NIDDK Director's Update Winter 2015

Director's Note

Photo of Dr. Rodgers examining a patient
Credit: LabTV

Over the decades, NIDDK researchers and grantees have made tremendous contributions to biomedical understanding and treatment. But we wouldn’t be where we are today without the people who courageously decide to take part in clinical studies. Our ability to deliver advances to the public is dependent upon those volunteers, who are truly our partners in research.

The people who enroll in studies enable us to learn what therapies are most effective for improving outcomes for people with health conditions. For example, we’re currently recruiting volunteers for the Preventing Early Renal Function Loss in Diabetes, or PERL, trial. We’re relying on them to help us learn how to slow or stop kidney function loss in people with type 1 diabetes, thus delaying or preventing kidney disease, a common complication of diabetes.

One dedicated volunteer who has positioned herself on the cutting edge of medical investigation is NIDDK study participant Radhika Sawh. I’ve had the privilege of working with her for more than 20 years. Radhika has been a pioneer in our research and continues to play a key role in progressing what we know about the chronic disease thalassemia, as you can read about in this issue. It is incredibly gratifying to witness what she has accomplished on behalf of all people who share her health condition.

Stories like Radhika’s can be told many times throughout our Institute. For instance, every day in NIDDK’s intramural branch in Phoenix, people give their time with the goal of increasing understanding of chronic kidney disease, which disproportionally affects area residents. I know that NIDDK supervisory research nurse Lois Jones—who we profile in this issue and who works closely with volunteers—shares my feeling of pride in the invaluable contributions made by them and countless others.

Recently NIDDK launched a web page featuring people who have joined clinical trials or promoted research in other ways. I encourage you to visit for an in-depth look at those fascinating journeys. And if you’re ready to embark on that journey yourself, or simply want to learn more about participating in clinical research, go to the NIH web page Clinical Research Trials and You.

In good health,
Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P.
Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Follow NIDDK on Twitter @NIDDKgov

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