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From the NIH Director: 2017 Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Dear Staff,

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes May as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. In June 1977, Norman Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Commerce, introduced a resolution asking the President to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. In the early 1990s, Congress passed laws that expanded the observation to the entire month of May. This year’s theme is "Unite Our Voices by Speaking Together."

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are a diverse group comprised of numerous ethnicities. This month provides a perfect opportunity to pay tribute to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have made significant contributions to our nation. Dr. Kuan-Teh Jeang was the Chief of the Molecular Virology Section, NIAID, and the past president of the Society of Chinese Bio scientists in America. He was outspoken in his desire for increased representation in leadership positions for Asian American scientists.

I encourage you to take the time this month to learn more about the achievements and sacrifices AAPIs make to our nation, and gain a deeper understanding of the community’s uniqueness and many contributions to our country. We look forward to upcoming AAPI events such as the annual Kuan-Teh Jeang Lecture Series on May 9 and the HHS Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) Forum on May 15, as well as other events throughout the year that feature talented AAPI leaders. Stay tuned for more information on these events in the coming months.

I urge you to support the Asian American and Pacific Islander special emphasis portfolio and engage in efforts to improve the employment, retention, outreach, and advancement of this and other diverse populations at the NIH. For more information, please contact Tyrone Banks, Asian American and Pacific Islanders Portfolio Strategist, at or on the website at

Sincerely yours,

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

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