA-RM-10-017. Issued: December 3, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: January 4, 2011; application receipt date: February 4, 2011.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-10-017.html

Technology Development for New Affinity Reagents Against the Human Proteome (U54), RFA-RM-10-018. Issued: December 3, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: January 4, 2011; application receipt date: February 4, 2011.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-10-018.html

Program Announcements:

Chronic Illness Self-Management in Children and Adolescents (R01), PA-11-070. Issued: December 9, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-070.html

Chronic Illness Self-Management in Children and Adolescents (R21), PA-11-072. Issued: December 9, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-072.html

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows (F32), PA-11-075. Issued: December 10, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-075.html

Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award in Muscular Dystrophy Research (K23), PA-11-076. Issued: December 13, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-076.html

Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award in Muscular Dystrophy Research (K08), PA-11-077. Issued: December 13, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-077.html

NIH Pathway to Independence Award in Muscular Dystrophy Research (K99/R00), PA-11-078. Issued: December 13, 2010; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-078.html

PHS 2011-02 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH, CDC, FDA and ACF for Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications (Parent SBIR R43/R44), PA-11-096. Issued: January 24, 2011; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt dates: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-096.html

PHS 2011-02 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH for Small Business Technology Transfer Grant Applications (Parent STTR R41/R42), PA-11-097. Issued: January 24, 2011; letters of intent receipt date: not applicable; application receipt date: multiple dates, see announcement.
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-11-097.html

Highlights From the Hill, DHHS and NIH . . .

New Congressional Leadership

As a result of the November 2010 elections, the Republicans now hold a majority in the House of Representatives, while the Democrats have a reduced majority in the Senate. The leadership of the House Committees and Subcommittees of particular interest to the NIH are as follows:

  • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies
    • Dennis Rehberg (R-MT), Chairman
    • Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ranking Minority Member
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health
    • Joe Pitts (R-PA), Chairman
    • Frank Palone (D-NJ), Ranking Minority Member

As of January 31, 2011, the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) had not been finalized.

Recently Enacted Legislation

Clinical Trials

On October 5, 2010, President Barack Obama signed S. 1674, the Improving Access to Clinical Trials Act of 2009. The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent on August 5, 2010. S. 1674 amends the Social Security Act to exclude from income, in determining an individual’s eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, the first $2,000 received annually by an individual or their spouse for participating in a Federally-supported clinical trial for treatments of rare diseases or conditions. The income exclusion will sunset five years after enactment.

Food Safety

On January 4, 2011, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 2751, the Food Safety and Modernization Act. Provisions amend the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to expand the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to order food recalls, inspect food facility records, and increase regulation of imported foods (P.L. 111-353).

Pending Legislation

Health Care Reform

On January 19, 2011, the House passed H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, by a vote of 245-189. 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), which established the Cures Acceleration Network, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and designated the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) as an Institute, among other provisions of interest to NIH. A companion bill has not been introduced in the Senate.

Small Business Programs

Congress passed a series of bills that temporarily extended programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 that authorize Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs. The current bill, signed into law on January 31, 2011, provides an extension to May 31, 2011.

Several bills from the previous Congress involved SBIR/STTR programs. 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.

Legislation from the Previous Congress

Arthritis

On September 29, 2010, the House passed by voice vote H.R. 1210, the Arthritis Prevention, Control, and Cure Act. The bill would amend the Public Health Service (PHS) Act to authorize the Secretary of HHS, in coordination with the Director of NIH, to expand and intensify research and related activities designed to improve the outcomes and quality of life for children with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. The previous Congress ended without further action on this bill.

Scleroderma

On September 29, 2010, the House passed by voice vote H.R. 2408, the Scleroderma Research and Awareness Act. The bill would amend the PHS Act to authorize the Director of NIH to expand, intensify, and coordinate NIH activities with respect to scleroderma. The previous Congress ended without further action on this bill.

Regenerative Medicine

On September 22, 2010, Representatives Michael Castle (R-DE) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced H.R. 6173, the Regenerative Medicine Promotion Act of 2010. The bill would require the Secretary of HHS to submit a report to Congress identifying all ongoing Federal programs and activities regarding regenerative medicine; establish a regenerative medicine coordinating council; provide for grants for basic and preclinical research into regenerative medicine; provide for grants for development of drugs, biological products, medical devices, and biomaterials for use in regenerative medicine; and allow for the support of regenerative medicine through the Cures Acceleration Network. H.R. 6173 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The previous Congress ended without further action on this bill.

Stem Cell Research 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 block the injunction, restrictions were put on hold, pending a ruling by the court.

On December 17, 2010, the NIH accepted the recommendations of the Advisory Committee to the Director, NIH, and approved four additional hESC lines for listing in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry, bringing the total number of hESC lines eligible for use by NIH-funded researchers to 86.

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

Congressional Interactions

NIAMS Awareness Day

On October 27, 2010, at the request of the NIAMS Coalition, nine congressional staff members from eight House and Senate offices toured NIAMS laboratories. They met with Institute leadership including Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Robert H. Carter, M.D., John J. O’Shea, M.D., and Juan Rivera, M.Sc., Ph.D. While visiting the laboratories of Vittorio Sartorelli, M.D., Evelyn Ralston, Ph.D., Raphaela T. Goldbach-Mansky, M.D., M.H.S., and Massimo G. Gadina, Ph.D., the staffers learned about technologies and translational research that may lead to treatments for individuals affected with diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin.

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 2010

In FY 2010, the NIAMS funded 301 new and competing continuation applications for a success rate of 21.4 percent—a figure slightly higher than last year’s rate of 19.9 percent. The overall NIH success rate is estimated to be 20.6 percent. Additional details about the distribution of the FY 2010 appropriation are provided on the NIAMS website at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/Budget/10_budget_detail.asp.

FY 2011

On December 22, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (Public Law 111-322, HR 3082), which funds most of the government until March 4, 2011. For NIH, the Continuing Resolution (CR) provides funding at the same rate as the 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act. This bill provides funding to NIH at the annualized rate of $31 billion. The funding level for the NIAMS under the CR is $539 million, which is essentially level with the FY 2010 budget.

An interim funding plan has been developed for operations under the CR and is available on the NIAMS website at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/About_Us/budget/funding_plan_fy2011.asp. Specific funding policies for FY 2011 will not be known until an appropriations bill is passed. In the meantime, support for new investigators remains an important NIH priority. The goal for 2011 will be to continue to strive for comparable success rates between new and established type 1 R01 investigators, with a majority being Early Stage Investigators (ESIs).

FY 2012

President Barack Obama’s budget proposal for FY 2012 will be released in mid-February.

NIAMS Faces . . .

The NIAMS Advisory Council welcomes five ad hoc members: Lynda F. Bonewald, Ph.D., is the Lefkowitz Professor, Department of Oral Biology in the School of Dentistry at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She also serves as the Director of the Bone Biology Research Program. She is a leader in the field of osteocyte biology, the most abundant cell in bone. Another research interest is transforming growth factor beta, a multifunctional cytokine which appears to play an important role in wound healing, fracture repair, embryogenesis, and normal bone remodeling. Dr. Bonewald’s Bone Biology Research Program encompasses important issues in bone and tooth development, physiology, and disease—from basic experiments to clinical research. David R. Eyre, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle. He developed the first accurate, easy-to-use method for measuring the rate of bone resorption, which led to a test that is used to identify those at risk for bone loss, as well as to monitor the effectiveness of treatments for osteoporosis. His research has focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of protein cross-linking in bone. He has extensive orthopaedic patient experience as well as a broad knowledge of bone diseases. Gary Steven Firestein, M.D., is a Professor in the Department of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, and Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute at the University of California, San Diego. His research efforts have focused on the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and have contributed to the development of highly effective therapeutic treatment approaches for RA. Some of his current research involves investigating synoviocyte transformation in RA as a mechanism of joint destruction. Ted Mala, M.D., is the Director of the Traditional Healing Clinic, a part of the Southcentral Foundation, an Alaska Native health corporation. He is also the Director of Tribal Relations for 55 villages in the Southcentral Alaska region. His career in public health and health administration has been centered in Alaska and the international circumpolar countries. He was the first Secretary General of the International Union of Circumpolar Health, which led to the founding of the Circumpolar Health Institute at the University of Alaska. He has been a grant reviewer for various Institutes of the NIH, served on the Council of Public Representatives of the NIH in 2002, and continues to serve as an advisor on Native American issues to several NIH Institutes and Centers. Alice P. Pentland, M.D., is the James H. Sterner Professor and Chair in Dermatology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, a position she has held for 14 years. She has an extensive research background in photobiology and skin cancer. As the Chair in Dermatology, she is committed to a focus on disease prevention using advanced technologies.

Nancy A. Garrick, Ph.D., has joined the NIAMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison as the Deputy Director. Dr. Garrick comes to us from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) with 13 years of experience as a research scientist. She was a lead author on numerous peer-reviewed publications in the fields of neuropharmacology and neuroendocrinology. She then spent two years as an extramural Program Officer in the Office of AIDS Programs with a neuroscience/neuroimmunology grant portfolio including six Center grants. More recently, as a Writer-Editor in the Office of the Scientific Director at NIMH, she developed, produced and managed a monthly newsletter on current scientific research; had primary responsibility for the IRP’s submission of annual reports to Congress; and worked with the Executive Secretary to produce report summaries and recommendations for approval by the Board of Scientific Counselors. Dr. Garrick earned her Ph.D. in physiology at the University of Maryland and her B.A. in biological sciences at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Baltimore.

The Institute bids farewell to Kuan Wang, Ph.D., Chief of the Laboratory of Muscle Stem Cells and Gene Regulation, Intramural Research Program (IRP), who accepted the position of Director of the Nanomedicine Program at the Institute of Biological Chemistry and Institute of Physics, Taipei, Taiwan.

Kudos . . .

Gahan Breithaupt, M.B.A., the NIAMS’ Associate Director for Management and Operations, received a 2010 Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service. The Presidential Rank Awards are presented to a very select group of career civil service executives whose integrity, strength, leadership, and sustained performance have earned them one of the most prestigious honors in government.

NIAMS Communications Update. . .

Multicultural Outreach

National Multicultural Outreach Initiative

The National Multicultural Outreach Initiative has begun collecting qualitative research through focus groups and in-depth telephone interviews with members of multicultural communities. The information gathered will serve as the foundation for developing culturally and linguistically appropriate health messages and materials on diseases and conditions of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin for racial, ethnic, and underserved populations, namely, African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Alaska Natives/Native Hawaiians. The Initiative also established an evaluation group to develop a framework to monitor progress and assess effectiveness.

Outreach to American Indians and Alaska Natives

The Trans-NIH American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Health Communications and Information Work Group sponsored a workshop for NIH employees on November 8, 2010 in commemoration of American Indian/Alaska Native National Heritage Month. The workshop, "Creating Connections: Building Partnerships Between the Indian Health Service and the National Institutes of Health," helped increase awareness about the Indian Health Service (IHS) and fostered an environment for networking and collaboration through concurrent roundtable discussions moderated by IHS staff. The NIAMS continues to lead the Trans-NIH AI/AN Health Communications and Information Work Group, composed of representatives from 19 NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices. The Work Group’s main purpose is to coordinate the NIH effort to develop and disseminate health information to AI/AN communities.

Public Information

Twitter Launch

The NIAMS is now on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NIH_NIAMS, to expand the reach and speed of our information dissemination efforts. Each week, the Institute posts "tweets," or short messages, that are sent to those who follow the NIH_NIAMS Twitter account. These tweets link to stories, publications, and other content on the NIAMS website. Followers can receive tweets through Web browsers on computers, as well as on mobile devices such as smart phones.

Kids Pages

Young people can now find relevant science-based health information on the NIAMS website. Developed as interactive Web pages, the NIAMS Kids Pages at http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/kids, help readers understand how to take action to develop and maintain healthy bones, joints, muscles, and skin. The pages include pop-up definitions of terms, an interactive quiz at the end of each section to reinforce health messages, and links to other resources.

Media Highlights

Paul Plotz, M.D., Chief, Arthritis and Rheumatism Branch, IRP, NIAMS, represented the NIH on a panel about chronic fatigue syndrome for the White House Chronicle. The program aired on PBS, WETA-TV, WHUT-TV and Voice of America Television, as well as on Sirius XM Radio.

Mike Ward, M.D., an investigator in the NIAMS Office of the Clinical Director, IRP, was interviewed for a segment on biomarkers for the Lupus Foundation of America’s YouTube channel. The feature — filmed by the Foundation at the Ninth International Congress on Lupus in Vancouver, British Columbia — is available at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/user/LupusFoundation#p/u/6/ANv46OWDeTA

In response to their joint editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine regarding the use of spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) inhibitors in rheumatoid arthritis, NIAMS Deputy Scientific Director Juan Rivera, M.Sc., Ph.D., was featured in a story by HealthDay, while Robert Colbert, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the NIAMS Pediatric Translational Research Branch, appeared in an article for Medscape.

The NIAMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison coordinates with the North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS) in the distribution of stories that are sent to more than 10,000 newspapers with a combined total circulation of more than 225 million. A large portion of the NAPS distribution goes to weekly and community newspapers. In January 2011, NIAMS released the third article in the series, "What You Need to Know About Psoriasis," which featured print and electronic resources from the NIAMS about psoriasis.

Update on Equal Employment Opportunity . . .

The 2011 NIH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research is accepting applications via the Web site at http://www.training.nih.gov/student. The NIAMS has already begun receiving applications for these positions. For additional information concerning research training opportunities within the NIAMS Intramural Research Program (IRP), please visit http://www.niams.nih.gov/Research/Ongoing_Research/Branch_Lab/Career_Development_Outreach/training_opportunities_students.asp.

Through an ongoing partnership with the National Human Genome Research Institute and the NIH Office of Intramural Research, the NIAMS continues to provide outreach, education, and training to community college students in the local area. NIH Community College Day at the NIH Campus took place on October 1, 2010. Mario E. Cerritelli, Ph.D., Chief of the Career Development and Outreach Branch (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.

In recognition of his leadership in NIH diversity efforts, Mario E. Cerritelli, Ph.D., was the invited speaker for the opening session of the NIH "A Time for Diversity" program at the Lipsett Auditorium, on the NIH campus, December 4, 2010.

Mario E. Cerritelli, Ph.D., organized a Training Directors’ Summit, "Training the Scientific Workforce of the Future," on December 9, 2010, at the Lawton Chiles International "Stone" House on the NIH Campus. Topics discussed included: recruitment and diversity, best practices in training, international global issues, and challenges facing upcoming scientists.

The NIAMS continues its leadership role in the NIH Warrior Transition Program by participating in career fairs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and by coordinating NIH participation at conferences such as the “Road to Recovery” in December 2010, which was sponsored by the Coalition to Salute American Soldiers and the U.S. Department of Defense. 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. In the near future, the NIAMS will recruit a soldier for a position in the NIAMS IRP.

As part of the NIAMS’ partnership with the SEED School of Washington, D.C., staff from the CDOB visited the school to meet with students and tour the campus. During the discussion period, NIAMS staff informed students about training opportunities at the NIH and encouraged them to apply to these programs. CDOB staff members are working on a mechanism to offer science training (research-based internship activities) to teachers from the SEED School this summer.

In November 2010, Sharon Nouzari Louis, Outreach Program Coordinator for the CDOB, participated in a panel discussion of NIH internships at Georgetown University’s Career Education Center. The event was a pilot project designed to educate and encourage undergraduate and graduate students about the numerous opportunities available through NIH internships.

Since the last NIAMS Advisory Council, Institute staff participated in the following career events:

  • NIH Community College Day (October 2010)
  • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) annual conference (October 2010)
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) annual conference (November 2010)
  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) (November 2010)

Upcoming Events . . .

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

  • American Academy of Dermatology 68th Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, February 4-8, 2011
  • Dermatology Nurses Association, San Diego, CA, March 17-19, 2011
  • Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation National Conference, Reston, VA, April 1-2, 2011
  • American College of Physicians’ Internal Medicine 2011 Conference, San Diego, CA, April 7-9, 2011
  • Joint Conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on Aging, San Francisco, CA, April 26-30, 2011
  • American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Atlanta, GA, April 29-May 5, 2011
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 59th Annual Clinical Meeting, Washington, DC, April 30-May 4, 2011
  • National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses, Baltimore, MD, May 14-18, 2011
  • National Osteoporosis Foundation’s International Symposium on Osteoporosis, Las Vegas, NV, May 18-21, 2011
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants, Las Vegas, NV, May 31-June 5, 2011
  • National Psoriasis Foundation National Conference, Washington, DC, June 5-7, 2011
  • American Physical Therapy Association Annual Conference, National Harbor, MD, June 8-11, 2011

Publications . . .

New Publications

Questions and Answers about Ankylosing Spondylitis
Salud para los huesos de por vida/Bone Health for Life
Kids Fact Sheets — Healthy Bones; Healthy Joints; Healthy Muscles; Healthy Skin

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: https://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: https://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 NIAMS Research Registries:

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