National Institutes of Health, Hispanic and Latinos, Supporting the Fight Against COVID-19

National Institutes of Health, Hispanic and Latinos, Supporting the Fight Against COVID-19

Hispanos y latinos de los Institutos Nacionales de la Salud apoyando la lucha contra COVID-19

Word cloud that includes words in English and Spanish.

This year allows us to reflect on the profound and positive influence that Hispanics and Latinos have had on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work and service. Learning about the contributions of our diverse workforce enriches our perspectives, particularly in these fragile times.

Here at the NIH we find Hispanics and Latinos engaged at the forefront of our work conducting research, or, diligently and silently providing patient care, mentoring students, balancing budgets, keeping our facilities clean, and many other jobs. Remaining reliable, capable, and resilient because the diverse workforce consisting of many races, ethnicities, cultures, faiths, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, abilities, and backgrounds. The contributions of NIH's diverse workforce demonstrate that diversity and inclusion at the NIH matters.

We invite you to explore the experiences, contributions, and messages of encouragement from Hispanics and Latinos at the National Institutes of Health who are supporting the fight against COVID-19.

Nora Volkow, M.D.

Nora Volkow, M.D. - Institute Director/Senior Investigator

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Work Contribution:
I lead the National Institute on Drug Abuse to advance science on the causes and health consequences of drug use and addiction and apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health. NIDA is helping lead NIH’s efforts to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on underserved populations, many of whom are affected by substance use disorders. NIDA’s research portfolio is pivoting to learn how the new realities of COVID-19 are affecting us and our vulnerability to use drugs and to addiction, including among the young and among vulnerable populations. We are also investigating the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the overdose fatalities from the opioid epidemic. We are also supporting research to investigate how substance use disorder influences the risk of infection and the clinical outcomes from COVID-19.

Words of Encouragement:
Having studied the brain and behavior throughout my career, I know too well how difficult the stressors of isolation, fear and uncertainty can be for people. We are social creatures, and depend on our families, friends and colleagues for support and wellbeing. Not being able to physically see each other and not knowing how long it will last is difficult. But science and humanism will help us overcome COVID-19, and I look forward to reuniting in person with the NIH community when this happens.

Power Words:
Passion, Purpose, Commitment, Compassion, Pasión, Propósito, Compromiso, Compasión

Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D.

Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D. - Director

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

Office of the Director

Work Contribution:
I lead a passionate and dedicated staff focused on the mission to improve minority health, reduce health disparities and promote health equity. Science is our currency, but nothing gets done without the outstanding contributions and collaboration of administrative staff and scientists. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the societal fissures that have festered for decades and led to race and ethnic disparities. There is a societal recognition of the historical chronic pandemic of structural racism as a root cause of inequality that leads to disease and disability for many. I co-lead three major NIH-wide Initiatives to address these historical challenges from a science-based, community engagement and equity perspective. These efforts have the goal to understand the factors that lead to disparities and implement interventions to reduce them. We are traversing a historical time unlike any in my lifetime and paradoxically this crisis has created a window of opportunity to really make a difference.

Words of Encouragement:
Humanism is a universal currency in the service profession. Maintain high standards for quality and ethical behavior –– always try to do the right thing.

Power Words:
Humility, Social Justice, Passion, Leadership Collectivism, Humildad, Justicia Social, Pasión, Liderazgo, Colectivismo

Anna María Nápoles, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Anna Maria Nápoles, Ph.D., M.P.H. – Scientific Director

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

Division of Intramural Research

Work Contribution:
I have the great joy and privilege of uniting a great group of people in a way in which the sum is so much greater than the individuals. I convene, cajole, push, and praise them for doing what they were meant to do: groundbreaking science to improve minority health and reduce health disparities. Right now, we are developing at least 4 COVID-19 focused national surveys, examining the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on minority, low-income, immigrant and rural communities, and a multi-site study that will utilize wearables to study the course of COVID-19 in vulnerable populations and develop algorithms to identify those at highest risk of poor outcomes, among other COVID-19 projects.

Words of Encouragement:
Life is unpredictable and challenging. It is through rising to the challenges that we grow, learn and expand the boundaries of what is possible.

Power Words:
Love, Respect, Humility, Gratitude, Amor, Respeto, Humildad, Gratitud

Carolina Barillas-Mury, Ph.D.

Carolina Barillas-Mury, Ph.D. – Distinguished Investigator

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research

Work Contribution:
I led a project that consisted of an epidemiological analysis to establish if vaccination with the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine against tuberculosis protects from severe COVID-19. This work was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) scientific journal and has received media attention.

Words of Encouragement:
We are in this together and we should do everything we can to be part of the solution. These are difficult times, but we have the opportunity to be closer to our children and spouses. We also have the chance to re-connect virtually with family and friends.

Power Words:
Resilience, Generosity, Responsibility, Dedication, Hope, Love, Kindness, Resiliencia, Generosidad, Responsabilidad, Dedicación, Esperanza, Amor, Bondad

Karin Bok, Ph.D

Karin Bok, Ph.D. – Senior Advisor Vaccine Development

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Vaccine Research Center (VRC)

Work Contribution:
I’m a Senior Advisor for Vaccine and Antibody Development at the VRC/NIAID/NIH. I provide expertise for the preclinical and clinical development of several preparedness and response medical countermeasures, including preventive and therapeutic products against Ebola, Zika, Nipah, Influenza, and Coronavirus. I’m a member of the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine (OWS), Pre-Clinical Group. OWS aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021. I represent VRC/NAID/NIH in the different US-funded companies product coordination teams (PCT teams).

Words of Encouragement:
We can only get this monumental task done by working together. Each scientist and government employee contribution is essential to the mission.

Power Words:
Innovation, Perseverance, Collaboration, Innovación, Perseverancia, Colaboración

Lili Portilla, M.P.A.

Lili Portilla, M.P.A. – Director, Office of Strategic Alliances

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

Office of Strategic Alliances

Work Contribution:
I’m helping launch the NCATS National COVID-19 Cohort Collaborative (N3C) Data Enclave that aims to build a centralized national data resource that the research community can use to study COVID-19 and identify potential treatments as the pandemic continues to evolve. My office is drafting the data transfer and use agreements for researchers to access the data in the Enclave.

Words of Encouragement:
Yes, these are scary times, but I know that my colleagues here at NCATS and the rest of NIH are laser focused to bring new treatments and interventions to address the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m so proud and grateful of all the good work that NIH is doing during these unprecedented times!

Power Words:
Proud, Hopeful, Focused, Orgullo, Esperanza, Enfoque

Omar A.  Echegoyén

Omar A. Echegoyén – Patient Recruiter

Clinical Center

Office of Patient Recruitment

Work Contribution:
As a patient recruiter for the NIH Clinical Center, I ‘m responsible for promoting all the available studies for the public for COVID-19. At this time, we have more than 20 studies recruiting individuals in the Washington, DC area who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are doing fine after treatment. We also have research studies for healthy volunteers who want to participate in COVID-19 vaccine studies. The studies are open for the general public, and we promote the participation of underserved communities that need help. All volunteers are compensated for their time and effort when they participate in clinical studies.

Words of Encouragement:
Here at the NIH, we’re… Turning Discovery into Health. Help us make a difference by participating in our clinical studies.

Power Words:
Caring, Helpful, Compassionate, Cuidadoso, Servicial, Compasivo

Alejandro Schaffer, Ph.D.

Alejandro Schaffer, Ph.D. – Staff Scientist

National Cancer Institute

Center for Cancer Research/Cancer Data Science Lab

Work Contribution:
I have participated in two completed projects related to COVID-19. The first is a software package (VADR) that is used at the National Center for Biotechnology Information to check and annotate all sequences submitted to GenBank for Norovirus, Dengue virus, and SARS-CoV-2; a journal article has been published in BMC Bioinformatics. The second, is a study in the Cancer Data Science Lab concerning which types of approved drugs, affect the gene expression levels of ACE2, the host receptor for SARS-CoV-2. This article will be published in Molecular Systems Biology.

Words of Encouragement:
Scientific progress will be the primary determinant of when and how the pandemic ends. Encourage budding scientists to study virology and epidemiology, so that future generations will be more prepared for emerging viruses. A forewarned person is worth two (In Spanish: Hombre prevenido vale por dos).

Power Words:
Tenacity, Vigilance, Determination, Tenacidad, Vigilancia, Determinación

Irene Avila, Ph.D.

Irene Avila, Ph.D. – Assistant Director

NIH Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO)

Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI)

Work Contribution:
I participated in a project with the NIH’s Special Populations Research Forum (SPRF) focused on developing COVID-19 Health Disparities recommendations for implementation across NIH activities. I’m volunteering to help with an internal administrative review for the NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative due this August and September. The NIH RADx initiative seeks to speed innovation in the development, commercialization, and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing. Accurate, fast, easy-to-use, and widely accessible testing is required before the nation can safely return to normal life.

Words of Encouragement:
Everything will be alright. You have something to give. Take a deep breath, and smile.

Power Words:
Resilience, Self-compassion, Love, Resiliencia, Autocompasión, Amor

Cynthia Rojas

Cynthia Rojas – Health Specialist

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID), Office of Scientific Coordination and Program Operations (OSCPO)

Work Contribution:
I help coordinate responses to media inquiries and interview requests surrounding coronavirus research efforts. I help develop and coordinate responses to the e-mail inquiries sent to
Dr. Fauci from the general public and researchers alike. Our office helps ensure that the front office and program staff have the most updated information surrounding clinical trial progress and coronavirus developments.

Words of Encouragement:
The work you do is meaningful and important. We’re all part of an incredible institute and team, and we all have a key role in supporting one another and ensuring we are at our best.

Power Words:
Passion, Unity, Perseverance, Teamwork, Pasión, Unidad, Perseverancia, Trabajo en Equipo

Brenda Robles

Brenda Robles - Language Interpreters Program Manager

NIH Clinical Center

Social Work Department

Work Contribution:
I manage the Language Interpreters Program for the CC. My team coordinates linguistic services for Limited English Proficient patients in over 90 languages so they can safely participate in research. As members of the interdisciplinary team, we strive to give patients (of all socioeconomic strata and ethnicities) equal access to quality healthcare, advocate for them, and give them a voice to ensure they reach the best outcomes. Diversity in research is crucial to developing tomorrow’s cures from an expansive perspective that is beneficial to the whole of humanity.

Words of Encouragement:
This too shall pass. Challenges are opportunities for growth, for helping us to realize our greatest strengths, and learning that adaptability is the only way to prevail in uncertain times. We are stronger than we think, and we will be more resilient after this pandemic is over. No obstacle is insurmountable if we believe that we can overcome it.

Power Words:
Faith, Patience, Resilience, Humanity, Benevolence, Compassion, Dedication, Fe, Paciencia, Resiliencia, Humanidad, Benevolencia, Compasión, Dedicación

Paula Acevedo

Paula Acevedo ¬– Grants Management Specialist

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Division of Extramural Activities, Grants Management Program

Work Contribution:
I manage research grants from pre- to post-award. This year, the Grants Management Program at NIAID has received many requests for COVID-19 research. As we deal with the ongoing pandemic, COVID-19 grants remain our top priority.

Words of Encouragement:
During this time of uncertainty. It is important to maintain a sense of purpose and remain focused on our goals. It is also important to make sure we are taking care of ourselves physically and mentally, to stay COVID free. Set and accomplish your goals, Go forward!, Yes you can! Traza y cumple tus metas! Echa Pa' lante!, !Si Se Puede!

Power Words:
Goals, Move-forward, Positive, Objetivos, Avanzar, Positivismo

Christine Gonzalez Garrett

Christine Gonzalez Garrett – Senior Human Resources Specialist

NIH Office of the Director (OD) Office of Human Resources

Client Services Division, Branch D

Work Contribution:
I work to recruit and onboard the best and brightest to support our mission. I serve on Institute and Division committees to ensure the NIH mission flourishes. My branch proudly supports the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Words of Encouragement:
Continue to do your best. Give yourself grace, always!

Power Words:
Kindness, Focus, Commitment, Peace, Amabilidad, Enfoque, Compromiso, Paz

Elisabet Caler, Ph.D.

Elisabet Caler, Ph.D. - Senior Scientific Advisor

NIH Office of the Director (OD)

DPCPSI/Office of AIDS Research (OAR)

Work Contribution:
Our office is currently performing many activities related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in HIV research. These include: 1) Publication of Interim Clinical Guidance on COVID-19 and Persons with HIV; 2) Interim Policy to provide guidance to NIH’s institutes on funding related to COVID-19 in the context of HIV; 3) Tracking New HIV-related COVID-19 funding opportunities; 4) Initiating a multidisciplinary OAR Taskforce on COVID-19 and HIV in May 2020 that provided an interim report to OAR Advisory Council in June 2020; and 4) Preliminary review of HIV research recovery issues including the impact of COVID-19 on the HIV research workforce.

Words of Encouragement:
"So plant your own gardens and decorate your soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers" (Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian writer)

Power Words:
Love, Faith, Commitment, Strength, Peace, Empathy, Recovery, Resilience, Advocacy, Amor, Fe, Compromiso, Fuerza, Paz, Empatía, Recuperación, Resiliencia, Abogacía

Sonia Arteaga, Ph.D.

Sonia Arteaga, Ph.D. – Program Officer

NIH Office of the Director (OD)

ECHO Program

Work Contribution:
I help lead a team of Program Officers that work with researchers across the country to implement and execute the scientific goals of the NIH Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO Program). The program is a seven-year initiative of existing cohorts of 50,000+ children and their families across the country. In response to COVID-19, I helped facilitate diversity supplements for pre and post-doctoral students that are part of the of this program and led the development of a Notice of Special Interest for administrative supplements. These administrative supplements will address how COVID-19 has impacted children and their families. The goal of the ECHO Program is to understand the effects of a broad range of early environmental influences on child health and development.

Words of Encouragement:
Stay focused and know we are in this together!

Power Words:
Ingenuity, Tenacity, Kindness, Ingenio, Tenacidad, Amabilidad

César Boggiano, Ph.D.

César Boggiano, Ph.D. – Chief, Preclinical Research and Development Branch

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Division of AIDS/Vaccine Research Program

Work Contribution:
I lead a team of experts assessing, prioritizing, and advancing therapeutic and prophylactic interventions against COVID-19.

Words of Encouragement:
"I strive never to forget the real-world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses and government." (Justice Sonia Sotomayor)

Power Words:
Perseverance, Commitment, Action, Perseverancia, Compromiso, Acción

Frances Garcia Davis

Frances Garcia Davis – Workforce Management Specialist/Outreach Specialist

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Human Capital Branch, Office of Administrative Services

Work Contribution:
I’m responsible for responding to public inquiries, especially those seeking volunteering opportunities to assist during the pandemic. It’s been very inspiring to read emails from individuals across the U.S. (and the world) willing to step in and help our organization during these difficult times. In addition to this role, I serve as the NIAID point of contact for global and shared recruitments. I work very closely with the NIH Office Human Resources to ensure NIAID managers are aware of upcoming hiring activities to fill their vacancies, especially positions with COVID19 duties. Lastly, I serve as the institute reasonable accommodations point of contact for persons with disabilities. It’s crucial to ensure our employees have the resources they need to be successful in their jobs, especially now when they are away from their physical workplace.

Words of Encouragement:
There is no question we are facing historically trying times, and although things may feel scary, please know that here at the NIH we are a family and you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. It’s comforting to know we have great leaders at the NIH that are living examples that we are all in this together. Use this opportunity to connect with family members and remember, we will move forward and thrive. Be safe and let’s take care of ourselves and each other.

Power Words:
Patience, Understanding, Empathy, Faith, Commitment, Trust, Paciencia, Comprensión, Empatía, Fe, Compromiso, Confianza

Sandra I.  Vazquez, M.S. RAC

Sandra I. Vazquez, M.S. RAC – Director Office Regulatory Science at Vaccine Research Center

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Vaccine Research Center

Work Contribution:
I’m helping by coordinating regulatory process with scientist involved in COVID-19 research, by facilitating dialog with the US FDA for guidance on validation of Immunogenicity Endpoint Assays for SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines; to be used to support Phase 3 vaccine clinical development.

Words of Encouragement:
"We rise by lifting others up" (Robert Ingersoll)

Power Words:
Perseverance, Commitment, Hope, Perseverancia, Compromiso, Esperanza

Jorge E.  Mejia-Galvis, M.D.

Jorge E. Mejia-Galvis, M.D. – Medical Monitor/Medical Officer

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID), Office of Clinical Research Affairs (OCRA)

Work Contribution:
I participated in writing the safety portion for COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine) and Remdesivir clinical trial. I’m Medical Officer/Monitor of Galidesivir as treatment for COVID in Brazil, currently in enrollment, and also Medical Monitor for NIAID sponsored BET (Big Effect Treatment Trial).

Words of Encouragement:
I would like to share these quotes: “In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate” (Isaac Asimov) and “Sapere Aude” which means “Dear to Know.”

Power Words:
Compassion, Resilience, Courage, Compasión, Resiliencia, Valor

Juanita Roman

Juanita Roman - Program Specialist

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

Division of Intramural Research (DIR) Administrative and Research Services Branch (ARSB)

Work Contribution:
I provide administrative and program support to the NIEHS Office of the Scientific Director and the Administrative and Research Services Branch. I coordinate the logistics for our special lectures as well as the Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) reviews of our DIR scientists.

Words of Encouragement:
During this pandemic, we have discovered new ways of socializing and meaningful ways of helping and supporting each other. We can help defeat COVID-19 by practicing social distance and staying home when possible. Enjoy every minute with your loved ones, tackle home projects, bake some goodies, and take time for yourself. Remember that we are all in this together, we must support and encourage each other. Stay active and stay healthy.

Power Words:
Love, Support, Encouragement, Amor, Apoyo, Aliento

Yescenia Mendoza

Yescenia Mendoza – Grants Management Specialist

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Division of Extramural Activities (DEA)/Grants Management Program (GMP)

Work Contribution:
My responsibilities as a Grants Management Specialist consists of managing a portfolio of grants throughout the various phases of the award process to support NIAID extramural research. In my role, I collaborate with NIAID scientific staff to oversee the fiscal and administrative matters involved in facilitating the negotiation, issuance, and continuing operations of grants that align with NIAID's mission and response to emerging public health threats.

Words of Encouragement:
These times are tough but so are we. Although we may be physically distant, we will get through this together. Find calm in the chaos for better days are ahead.

Power Words:
Hope, Compassion, Trust, Esperanza, Compasión, Confianza

Jazmin Bustillo

Jazmin Bustillo – Program Specialist

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Center for Translation Research Implementation Science (CTRIS)

Implementation Science Branch (ISB)

Work Contribution:
I work on planning and supporting staff in terms of implementation science research with a focus on heart, lung, blood and sleep diseases. I provide administrative support to my colleagues within CTRIS and in the ISB as well as provide program support to our grantees, scholars and private investigators.

Words of Encouragement:
When we are in this together, our mission to become stronger.

Power Words:
Commitment, Determination, Success, Compromiso, Determinación, Éxito

Patricia Becerra, Ph.D.

Patricia Becerra, Ph.D. – Senior Investigator, Head Section of Protein Structure and Function

National Eye Institute (NEI)

Laboratory of Retinal Cell and Molecular Biology, Section of Protein Structure and Function

Work Contribution:
I Investigate how to prevent visual loss by protecting against pathological retinal cells demise and abnormal vessel growth. Training of young investigators in this topic is a component of the work I do.

Words of Encouragement:
Let’s be a people of hope, keep trusting in the capacity for goodness and potential for greatness of the work performed at the NIH to fight against COVID-19.

Power Words:
Hope, Service, Perseverance, Esperanza, Servicio, Perseverancia

Susana Mendez, D.V.M, Ph.D.

Susana Mendez, D.V.M, Ph.D. – Program Officer

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Work Contribution:
I oversee grant portfolios, and act as an advocate for tuberculosis research. I advise scientists on how to apply for funds and supplements to study COVID-19. I help ease my colleagues’ work burden.

Words of Encouragement:
Don’t underestimate the impact that you can have. If we keep looking forward, the problems of today will be the memories of tomorrow.

Power Words:
Tenacity, Action, Resilience, Tenacidad, Acción, Resiliencia

Liliana Brown, Ph.D.

Liliana Brown, Ph.D. - Office Director, Office of Genomics and Advanced Technologies

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID)

Work Contribution:
I lead the NIAID’s Office of Genomics and Advanced technologies which supports extramural research grants and contracts to understand SARS-CoV-2 viral genomics, structural biology, systems biology, and bioinformatics. These programs have already resulted in significant findings that have informed the NIH’s vaccine efforts, antiviral therapeutic development, and critical understanding of the origin and molecular epidemiology of the disease to inform public health measures.

In addition to scientific research, I co-lead the effort to develop a U.S. Seroprevalence Dashboard. The Dashboard is an inter-agency effort in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that will track US-funded and global studies that capture the extent of past COVID-19 exposures in a variety of populations. The Dashboard is complementary to existing COVID-19 case trackers that detail the incidence of the disease.

I participate in the CDC-led SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology and Surveillance (SPHERES) consortium, a grassroots effort to build capacity and share SARS-CoV-2 genomic data across public health, academia and private laboratories in the US.

I am a member of the trans-NIH Project 5 which is attempting an ambitious plan to harmonize and make available the largest clinical and phenotypic data ever collected in a single system to conquer the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will establish a data platform, a community of researchers and data analytics and modeling projects to tackle multiple aspects of the disease.

Words of Encouragement:
I offer the following quotes: “We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up or fight like hell” - Lance Armstrong; “There can be no greater gift than that of giving one's time and energy to helping others without expecting anything in return." – Nelson Mandela

Power Words:
Love, Family, Science, Amor, Familia, Ciencia

Carlos M.  Guardia, Ph.D.

Carlos M. Guardia, Ph.D. – Scientist

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Neurosciences and Cellular and Structural Biology Division (NCSBD)

Work Contribution:
I conduct research and help training new postdocs and postbacs in the lab.

Words of Encouragement:
One of my mentors at NICHD recently told me: “Life, my friend, is filled with unexpected surprises. How we deal with them determines our future.” Let’s take charge of our future and make our dreams come true! We’ve got this!

Power Words:
Resilience, Empathy, Selflessness, Forward, Resiliencia, Empatía, Desinterés, Adelant

Lisa Padilla-Banks – Biologist

Lisa Padilla-Banks – Biologist

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

Division of Intramural Research (DIR) Reproductive & Developmental Biology Laboratory (RDBL)

Work Contribution:
As we adjust to our new work environment under the COVID-19 pandemic, I contribute by practicing safe habits of wearing my mask, maintaining social distancing, washing my hands and keeping research areas clean. These measures will not only keep me safe, but they will also keep my peers safe so we can all continue to serve our research goals.

Words of Encouragement:
Lets fight the good fight against the spread of the virus, we can do it together wearing mask and six feet apart. And, don’t forget to wash your hands! Together we can.

Power Words:
Contribute, Work-Together, Contribuir, Trabajar-Juntos

Eliza Maria Menchaca

Eliza Maria Menchaca – Contracts Specialist

National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Office of Acquisitions

Work Contribution:
I am very happy and thankful to support all of NIH during this COVID-19 pandemic as I am in the Acquisitions Office and I manage the multimillion-dollar IT contracts that affect the systems that the NIH uses.

Words of Encouragement:
God controls everything, your always in the perfect path. Bless, Heal, and Prosper! Blessings for all of you!

Power Words:
Bless, Heal, and Prosper, Bendice, Sana, Prospera

Lynn Morin

Lynn Morin – Program Director

Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)

NIH Office of the Director (OD)

Work Contribution:
I collaborate across the NIH to develop programs aimed at promoting a well-trained, diverse research workforce to advance the science for the health of women; and to address the underrepresentation of women in biomedical careers. This means taking a multi-pronged approach targeting programs to help women achieve their potential at various levels of their careers from institutional-level to personal-level programs. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women in their research careers and has widened the gap tremendously.

Words of Encouragement:
We have the courage and strength to overcome any struggle. No action is too small and with every act of kindness you have the opportunity to be someone’s hero.

Power Words:
Change Agent, Ally, Empathy, Humanity, Agente de Cambio, Aliado, Empatía, Humanidad

Nicole Annette Guidetti, M.S.

Nicole Annette Guidetti, M.S. - Grants Management Specialist

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Grants Management Program

Work Contribution:
As a Grants Specialist during this time, I’ve guided Principal Investigators in submitting their grant proposals for COVID-19 Supplemental Grants. In addition, I’ve reviewed their applications and processed the awards of these supplemental funds to Grantees/Principal Investigators who are actively leading and collaborating on COVID-19 research.

Words of Encouragement:
It’s encouraging to see how researchers and all of NIH has come together as a strong team to strive for a vaccine against COVID-19. It brings me hope to see us all working together during these challenging times.

Power Words:
Perseverance, Understanding, Patience, Perseverancia, Comprensión, Paciencia

Gerard Roman, MHR

Gerard Roman, MHR – Diversity and Inclusion Strategist (Hispanic Portfolio)

NIH Office of the Director (OD)

Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), Diversity and Inclusion Division (DID) Special Emphasis Programs (SEP)

Work Contribution:
I’m a Diversity and Inclusion Strategist; my work contributes to the development and sustainment of an inclusive work environment. I provide overall vision and direction for the Hispanic Special Emphasis (SEP)Portfolio. I’m using this opportunity to reach out to my colleagues to learn about their passion and contributions in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. I assisted a group of colleagues in the development of COVID-19 Health Disparities recommendations for implementation across NIH. I also volunteered for the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.

Words of Encouragement:
We’re all navigating our way together through these times. Amidst the pain that everyone is enduring, there is hope and opportunity. I hope the messages shared by my NIH colleagues help raise your spirits and inspire everyone to continue to do our part in fighting this disease. Be well; take care of yourself and each other.

Power Words:
Hope, Opportunity, Resilience, Esperanza, Oportunidad, Resiliencia

Elena Hernandez Ramon. M.D., Ph.D.

Elena Hernandez Ramon. M.D., Ph.D. – Director of Pre-medical Program

NIH Office of the Director (OD)

Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE)

Work Contribution:
As the Director, Pre-medical Programs at OITE, I established a virtual office during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep our programs running. The program has provided virtual workshops and sessions allowing students from all NIH campuses and across the nation prepare for M.D. and M.D./Ph.D. programs.

Words of Encouragement:
COVID-19 will not stop us! Let’s continue working together and developing our creativity to support each other and grow.

Power Words:
Resilience, Community, Solidarity, Resiliencia, Comunidad, Solidaridad

Natasha Lugo-Escobar, Ph.D.

Natasha Lugo-Escobar, Ph.D. – Director, High Scientific Training & Enrichment Program 2.0 (HiSTEP 2.0)

Office of the Director (OD)

Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE)

Work Contribution:
I am a neuroscientist by training and educator by heart. In my current role, I direct a summer internship program (HiSTEP 2.0) that provides opportunities for high school seniors from primarily financially disadvantaged schools. These students come to the NIH to participate in our biomedical research activities. The opportunities that we offer allow them to develop their professional skills, career readiness, and college transition. I also assist and coordinate outreach events to not only show the work done at NIH but also to recruit students for our training programs. During COVID-19, our office offered a virtual summer enrichment program open to all students in the country, focusing on professional skills, science topics, and wellness. It is our way to make training accessible and keep them engaged, motivated, during the summer.

Words of Encouragement:
As a Latina, I see a need to lift and empower each other and work together and to provide hope and opportunities to those who needed the most. We should strive to be role models to younger generations who look up to us to see themselves one day reach the top.

Power Words:
Empowerment, Trustworthy, Kindness, Empathy, Empoderamiento, Confianza, Amabilidad, Empatía

Ana Rosita Del Valle

Ana Rosita Del Valle – Deputy Budget Officer

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Financial Management Branch (FMB)

Work Contribution:
I am part of a small team that provides budget formulation, execution and reconciliation support. My job is to provide accurate financial information so that senior leadership and decision makers are able to harness biomedical opportunities related to our mission.

Words of Encouragement:
This is our moment in history to make a difference for those in need and shine during the darkness. There are opportunities every day to make a small impact: from donating time, money, food, PPE, volunteering, helping a stay at home parent, visiting the elderly, to providing a safe space for a depressed loved one to vent.

Power Words:
Tenacity, Integrity and Benevolence, Tenacidad, Integridad y Benevolencia

CDR Alfredo R. Sancho

CDR Alfredo R. Sancho – Health Scientist Administrator

Office of the Director (OD)

Office of Intramural Research

Work Contribution:
I review and update the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) and Agency Research Integrity Officer (ARIO) policies and guidelines, in addition to providing responses to the Office of General Council (OCG) and participating in data calls. I provide support as a Contracting Officer Representative (COR) and maintain the required certifications. I perform U.S. Public Health Services activities including emergency responses, such as Unaccompanied Children, Ebola, and COVID-19 responses.

Words of Encouragement:
Treat others as you would like to be treated… that is, treat everyone always with respect regardless of their education, race, religion, age, gender. Be humble for there is always more than one perspective and all perspectives are valuable… lead or follow, it is always teamwork. There is always a solution to every problem, resourcefulness, perseverance, and imagination will lead the way.

Power Words:
Integrity, Honor, Respect, Duty, Integridad, Honor, Respeto, Deber

Judith A. Arroyo, Ph.D.

Judith A. Arroyo, Ph.D. – Coordinator Minority Health and Health Disparities

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Office of the Director (OD)

Work Contribution:
I was assigned to represent NIAAA on the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics RADx-UP working group. I helped draft four Notices of Special Interest (NOSIs) in record time to solicit applications to address the disparities in morbidity and mortality among racial/ethnic minorities and other COVID-19 vulnerable populations. I was also instrumental in identifying which administrative supplement guidelines would have to be made flexible to encourage more widespread application; advocated for adjustment in the funding caps; conducted widespread dissemination of the NOSIs to the NIAAA extramural community; providing technical assistance to potential applicants, Program Officials, and Grants Management Officials; solicited reviewers for internal, quick turn-around reviews; and serving as internal reviewer. I plan on continuing to work on Phase II of the RADx-UP initiative after the Phase I application are funded. At NIAAA I have reviewed all incoming COVID supplement applications to identify and advocate for those which focus on racial and ethnic minority and LGBT populations.

Words of Encouragement:
Seek to help others in their educational, research, and academic careers so as to enhance the health and well-being of underrepresented communities. Use your own experience, knowledge, and wisdom in the interest of those with less power and influence. Find fulfillment by working hard in service to our communities of color.

Power Words:
Dedication, Passionate, Determined, Dedicación, Pasión, Determinación

Larissa Avilés-Santa, MD, MPH

Larissa Avilés-Santa, MD, MPH - Director

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

Clinical and Health Services Research

Work Contribution:
I am honored to work with a team of extramural scientists who are committed to promote and support the best science that improves health outcomes and eliminates health care disparities among populations affected by them. In this role, I have supported my team’s participation and contribution towards the design and publication of funding opportunity announcements for administrative supplements to existing grants to study the impact of the COVID-19 from both community and clinical perspectives. I have also represented NIMHD in various trans-NIH working groups and collaborated with the writing of funding opportunity announcements addressing COVID-19 using digital technologies, integrative medicine approaches and in children’s health. Also, I authored a funding opportunity announcement focused on the long-term effects of disasters, which is garnering much interest from the extramural community.

Words of Encouragement:
I would like to share two quotes that I find to be relevant to the times we are living. “The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever” from the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, and “Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but above all, thou shalt not be a bystander” from Holocaust Historian Yehuda Bauer. Quisiera compartir dos citas que resuenan con los tiempos en que estamos viviendo: “La latina en mí es una llama que resplandece para siempre” de la Juez del Tribunal Supremo de los Estados Unidos, la Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, y “No serás víctima, no serás autor, pero, sobre todo, no serás espectador” del historiador del Holocausto Yehuda Bauer.”

Power Words:
Resilience, Determination, Achievement, Faith, Perseverance, Fortaleza, Propósito, Logro, Fe, Perseverancia