FYI from the NHLBI Index

May 2012: Vol. 13, Issue 1
Feature Articles

NHLBI Welcomes New Director

On April 5, 2012, Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director, NIH, announced the selection of Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., as the new director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Dr. Gibbons is the founder and current director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, chairperson of the Department of Physiology, and professor of physiology and medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. He expects to start his new position about August 1st.

Dr. Gibbons has served as a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC) since 2009, a position he relinquished after being selected to be director of the NHLBI. He was previously a member of the NHLBI Board of Extramural Experts, a working group of the NHLBAC. He has received 15 NHLBI-supported grants since 1997.

Dr. Gibbons is originally from Philadelphia. He earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency and cardiology fellowship at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. Prior to joining the Morehouse School of Medicine in 1999, Dr. Gibbons was a member of the faculty at Stanford University from 1990 until 1996, and Harvard Medical School from 1996 until 1999.

Throughout his career, Dr. Gibbons has received numerous honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, selection as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Minority Faculty Development Fellowship awardee, selection as a Pew Biomedical Scholar by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and recognition as an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association (AHA). He also serves on editorial boards for several journals in cardiovascular medicine, and grant review committees for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the AHA.

13th Annual NHLBI PIO Meeting

The NHLBI will hold its 13th annual Public Interest Organization (PIO) meeting on Monday, June 11, and Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at the Bethesda Marriott Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland.

Invitations have already been extended. Due to budget limitations and venue restrictions, this year we can only accommodate one representative per PIO.

The meeting starts Monday with check-in at 4 pm and the keynote address from 5 to 6. On Tuesday, check-in begins at 8 am and presentations will start at 9. A meet-the-staff session will pair each PIO representative with the NHLBI staff member whose expertise is most closely related to the PIO’s mission. The meeting is scheduled to conclude at 4:30 pm.

The designated PIO attendee may register online at Please register by Monday, May 21, 2012.

NIH Launches New Clinical Trials Educational Website

A trans-NIH effort has resulted in the launch of a new NIH website, “Clinical Research Trials and You” (, that is intended to serve as a tool to inform and educate the public and healthcare providers about clinical trials. The site explains to visitors what clinical trials are and identifies some important questions they should ask if considering participation in a clinical trial. Visitors can also review the personal stories of clinical trial participants and researchers who conduct trials. Educational materials specific to children, seniors, and Spanish-speaking audiences are also featured.

A section for healthcare providers explains the importance of educating patients about clinical trials. Additional resources for healthcare providers include printable promotional materials that may be posted and distributed in clinical settings and tips on talking to patients about clinical trials

The vocabulary of clinical trials can be new, complicated, and confusing to many. The site has a list of commonly used terms to help patients better understand some of the language they may hear when speaking with their healthcare providers and potentially the staff affiliated with a trial. Visitors to the site will also find resources to identify relevant trials.

NIH Launches Genetic Testing Registry

On February 29, 2012, the National Institutes of Health launched an online tool to navigate the rapidly changing landscape of genetic tests. The free resource, called the Genetic Testing Registry (GTR), is available at

NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who unveiled the GTR at the NIH observance of International Rare Disease Day, said, "I'm delighted that NIH has created this powerful, new tool. It is a tremendous resource for all who are struggling to make sense of the complex world of genetic testing. This registry will help a lot of people — from health care professionals looking for answers to their patients' diseases to researchers seeking to identify gaps in scientific knowledge."

Genetic tests currently exist for about 2,500 diseases, and the field continues to grow at an astonishing rate. To keep pace, the GTR will be updated frequently, using data voluntarily submitted by genetic test providers such as the purpose of each genetic test and its limitations, the name and location of the test provider, whether it is a clinical or research test, what methods are used, and what is measured. GTR will contain no confidential information about people who receive genetic tests or individual test results.

To view video tutorials on how to use the new GTR, go to

Modified 5/10/12
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Last Updated May 2012

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