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"THE CROWN JEWEL of the federal government" wants a little lapidary attention. Physician-author Lewis Thomas' sparkling reference to the National Institutes of Health notwithstanding, the NIH held a 2-day conference seeking ways to polish its public image.
The meeting, entitled "NIH: Communicating Science and Health in the New Millennium," brought together some 200 research-oriented participants and media-savvy panelists to discuss how to make all Americans more aware of what their tax dollars accomplish. The event inaugurated the Natcher Conference Center, a brand-new administration and auditorium—containing addition to the Bethesda, Md, campus on which most of the 17 institutes, offices, and other NIH components, such as the National Library of Medicine and National Center for Human Genome Research, pursue their aims.
The unprecedented gathering was held in response to concern expressed last year by the House Appropriations Committee that important research advances were not being made known to the public. NIH
Goldsmith MF. Directed to Defend Its Raison d'Etre, NIH Holds Communications Conference. JAMA. 1995;273(10):761-764. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520340013003