Children and young adults are involved in so much of what we do at the National Institutes of Health. They are patients at the Clinical Center – who often stay with their families at the Children’s Inn – and they are the scientists of tomorrow we meet on campus and in the community. I’m proud to say that NIDDK is a large part of encouraging young people’s engagement with science and health, with our staff stepping up to speak to and nurture up-and-coming talent.
On the NIH campus in May, our Division of Intramural Research (DIR) welcomed approximately 40 children from Kettering Elementary School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to to hear from DIR scientists and to tour labs in the Clinical Center. We are proud of DIR staff, led by Nicole Ray, for taking initiative to host this first-of-its kind tour.
On April 26, NIDDK participated in Take Your Child to Work Day, an annual event at NIH that employees and their children look forward to each year. About 90 children took part in the Institute’s activities, which helped them learn about topics like human biology and nutrition.
In March, I visited two schools, including William B. Gibbs Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland, as part of the USA Science & Engineering Festival’s Nifty Fifty program. We talked about diabetes, nutrition, and kidney disease, and I was impressed by their thoughtful questions.
I also talked to Georgetown Day School students in Washington, D.C., as part of the school’s conference on careers in science, technology, art, and math. It was a pleasure to speak to them about the history of sickle cell disease treatments.
We also nurture the pipeline further along in the process. In May, I was the keynote speaker at The George Washington University’s 2018 medical school commencement, and in June, I spoke at Ponce Health Sciences University’s graduation in Ponce, Puerto Rico. I encouraged graduates at both universities to follow their passion in life and their careers.
If the inquisitiveness, intelligence, kindness, and selflessness I’ve observed is any indication, we’re in good hands with the next generation of scientists. It will truly be an honor to work alongside these promising young people one day.
In good health,
Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P.
Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
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