Congratulations to Dr. Kimberly Bernosky-Smith. Kimberly successfully defended her dissertation “Behavioral Response To Alcohol In Binge Drinkers”. Following the defense Dr. Bernosky-Smith was joined by family, staff and graduate students to celebrate.
Congratulations to recently graduated student Michael Wesley who was recently awarded the David K. Sundberg Award from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine Department of Physiology & Pharmacology. The Sundberg award is given annually to an outstanding student who has recently received his or her Ph.D. degree whose mentor is a faculty member in the Physiology & Pharmacology Department.
Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology Graduate student Rob Gould, and Neuroscience graduate student Sarah Kromrey had the opportunity to meet with Representative Virginia Foxx and one of Senator Richard Burr’s staffers to advocate for NIH funding, while attending the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics meeting in Washington, D.C., April, 2011.
Representative Foxx asked us to join her at the Capitol Building where she quickly escorted us through many security checkpoints and sequestered my lab mates and me into a committee chambers room. Here we had a pleasant discussion about what the NIH does, and we learned Representative Foxx was actually supported by a NIH fellowship herself for undergraduate education. She avidly agreed with our salient points regarding the need to increase funding for the NIH to continue ongoing strides for healthcare prevention and treatment. Though she was extremely receptive to our points, she took a defensive stance at the end of our conversation and turned the tables to us by asking, “What would you cut? Obviously every program wants a raise in their budget and no programs are going to get an increase. The NIH will be fortunate to maintain their current rate of funding. The economy is in a terrible crisis and currently operates on a $2 trillion budget due to the overwhelming deficit“. As prepared in the colloquium, I informed Rep. Foxx that we respected her service to our country and state and simply asked that she made an informed decision based on the meetings from groups such as ourselves. After our discussion, Rep. Foxx returned us to the opening session of Congress and arranged for a page to escort us to our next appointment with Senator Richard Burr’s staffer Jenn Nardi. I think the trip between the two appointments was one of the highlights of my trip. We were able to quickly go through the halls of the Capitol building and glance at the sights in the rotundum. As a first-time visitor to DC, I had no idea I would be able to see so many things during something “work-related”!
Meeting with Jenn Nardi, Staff for Senator Richard Burr
We met with Ms. Nardi in Senator Burr’s office and started talking about the importance of continuing NIH funding for our future education and employment, as well as to the well-being of America. She was in complete agreement and continued to assure us that she and Senator Burr were fully aware of the problem and frequently discuss how to combat the situation in such a bleak financial period. I was very encouraged to hear this news, but at the same time it made me realize what an obstacle it is to convince ALL of Congress of such matters!
The visits with Representative Foxx and Senator Burr’s staff as part of ASPET’s graduate student Capitol Hill day exponentially increased my awareness and appreciation for the overwhelming responsibilities our government has to ensure proper funding for all of the US programs, in particularly scientific endeavors. I will never take grant writing or funding opportunities lightly because I am now fully conscious of the multiple efforts required from scientists, NIH, and government representatives/staff in order to create enriching scientific research to improve the health and well-being of Americans. Moreover, I have a renewed admiration for the complexity and intricacy of the relationship between science and government; I plan to continue advocating for NIH funding in the future through e-mails, letters, and firsthand visits with Congressional representatives when possible.
Women in Pharmacology Annual Networking Walk at the American Soc. Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics meeting 2011Posted on June 27th, 2011
Allyn Howlett, Professor (Far left) and Gloria Malpass, Post-doctoral fellow (Left Bottom) joined other women pharmacologists in a quick 7:00 am walk before the meeting, which expanded into a Spring Garden Tour of the White House Lawns. As we jogged by Pennsylvania avenue, we discovered that this was one of only two days each year that the White House gardens would be open to public viewing. Our walk leader, ASPET President Lyn Wecker opted to return to the meeting to give a talk in a morning session on teaching of pharmacology for the allied health professions (which Dr. Howlett should have attended). However, the small group shown at the left decided to take advantage of the opportunity. Of note, also in this group is Susan Amara, current president of the Society for Neuroscience (Upper Right).