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National Institutes of Health

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

2022 Annual Report of the Division of Intramural Research

Office of Education

Erin Walsh
  • Erin Walsh, PhD, Director, Office of Education
  • Veronica Harker, Program Coordinator
  • Katherine Lamb, Program Coordinator

The goals and objectives of the Office of Education can be summarized as follows: to meet the training needs of intramural scientists, fellows, and students at all levels, the Office of Education recruits and develops academic support programs, contributes to mentoring, evaluation, and career guidance, and creates new training initiatives. Our professional development workshops and activities typically include public-speaking workshops, job interviewing, writing and editorial services for professional school and job applications, grantsmanship workshops, academic and non-academic career presentations, one-on-one counseling, teaching opportunities, and lab-management programs. Additional areas of involvement include programming for career exploration, networking among fellows and alumni, grantsmanship, and the enhancement of fellows’ competitiveness for research awards and future career opportunities, as well as support of tenure-track investigators.

Notable accomplishments of the past year

The Office of Education organizes numerous workshops, programs, and individualized opportunities for a population averaging 300 trainees, including: postdoctoral, visiting, and research fellows; clinical fellows and medical students; graduate students; and postbaccalaureate fellows and summer interns.

Our TmT (Three-minute Talks) competition, now in its eighth year, was held in conjunction with ten other institutes: NCATS, NIDCR, NHGRI, NEI, NIDDK, NIDCD, NIAID, NINDS, NIEHS, and NLM. Jeremie Oliver Piña, graduate student in the Section on Molecules and Therapies for Craniofacial and Dental Disorders, was the NICHD finalist.

We continued our Graduate Student Talks initiative, established in 2014, which provides the Institute's graduate students with experience in presenting their thesis research to a non-specialist scientific audience.

An online Annual Progress Review for fellows, developed by the Office and launched in 2016, tracks scientific and career development and progress. As part of the assessments of investigators' mentoring, the reports by fellows are analyzed and provided to the site visits of the Board of Scientific Counselors.

In September 2022, the Division of Intramural Research gave its Mentor of the Year awards to Edwina Yeung, Epidemiology Branch, in the investigator category; and to Laura Pillay, Section on Vertebrate Organogenesis, as fellow.

The database of NICHD alumni from 2008 to the present continues to be updated.

We compiled a valuable list of organizations that accept grant applications from NIH intramural fellows, through both NIH and non–NIH funding mechanisms. It can be found on the NICHD fellows' wiki site. For NICHD, 16 Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) awards were made for the 2023 competition.

The Fellows Intramural Grants Supplement (FIGS) continues to recognize and stimulate grant applications among fellows, and we launched the third cycle for our Intramural Research Fellowships (IRFs), a new competitive internal funding opportunity for NICHD postdoctoral and clinical fellows. Its ultimate goal is to promote fellows' grant writing and to enhance their awareness of various components for an NIH grant application.

The Institute continues its exchange program with INSERM (the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale in France), which provides a unique opportunity for US and French scientists to obtain postdoctoral training with French and US mentors, respectively. Since 2016, up to three second- and third-year medical students from Santa Casa de São Paulo School of Medical Sciences (Brazil) train with NICHD investigators for the Future Researchers Program.

The Fellows Recruitment Incentive Award (FRIA) continues to support investigators who recruit postdocs from populations traditionally under-represented in science.

The alumni group for our NICHD Developing Talent Scholars program, in its 12th year, added three new postbaccalaureate fellows in 2022. The Scholars program focuses on developing talent and supporting trainees' academic and career progression.

We are actively developing a collaboration with Howard University for research, training and mentoring opportunities. For the spring 2022 academic semester, we welcomed a second cohort of undergraduate student mentees from the College of Arts and Sciences into the Biology Secondary Mentors Program. Each student was paired with an NICHD Principal Investigator in the Division of Intramural Research, with whom they will work closely towards developing and executing a research project from their sophomore through their senior years of college. Our third cohort of mentor-mentee pairs will be established for spring 2023. Also in spring 2022, Office of Education Director of Communications and Outreach, Dr. Triesta Fowler, co-led a new seminar series, “Career Planning and Professional Development: Exploring the MD, PhD, and MD-PhD Paths,” for undergraduates in the Howard University Department of Biology to provide medical and research career exploration, as well as guidance on how to proceed with medical and graduate school admissions processes.

Postdoctoral fellows were also given the opportunity to organize and teach our annual seminar series for postbaccalaureate trainees, which entered its 16th year. For the 2022 series, Erin Walsh and Triesta Fowler added new sessions on the medical school and graduate school search and application processes.

The 17th Annual Fellows Meeting was held, virtually, on September 29, 2022, for about 120 people and featured keynote speaker Dr. Rosa Puertollano, NIH Senior Investigator. Each year, this retreat includes presentations by fellows, career panel sessions, and a poster presentation by each attendee. The program is developed and run by a fellows' steering committee.

The NICHD Connection monthly newsletter continues its focus on mentoring, careers, and academic programs for young scientists, publishing its 150th issue in November 2022 and reaching all members of the intramural division and our alumni.

Dr. Triesta Fowler, who served as Office of Education Director of Communications and Outreach since 2019, left the NICHD in August 2022 to pursue a new role as a diversity officer with the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities.


For further information, contact Dr. Erin Walsh.

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