Perseverant. Resilient. Dedicated. Heroic. There are so many words that come to mind when describing 2020 at the NIH. No matter how you define it, it was extraordinary and unforgettable. Although we were often consumed by the unexpected twists and turns of pandemic response, I’m also proud of what we accomplished despite the pandemic.
As a service provider to those conducting groundbreaking research and supporting our patients, it was crucial that ORS’ high-quality services continued uninterrupted on our campuses and virtually, when necessary. Our staff responded to matters expeditiously, fostering a cooperative solution-focused environment, while effectively meeting the rapidly evolving needs of NIH’s coronavirus response. Our employees led the way. We established a cohesive team tasked with implementing new safety and health precautions, designed and operated an asymptomatic carline sampling site, and spearheaded a COVID-19 call center and large-scale contact tracing process.
We also celebrated a noteworthy 40th Anniversary, prepared for and executed a historic Presidential visit, addressed rising social injustice, diversity and inclusion issues, and even kicked off a long-term strategic planning process to become more responsive to our customers, staff and ever-changing environment.
I want to personally recognize the exceptional commitment and dedication exhibited during 2020 in support of NIH’s critical mission. There has never been a more important time to celebrate public service. NIH is at the forefront of our nation’s efforts to tackle major health challenges. ORS, likewise, is at the forefront of protecting the people and science. Collectively, we are, as Dr. Collins often calls it, the National Institutes of Hope.
Colleen A. McGowan, MHA, FACHE
Director, Office of Research Services