Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Remembering My Years at the National Institutes of Health

One of the advantages as an applied Medical Anthropologist is that I have been fortunate to work outside of the traditional academic university environment. For 5 years from 1999 - 2004, I worked for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a Health Scientist Administrator. Specifically, I worked for two NIH Instititutes -- the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD).

At NCI, I was hired as a Program Director/Health Scientist Administrator to assist with a specific program in the Comprehensive Minority Biomedical Branch. Following the lead from our Chief, we funded primarily minority researchers across the United States in their cancer research studies. My two years with this particular branch was rewarding and challenging because I had to completely get-up-to-speed to the federal government's professional way of doing business. Once I understood this professional code-of-ethics and style, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

At NCMHD, I was hired as a Health Scientist Administrator/Policy Administrator to assist this new Center in developing the infrastructure of the organization, establishing the very first program initiatives, writing extensive government-wide policy documents, and representing the Center on numerous Department of Health & Human Services committees. My three years with the Center helped me to further professionalize myself in another government agency. It also helped me to recognize that as a trained Medical Anthropologist, I could work in a wide variety of professional fields as long as I was open to constantly retrain myself.

I therefore suggest to all Medical Anthropologists and all academic scholars - TAKE CHANCES TO RETRAIN YOURSELF AND DISCOVER NEW OPPORTUNITIES OF YOUR EXPERTISE!

Check out a few photos from my years at NIH!