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From the NIH Director: NIH 2018 Black History Month Director’s Message

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

Dear NIH Family,

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is proud to join the nation in commemorating Black History Month. Our theme, "Success Always Leaves Footprints," celebrates the accomplishments and legacy of Blacks throughout history. The footprints of our professional success inspire and encourage future generations to take pride in this remarkable heritage and its impact on our nation. The work we do at NIH today will leave an indelible footprint in scientific history. As we remember and learn from the challenges that the Black community has faced and surmounted, we also must celebrate the extraordinary successes that Blacks have achieved. The great American educator, author, and advisor to U.S. Presidents Booker T. Washington once said:

"Success is not measured by the position one has reached in life
as by the obstacles which [one] has overcome while trying to succeed."
-- Booker T. Washington

Here at NIH, our lives should be defined not only by the science we explore, but also by how creatively we overcome obstacles and use our discoveries to improve health.

We should all celebrate and learn about Black History. I encourage you to visit the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion's Twitter and Instagram pages at, to read about Black Americans who have left a valuable legacy, as well as those who are currently leaving footprints for the future. In addition, visit the EDI website to view some of NIH's own employees in the Profiles of Blacks at the NIH Project at

I also hope you will support the Black Special Emphasis Portfolio, which can be found at, and become involved in efforts to improve the outreach, recruitment, retention, and advancement of this and other diverse populations at NIH. For more information, please contact Victoria A. Gross, Black Portfolio Strategist, Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at

Sincerely yours,

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

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