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Game Changer: Dr. Sharon L. Milgram

Game Changers

/gām/ /‘CHānjər/

An individual, group, or organization that effects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something.

Game Changers are institution builders. They forge partnerships to revolutionize organizational culture, policy, and procedure. They encourage decision makers to go beyond the “tactical” towards the “strategic." They cultivate and harness the creative ideas that inspire new paradigms throughout the Agency, fueling innovation and advancing its mission. They uphold equity, diversity, and inclusion, and they are true business imperatives that make up our organizational fabric and operationalize these concepts as part of their overall leadership strategy.




  • a type of activity or business
  • an organization’s (or person’s) standard or method of play
  • a mode of performance




  • one who makes something different
  • one who alters the terms or transforms them entirely
  • one who arrives (or makes others arrive) at a fresh phase; become new
Do you know a game changer?
 Dr. Sharon Milgram giving lecture

Game Changers are institution builders. They revolutionize organizational culture, cultivate and harness creative ideas, and uphold equity, diversity, and inclusion.

One of the first things you may notice about Dr. Sharon L. Milgram upon meeting her is her incredible energy. She is a person who is constantly thinking about ways to make life better for those around her. That energy and drive for improvement comes across as passion for the trainees she serves at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As the Director of the Office of Intramural Training & Education, which is responsible for the centralized oversight of training and policies that govern NIH trainees, she has expertise in the development and delivery of professional development for trainees interested in biomedical, behavioral, and social science research. From high school students to postdocs, Dr. Milgram strives to make the training experience meaningful, safe, and enjoyable for all trainees.

In her role as a director, she has led a team that works diligently to bring increased diversity to NIH. Early in her time at NIH, she began speaking with trainees and they would sometimes describe how being different made some of them feel uncomfortable at NIH. With a “hope that each participant will become an ally for diversity and social justice,” Dr. Milgram not only brought in a diversity expert to encourage NIH trainees and senior staff/faculty to celebrate difference and diversity through a six week diversity course but also sponsored and helped develop “affinity” groups (including the LGBT- Friend and Fellows group ) to help make trainees feel more at ease.

Over the years, she has interacted with thousands of NIH trainees (and trainees around the country) and through those interactions, she realized that, although trainees were receiving world-class training in biomedical research at NIH, the stress of research coupled with striving to reach career goals sometimes came with a cost to their well-being. She began developing a wellness program at OITE that would complement the professional development and mentoring for which her office is known. She was most interested in how to help NIH trainees be resilient in the face of whatever adversities they may face in the moment and into the future.

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