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November 6, 1991

National Institutes of Health: North and South?

JAMA. 1991;266(17):2335-2336. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470170019005

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AS DIRECTOR of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the Washington, DC, suburb of Bethesda, Md, Bernadine Healy, MD, is undertaking initiatives ranging from examination of women's roles in biomedical research and evaluating procedures dealing with scientific integrity to developing a strategic plan for the institutes. And now a new NIH campus may be a possibility.

Her latest step is to hold "town meetings" with intramural researchers, inviting their complaints. In the first of these, scientists gave Healy an earful of their concerns, ranging from parking and working space to government purchasing and travel procedures.

Responding to these concerns, Healy says that the NIH's $9 billion budget gets congressional attention. "Once you break the billion dollar barrier there is scrutiny of every penny you spend," she says.

Similarly, travel, especially foreign travel, is "a lightning rod," always subject to close scrutiny, Healy says, "and it's never going to be