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NIEHS Staff Honored: NIH Director's Award

By Blondell Peterson
August 2005

Perry Blackshear
Perry Blackshear

Cindy Lawler
Cindy Lawler

Kathy Odenwald
Kathy Odenwald

Four NIEHS employees received the NIH Director's Award July 18 at Natcher Auditorium in Bethesda. They are Perry Blackshear, Thorsten Fjellstedt, Cindy Lawler and Kathy Odenwald.

The award is given to employees who exhibit superior performance or special efforts significantly beyond their regular duty requirements, but directly related to the NIH mission.

"I'm really proud of the people we are honoring here today, but also I'm very proud to work here," said Elias Zerhouni, NIH director. "I'm very privileged to be your director. More importantly I think it is telling that institutions know their best people and reward them, award them, congratulate them and recognize them publicly, are the ones that understand what true north is. I think you'll see this through all the awards that we are bestowing today on dedicated employees of this agency that have faced challenges and continue to do outstanding work and move us toward our ultimate goal of improving public health."

Blackshear, the only NIEHS individual award winner, was recognized for the "Discovery of Tristetraprolin family RNA-processing proteins, their role in regulation of inflammation via growth factors of TNF." His discovery of Tristetraprolin generated widely cited coverage in Science magazine.

Lawler was a member of the National Institute of Mental Health Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment Team. She was recognized "for scientific and programmatic contributions to research on autism."

Odenwald was selected as a member of NIH's Equal Employment Opportunity program restructuring team as part of the One HHS Initiative. The team was tasked with moving all 29 centers and institute EEO functions to one centralized office. That office is now called the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management.

"We also decreased the personnel size from 90 to 75 by the end of FY 2004 and aim for a decrease to 65 by the end of FY 2005," Odenwald said. "I was honored to receive this award. I feel all the work, meetings and travels I did for this project was finally acknowledged and appreciated. NIH is truly a good place to work!"

Fjellstedt, now retired, was a member of the Office of the Director Roadmap Central Implementation Team. He received the award "for outstanding contributions in the development of policies and procedures underpinning Roadmap Central implementation."

Thorsten Fjellstedt
Thorsten Fjellstedt



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