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From the NIH Director: 2017 Women’s History Month Message

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

Dear NIH Family,

Thirty years ago, Congress passed Public Law 100.9, designating March as Women’s History Month. The National Institutes of Health is proud to celebrate the dedication and expertise of women of every race and ethnic background throughout our organization, whether in scientific, medical, professional or administrative roles. At NIH, we recognize that diversity of all kinds leads to an expanded range of ideas, perspectives, innovative work products, and improved research outcomes.

The 2017 NIH theme of Women’s History Month is “Be Inspired,” and the research and discoveries of women throughout NIH can serve as an inspiration to women and men everywhere. One example is the growing list of NIH women whose work has led to their election to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, including: Elizabeth Neufeld (NIAMS, NIDDK); Maxine Singer (NIAMS, NCI); Thressa Stadtman (NHLBI); Martha Vaughan (NHLBI); Matilda White Riley (NIA);Susan Gottesman (NCI); Leslie Ungerleider (NIMH); Susan Amara (NIMH); Susan Wickner (NCI); Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz (NICHD); Gisela Storz (NICHD); Wei Yang (NIDDK); and Carolina Barillas-Mury (NIAID).

I also want to call your attention to two important NIH research programs led by women: the Office of Research on Women’s Health, led by Dr. Janine Clayton, is the first Public Health Service office dedicated to promoting women’s health research, and Dr. Hannah Valantine’s Science Workforce Diversity (SWD) Office works to ensure that NIH has a pool of highly talented scientists from diverse backgrounds who will help to further NIH's mission, while contributing to our nation’s role as a global leader in scientific discovery and innovation.

The Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), led by attorney and civil rights expert, Debra Chew, provides stories on their webpage about women NIH leaders such as Dr. Avilés-Santa, Medical Officer at the NHLBI and Project Officer of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, as well as Dr. Rashmi Gopal-Srivastava, Director of the Extramural Research Program in the Office of Rare Diseases Research, and leader of the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network.

These are just a few of NIH’s many exceptional women who play key roles throughout NIH. To learn more about the inspirational women in our workforce, please contact Joy Gaines, EDI’s Women’s Portfolio Strategist, at 301-451-9662 or

Sincerely yours,

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