Transcripts: Dr. Lindberg Retirement Symposium Videos
- Transcript: Fair Winds and Following Seas
- Transcript: Reaching New Horizons
- Transcript: Reaching New Horizons with Notes of Appreciation - Betsy Humpreys
- Transcript: Reaching New Horizons with Notes of Appreciation - Douglas Fridsma
- Transcript: Reaching New Horizons with Notes of Appreciation - Linda Walton
- Transcript: Reaching New Horizons with Notes of Appreciation - Glen Campbell
- Transcript: Reaching New Horizons with Notes of Appreciation - Benjamin Young
- Transcript: Reaching New Horizons with Notes of Appreciation - Peter Reinecke
- Transcript: The Right Crew for the Voyage
- Transcript: The Right Crew for the Voyage with Notes of Appreciation - Kent Smith
- Transcript: The Right Crew for the Voyage with Notes of Appreciation - Anne Altemus
- Transcript: The Right Crew for the Voyage with Notes of Appreciation - Martha Fishel
- Transcript: The Right Crew for the Voyage with Notes of Appreciation - George Thoma
- Transcript: The Right Crew for the Voyage with Notes of Appreciation - David Lipman
- Transcript: The Right Crew for the Voyage with Notes of Appreciation - Kent Smith Closing Remark
- Transcript: Voyaging with the NIH Fleet
- Transcript: Voyaging with the NIH Fleet with Notes of Appreciation - Betsy Humphreys
- Transcript: Voyaging with the NIH Fleet with Notes of Appreciation - Anthony Fauci
- Transcript: Voyaging with the NIH Fleet with Notes of Appreciation - Vivian Penn
- Transcript: Voyaging with the NIH Fleet with Notes of Appreciation - Harold Varmus
- Transcript: Voyaging with the NIH Fleet with Notes of Appreciation - John Galin
- Transcript: Voyaging with the NIH Fleet with Notes of Appreciation - Roger Glass
I, Donald Lindberg, do solemnly swear That I will support and defend the constitution of the United States.
It seems clear that the trend toward increasing specialization is not likely to change.
This means, of course, that the need for information systems that span disciplines and that integrate and evaluate knowledge will be evermore necessary.
The truly thrilling progress in such fields as cancer research and molecular biology will be to the average citizen not an idle curiosity or newspaper headline but a matter of immediate personal concern.
For the practitioner of medicine the book or a journal on the shelf will become increasingly too remote for immediate patient care decisions and the computer-based personal information station will become increasingly useful, comforting, perhaps essential.
Computer and information science will increasingly become a major field of study.
In medicine, lagging as usual, humbly behind medical informatics will emerge as a formal research field and academic discipline.
The poet Alexander Pope said very well in 1700 Now to the extent that investigation of man's cognition, learning, and decision making -- that is his information processing skills -- can lead to better representation, storage, and retrieval of knowledge in medicine, then these studies must be an essential activity of the National Library of Medicine during the coming decades.
What a remarkable video and what an amazing collection of predictions from the man we're here to celebrate back from 1984.
I hope you caught all of that and saw just how remarkably true and prescient his observations were -- probably in 1984 considered to be utterly unrealistic and the ravings of somebody who had somehow decided medical informatics actually mattered which most people at that point didn't yet realize.
So what a great introduction to the reasons we're all here to celebrate Don Lindberg -- hearing those words -- and now some 31 years later, gathering to give thanks to the person who did so much to make those words come true. Who became, as the quote said, the air that medical informatics breathes. So welcome to all of you. I'm Francis Collins, the director of NIH.
I'm pleased to make one of the commentaries, of which there will be quite a few this afternoon, to honor and celebrate my friend and colleague Don Lindberg. He is, as you know, one of NIH's longest serving leaders and a pioneer, as you heard, in applying computer and communications technology to biomedical research, to health care, and to the delivery of health information. I know that people have traveled here today from across the US, even from Alaska, Hawaii, and across the Atlantic to be here. I'm particularly pleased to welcome Don's wife Mary and his sons Don and John -- all of them sitting down here in front -- really glad you all are here.
Don arrived here in 1984 from the University of Missouri.
He was trained as a pathologist but he became an international expert and innovator in information technology, artificial intelligence, computer-aided medical diagnosis and electronic health records. In 1988, just four years after arriving, he became founding president of the American Medical Informatics Association and a leader in the field of biomedical informatics.
Here at NLM, Don created programs that transformed our approach to information, introducing free internet access to Medline via PubMed and MedlinePlus for the general public, giving patients access to information that previously had been unavailable and distilled through other sources, which might or might not have accurately reflected the information they wanted. Don was determined that they would have that access themselves. Other creative efforts -- the Visible Human Project which illuminated countless explorations of young people trying to understand the human body and probably drew quite a few of them into science and medicine.
Unified Medical Language System, ClinicalTrials.gov, which we are now counting on to become the place where all information about clinical trials appears in a timely fashion. Along the way, and maybe particularly near and dear to my heart, he created the National Center for Biotechnology Information, NCBI, authorized by legislation introduced a ways back there by Congressman Claude Pepper. NCBI databases, as you know, Including GenBank, PubMed Central, dbGaP, ably lead by David Lipman, and is now the focal point for big data for decades providing access to data from the Human Genome Project, but now to many other types of data evolving from high throughput technologies of many sorts. Outside of his role at NIH, Don also lead important interagency programs, perhaps most notably as the founding director of the National Coordination Office for High Performance Computing and Communications in the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy.
He's been committed all along to delivering high quality health information to all, from health professionals to the public, in disadvantaged rural areas and inner cities, he's expanded the scope, therefore, of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and for 31 years, he has lead in taking advantage of developments in computing and networking, insuring the NLM has the reliability, security, and high-speed connections necessary to keep pace with the rapidly rising demands.
So let me quote from the February 19th, 2015 NLM Board of Regents resolution congratulating Don.
They said: He has changed fundamentally the way biomedical knowledge and health information is collected, organized, and made available for public use in small villages in Alaska and Mali, as well as in laboratories of Nobel Prize winners.
He has therefore empowered the public and transformed the conduct of research, the education of students, and the care of patients. So to recognize Don's lasting contributions and based upon the enthusiastic recommendation of both the NLM Board of Regents and the NLM senior staff, the Board of Regents room on the second floor of NLM will henceforth be named the Donald A.B. Lindberg Room.
Congratulations and best wishes, Don.
So today there is virtually no lag between new knowledge coming out of any kind of research activity, and its clinical application.
The basic reason for that is what the National Library has done taking advantage of the new technology for the transmission of information.
If you talk to graduate students in many places or post-docs, NLM and NCBI is in fact NIH. That's all they know about NIH. They see it in front of the screen every day.
We know the excitement that the entire world has around computers computer science and mobile devices.
I think the National Library of Medicine is the only institute at NIH that channels that excitement directly into medicine.
The National Library of Medicine has been a critical funder in our development of HealthMap and other technologies that support public health efforts.
A resource that now millions of people are using on a daily basis to understand important health topics in their community, in the world at large.
The National Library of Medicine has obviously made the world's medical literature available to everybody, every citizen.
I breathed PubMed Central. I mean, I would just go up and down through the articles, looking for the free versions of them, because I mean I'm a high-school student.
Oftentimes, it's the National Library of Medicine that I turn to, and not just as a reporter but also as a doctor.
ClinicalTrials.gov is a place that I often send my patients.
No longer do people have to come into the library to get information, and librarians are moving out of the library to provide direct access to that information to the users they serve.
We love our National Network of Libraries of Medicine's Southeastern Atlantic Region. They are just terrific and that is due to the National Library of Medicine and the support that they give us which is invaluable.
Every day, NCBI gets close to four million users coming to our website, and many of them come from all over the world, so we see international outreach as being really critical to the mission of the National Library of Medicine.
Satellite technology provided by the United States National Library of Medicine is being employed in the fight against malaria by providing internet access to research sites in 19 African countries.
WISER is a tool that's really developed for first responders to use when there's a hazardous material spill or an incident. For instance like EPA actually called us a day or so after Katrina saying, "Gosh, can you get this downloaded on some Palm Pilots?" When we first started out with our project, our building did not have electric.
We did not have connectivity that we do have now.
Recently we had the satellite internet input. Of course, our generator, our facility is now able to plug in.
I push MedlinePlus. I eat, breathe MedlinePlus. It's just amazing, you know, the amount of information that they have on the Website.
Don Lindberg made medical technology, medical science, available to people all over the world. He in effect brought the National Library of Medicine into the modern age.
And I just marvel, historically, at what an achievement that was.
I am Betsy Humphreys, NLM's current deputy director and one of the many who have had the great pleasure and privilege of working for and being mentored by Don Lindberg.
To achieve the sweeping advances in biomedical and health information infrastructure, that Don has led at NLM, takes more than vision, more than anticipation of technology trends and even more than the involvement of key constituents in inspired long range planning. As Don clearly recognized, you also need deep engagement with current and potential users of information systems. You need basic informatics research, multidisciplinary workforce education and training, standards development and implementation, support of public policy, and enduring partnerships and relationships with many different communities, and our first panel today will speak briefly about just some of the many external connections that Don fostered during his tenure at NLM. So in order of making their remarks they are Dr. Douglas Fridsma, President and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association; Linda Walton, current President of the Medical Library Association; Glen Campbell, US Managing Director, BMJ Publishing group and also Chairman of the Board of the Friends of NLM; and Dr. Benjamin Young, Director Emeritus, Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii; and Peter Reineke former Chief of Staff for Senator Tom Harkin and also former Research Director for Congressman Claude Pepper.
So take it away Doug.
Thank you, Betsy. I'm delighted here to speak on behalf of the over 5,000 members that are part of the American Medical Informatics Association.
And I think one of the things that is so important to recognize is that by 1984 when Don was appointed to the National Library of Medicine he had already established himself as a premier leader in the field of informatics.
At a time when we today are thinking about consumer engagement and electronic health records, Don was one of the first people to develop a way for patients to enter their symptoms directly into a computer that could then be interfaced with a physician. He developed some of the early laboratory systems that now we take for granted in many of the hospitals that we go to, and developed some of the early decision support and technology that helped with rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatology. I think the informatics community had great hopes for Don as he took this position, and I think they have been spectacularly realized. With the work that has gone on with the Visual Human, Medline, NCBI, and other projects, Don has really over the course of the last 30 years brought, as he predicted in 1984, biomedical informatics into its own.
The thing I think that's important, though -- and I'm going to quote Emerson here -- is that "The scholar is that man who must take up into himself all the abilities of the time, all the contributions of the past, and all the hopes of the future." And I think if you think about Don, scholarship alone does not really explain all of the outstanding achievements of a professional career that really has spanned over 50 years.
From a personal perspective, Don supported legions of fellows who trained in Informatics, and I was one of those, and that training has led me to the career that I have here and to the work that I'm doing. But he supported not only the scientist, but he also supported users as far away as Alaska in the work that he produced. But I think one thing that I'd like to just note, and this is something that comes from many of the members that we have within AMIA is that Don and his most important collaborator Mary have really brought a humanizing personal touch to the community of informatics professionals. He has graciously received many of the people within the profession into his home, sometimes onto his boat, and I think what he's done is he's created a profession that is not only the informatics community that we know, but a group that we really can call part of the family.
So thank you, Don.
Dr. Lindberg, on this special occasion, it is an honor and a privilege to represent the health sciences library community in wishing you a wonderful retirement with your lovely wife Mary. I think it's fair to say that had it not been for your vision for the role that technology and information plays in support of our nation's health care, education, and research enterprise, my career and that of many others would not be what it is today.
From my very first Medical Library Association annual meeting, one that shall not be named, until my recent visit to your office, I have marveled and respected your ability to go where no information specialist has gone before. From end-user searching to bioinformatics, to disaster preparedness, you have led the way for librarians to develop and expand their expertise through the use of technology. We have been and continue to be the envy of the other library specialties as we embrace new roles and expand our knowledge base. This could only have happened because of your vision and the outstanding programs that NLM provides to the health sciences library community. Dr. Lindberg, when I asked my colleagues for feedback on what I might share with you today, their response always focused on two themes.
First, they appreciated the respect you have always shown librarians and the ways you have demonstrated support through grant funding, collaboration, and appointments of librarians on the NLM committees, working groups, and boards.
Second, I received comments about your interest in the professional lives of people in general such as: Personally, I have always admired Dr. Lindberg's ability to focus and listen to what someone has to say no matter how trivial it might seem. While at Woods Hole, Dr. Lindberg took time to get to know every person involved in the program, and he engaged them in a conversation about their goals and aspirations for the profession and their career. And who has not been touched by seeing the picture of Dr. Lindberg's grandson sitting on his lap while conducting a MedlinePlus search.
Dr. Lindberg, during my last visit to your office, I asked you how you knew that disaster preparedness information would be so critical to our world. 'Was he God?', I thought.
How did you know that our fragile world would experience one disaster after another? Your simple and wise reply was: I saw a gap that needed to be filled.
Your fearless spirit of envisioning the next gateway of necessary tools and resources, and your unwillingness for the library to provide less than the extraordinary, has challenged us.
It also furthers MLA's mission to foster excellence in the professional achievement and leadership of the services we provide to enhance the quality of healthcare, education, and research. Dr. Lindberg, as you prepare to retire, we are confident in knowing that the strong foundation of programs and services that NLM has developed during your tenure will be the cornerstone of the library's future.
You have brought together a strong tutelage of staff who will ensure that NLM's comprehensive collections of unmatched resources and tools continue to evolve as users' needs change. I'm privileged to have been a member of the profession over the years you have served as director of the National Library of Medicine. Your legacy of high professional standards in excellence has elevated the profession to new heights, nurtured strong collaborative ties across scientific disciplines, and will help forge a fork in the road for the next generation of NLM programs and services.
The members and staff of MLA join me in congratulating and thanking you for all you have done on our behalf.
We wish you every success and happiness as you embark on the next part of your life's journey. Thank you.
Hi, I'm Glen Campbell, and I'm Chair of the Friends of the National Library of Medicine, so I'm speaking here as a privilege today on behalf of not only the BMJ and the managing director position I hold, but also as the Chair of the Friends, and particularly the Officers who are here: Dr. Ken Walker, Dr. Dennis Cryer, Barbara Redman, and Naomi Broering, who have all worked with and had the pleasure of working with Dr. Lindberg on the Friends.
So I know that much has been written about Dr. Lindberg's leadership and the transformation of the NLM over the past 30 years. At last May's symposium, "The National Library of Medicine 1984 to 2014: Voyaging to the Future," we were all witness to just how profound a transformation that has been and of its great impact on the global biomedical research community and its work. I don't know that I could add anything or put it more eloquently than Dr. Collins did in his introduction about Dr. Lindberg. Basic and clinical researchers, clinicians and health care practitioners, patients, and their families all have access to the most comprehensive biomedical data and literature through Dr. Lindberg's efforts and those of his team.
His is a living legacy because the team he led at the Library, will continue to build on the achievements of the past 30 years.
On a personal note, my introduction to Dr. Lindberg came about through a working group of the American Medical Publishers Association, AMPA, a professional association that was subsumed by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers, which represents all STM -- scientific, technical, and medical trade publishers -- and a team at the NLM including Sheldon Kotzin, Betsy Humphreys, Elliot Siegel, Joyce Backus, Maria Collins, and many others. The publishers and the Library had been engaged in some very lively discussions about myriad issues of mutual concerns including PubMed Central and Medline. For reasons not very important now our first meeting could have been the last meeting. It was not.
And our group has morphed over the past 14 years into an ongoing dialogue, and we continue to meet three times a year to address and resolve issues of mutual concern.
Our many successful collaborations include the Emergency Access Initiative, which provides free-of-charge access to health care institutions, practitioners, and emergency responders during disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami in Japan, and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
We've jointly sponsored workshops including one on archiving, as well as addressed issues about maintaining the integrity of the medical and scientific literature in the rapidly challenging world of the Internet. We owe much of our success to Dr. Lindberg's commitment to and success in finding the common ground on which to build it. Dr. Lindberg has always shared his keen intelligence, his knowledge, and his wisdom without condescension. With humor and good cheer, his suggestions -- and I'm sure many of you know the best of these are provoked by some -- as he would put it: Well, that's just foolishness. This comes with "I wish I could do it. I just don't have the capability." Or the raised eyebrow.
He is a master of nonverbal as well as verbal communication.
Some skeptical data does not escape him. All of his suggestions improved our group's outcomes. His recognition of the overlap in our missions, particularly around the active role that the medical and scientific literature plays in improving research outcomes and patient care, facilitated a solutions oriented approach to our discussions. Over these many years, I've had the pleasure of appearing now and then on a panel of one meeting or another with Dr. Lindberg, and these meetings and dinners usually afforded the opportunity to discuss with him and Mary Lindberg books and photography and more.
I am sure that many of you know Dr. Lindberg is quite the photographer. In each of his photos, the detail is informed by a larger context. This approach is so reflective of Dr. Lindberg's success at the library. He sees and he gets the detail, but never loses sight of the big picture. When I reflect on the marvelous and wondrous achievements of the past 30 years, I know that Dr. Lindberg's first-rate scientific mind, informed by the soul of an artist is at the heart of them.
So on behalf of the Friends and, indeed, the public who use and value the Library's resources, please allow me to express my personal gratitude for all that I have learned working with you and from you, and to Mrs. Lindberg and to both of you, actually, today and every day, I wish you all the best as you embark on this next voyage.
Mary Lindberg, Don Lindberg, thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of this panel
I had a spiel put together, but I decided to chuck it after I saw the program, because as you notice, the program focuses on voyaging
Four decades ago, I was part of a small crew of Hawaiians that built a canoe, and we sailed that canoe to Tahiti and back to Hawaii, a distance of other 6,000 miles, without the use of modern navigational instruments, and so you can imagine how astounded I was -- one day I walked into the rotunda of the National Library of Medicine, and there was a replica of our canoe, and it's still there. Well, 200 years ago one of Hawaii's queens, Kapiolani -- 'kapio,' the arch, 'lani,' heaven -- the arch of heaven -- had a motto. And her motto was: [spoken in Hawaiian] Always strive to reach the summit
The other night I was at a dinner that honored Dr. Lindberg and Mary, and I was really amazed at the diversity of voices similar to the diversity of voices in the "Native Voices" exhibit, because there were Jews and Gentiles, black and white, red and brown, males and females, so many diverse groups that were there that night to recognize and thank Don Lindberg for his contributions. Everyone commented on his skills and leadership and the impact he made on their lives to guide them to the summit. So as we look over that summit onto the next horizon, I close with this statement that is one of my favorites
That like our ancestors, all our ancestors, we too must point our sails into the wind and always reach for those landfalls that are still untouched
Thanks. I'm Peter Reinecke, and I'm honored to be here to honor someone who I've known for almost 30 years, and to give just a really quick perspective on why Dr. Lindberg is so widely respected and admired by one important audience of NLM/NIH, and that's the leaders on Capitol Hill.
I worked both in the House and Senate for a little over 20 years, and I have to say one of the first times I met Dr. Lindberg was in 1986. He had come with Francis Humphrey Howard, the vice-president's sister -- Dr. Kent Smith I think I remember being in that meeting as well -- to visit my boss Congressman Claude Pepper to try to convince him that Congress needed to pass legislation to establish a National Center for Biotechnology Information, and most likely Senator Pepper who had been very involved in NIH issues over his career -- he had cosponsored or sponsored legislation creating many of the NIH institutes and centers, I think all but two up until that time, but he knew Francis Humphrey Howard from past interactions, and I think that was the first time he had met Dr. Lindberg, but Dr. Lindberg immediately captivated and took in Congressman Pepper with his explanation about why the center was so important, why it needed to be at the National Library of Medicine and the impact it could have into the future on health and wellbeing in the country.
Congressman Pepper immediately got it. He immediately understood and agreed with Dr. Lindberg on the need for such a center and put a staff to work, quickly, to get the legislation moving. I have to say, on the way back from Congressman Pepper's office, the staff was thinking, 'People don't know what biotechnology is. It sounds kind of scary. Maybe we should change the name.' So it was really visionary and ahead of its time, and yet with Dr. Lindberg's leadership and his keen ability to explain things in a way that a lay person could understand and immediately grasp what's in it for me, that's what propelled the legislation forward, and it was signed into law just about a year after that first meeting. But that first meeting indicated three core qualities that made Dr. Lindberg such a respected and admired person by leaders on Capitol Hill.
First, it was so obvious he had a keen understanding of the science and medical research.
Second, as I said, he had a real gift in translating very complicated things into understandable and captivating meanings for the average person.
And, third, it was a vision for the future that was so clear and believable that you immediately bought into it and trusted it.
That lead members of Congress over a period of 30 years to build a sense of trust and moving to him for information and -- particularly information about what impact does this have for the future. He was always seen by leaders on the Hill as somebody who got what the future held.
Just a few other quick remembrances.
Over the years so many efforts by Dr. Lindberg to make medical information available to the average person.
In 1997 when he came to Capitol Hill and launched the first Medline search with then Vice President Gore; and my second boss Senator Tom Harkin, when he launched in 2003, the NIH Senior Health, and then he also didn't just stay in Washington.
I know Senator Harkin was so impressed by his interest in going out and visiting and seeing people in the field.
He came out -- I think it was in 2000 -- on a very icy day to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to launch a project called Information Rx so that physicians, particularly primary care physicians, could write their patients a prescription for doing a search on MedlinePlus to get information that the patient needed on their condition. And then also in 2006 when he launched the NIH MedlinePlus Magazine, which was another way again to get that information about what NIH/NLM is doing to the average person in a way that was understandable and interesting to them. And so one last point I'd make -- it's really important to emphasize the length of his service.
Those 30 years really make a difference in terms of the image of NIH as a stable, steady force amongst leadership on the Hill, when that consistency of seeing someone who's so respected they are year after year somebody you can count on, that translated to greater respect for NIH, and so that is something that should be pointed out. Thank you Dr. Lindberg.
And thank you to all of you.
People had associated the National Library of Medicine perhaps with the adjective 'venerable' and we took it right to the other end of the slider bar in terms of adventuresomeness and doing things that we didn't quite actually know how to do with Unified Medical Language system and creating NCBI and new avenues in digital imaging and new services in an internetted world, so, That was a very heady time.
The NLM, I think stands above all the other institutes at NIH in understanding that informatics is really a research endeavor and has made a priority to train informatics researchers.
What I've watched the NLM do particularly under your leadership is start a program and then adapt to what we learn.
The UMLS -- -- the Unified Medical Language System -- maybe in and of itself wasn't research. What it was was an unbelievable resource that has enabled all sorts of research. We're using the UMLS as a knowledge base.
Vetting medical answers requires medical expertise and I want to thank NLM, because without the resources that you put out there, we'd still be on the starting line today.
When I want to hold up what a bureaucrat can actually be, I hold up Don Lindberg. Here's a guy who is very smart. He always plays by the rules scrupulously but he's visionary enough to actually make these large ideas happen.
We have tens of thousands of genomes, not just one, and all of that has to be assembled in a place where people can compute on it and learn from it, and that's where NLM is just a central hub of information that we all depend on. The resource itself is now one that one could not do without.
I think for those of us who are are out in the trenches still doing biology, without NCBI we simply couldn't do it. We wanted to genotype the 10,000 participants in the Framingham Heart Study. We wanted to put the genotypes and the phenotypes together in a common database, and before we knew it there was dbGaP database Genotype and Phenotype. The potential of what this is going to do in educating the American public about American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiians...
We're still here. We're still alive and well. There is great beauty in our respective cultures.
It's very, very satisfying and a great pleasure for me to see what the Library has done and particularly to see, Don, what you've done with the Library, because during your tenure, you have really expanded its activity beyond anything where we had any vision of for the Library.
It's a great pleasure to be here today to take part in honoring Don Lindberg, my chief, my close colleague, and my friend.
I have here with me an exceptional panel that I'll introduce to you in just a few minutes, but, first, I can't resist a few comments, after all Don and I worked together for 20 years as a team, really a very special time for me, Don.
It all began in 1984 when a reporter from JAMA arrived at my office to interview me concerning the choice of Don Lindberg as the new NLM director, so I was trying to be really careful to say the right thing to this reporter, so I said, and I quote, Dr. Lindberg is a person, I believe, who will bring a whole new perspective on information science to the NLM. Really, one unparalleled in the history of the Institution. I guess maybe Don heard some of those words of praise and said, Hey, maybe I'll keep this guy Smith around as my deputy, anyway.
And as you all know it turned out that I was correct in stating the vision and the influence Don would have in changing the path of this institution. But on a less serious note, let me briefly take you back to those very first days after Don arrived on the mezzanine.
One of his first questions to me was, Where are all the damn computers? So a bit shaken, I said, Well, we have a real big one downstairs in the computer room. We have some nice terminals down there in the reading room, mezzanine are armed with these really cool IBM Correcting, Selectric typewriters.
Well, definitely that wasn't the right answer.
Two weeks later I walked into my office to find four large boxes piled up in my room with a sign attached to them that said, Put this computer together in your office.
So I'm saying to myself, Man, what do I need this for? My assistant takes great shorthand, and if necessary, I've got a Dictaphone, and if all else fails, isn't that why Bell invented the telephone? Well, shortly thereafter computers were ubiquitous all across the NLM, and online services became a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week proposition.
Yes, we discovered there really were people out there in the Pacific Northwest after 5:00 p.m.
Over the next 20 years, the achievements piled up with the introduction of GratefulMed, outreach programs to underserved communities, Medline free over the Internet, and Don's major mission-altering initiative of creating the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
There were many more contributions, but I'll leave that up to the expert panel that I have here who will fill you in on their very own perspective.
So let me introduce to you the panel.
First up will be Anne Altemus, who operates a great audiovisual program, which you've seen some real evidence of, and who has traveled far and wide with Don, helping to document Native healing practices and other many outreach initiatives.
Following Anne will be Martha Fishel, a powerhouse who is responsible for managing NLM's public service program and MedlinePlus. You've got to love Martha: She tells it just like it is.
We will then turn the page to George Thoma, a very innovative communications engineer who has been with NLM for, I think, 40 years and doing major things in the Lister Hill Center even back to the satellite programs, as I believe.
And following him we will call upon our dynamic cleanup batter, Dr. David Lipman, who since the inception of NCBI has been its outstanding leader.
So first up to bat, Anne.
Thank you so much, Kent, and good afternoon to everyone.
It's a real privilege for me to participate in today's program in honor of Dr. Lindberg. I would like to make a few comments today in the panel on behalf of the visual artists at NLM, including myself and my colleagues in the Audiovisual Program Development Branch at the Lister Hill Center, and many other people throughout the Library who are tremendous visual artists in their own respects.
Now Glenn had stolen some of my thunder to discuss Dr. Lindberg's talent in photography, and many of you may or may not know of his beautiful pictures, that line the walls, his photographs that line the walls of the NLM boardroom, heretofore known as the Don Lindberg Boardroom, and also his office, and his work is just lovely.
It is very rare to find someone who is so deeply focused on science and medicine and who can also understand the power of the aesthetics of visual information to convey a concept or a message. His support of this notion has allowed for the combined creative application of visual art, communications, and display technologies to a wide variety of bio communication programs throughout the Lister Hill Center and the NLM.
Dr. Lindberg knows, I believe, that creativity in its many forms expresses itself in different ways, and so throughout his tenure, he has often gathered together groups of folks with different perspectives and talents, including artists, to explore new ideas and find a way to make things work. In one of the most recent projects that we worked on together for quite a few years, he invited a variety of artists to join a diverse group from many other NLM divisions to work on the development and production of the Video Interview Database for the current Native Voices Exhibition at NLM. And so we began a journey that would last eight years and take us across the lands of the country to Native communities so we could bring their stories and their perspectives back to NIH, and we made a few stories of our own along the way. As a photographer Dr. Lindberg understood when during a production trip to Alaska we had sent him an email just before he had landed and arrived, and we were reporting that we had everything lined up for the next day's production.
We were going to interview, I think, 10 to 12 Native youth Native healers on that particular day, and we had the afternoon free and that we wanted to spend the afternoon testing the new 4K camera that at the time Sony had lent us for our production, and we wanted to head north to Denali to capture the landscape and the beautiful cloud-filled sky before it got too dark.
His email back was -- and I quote -- Great. Go chase the clouds. See you tomorrow.
The next chapter in that little story: And he knew -- and we had not known -- because he had been to Alaska before, that this concept of June in Anchorage too dark never really happens.
And so this explains why we were able to discover the power of 4K video capture at dusk at midnight and still see the horizon in the picture and then realize that we have three hours to drive home to get dinner -- which we never did get -- but we learned along the way.
As a storyteller, Dr. Lindberg understood when the video crew raced against the clock on the Kalaupapa Peninsula to capture the sunset on such beautiful and sacred land, because he knew like we did that it would be an important visual contradiction to the tragic history of leprosy in Molokai, which is told in the "Healing Way" section of the exhibition.
And then on the Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota one very, very cold October morning, we in turn understood why he and Mrs. Lindberg joined us quite early to set off on an off-road journey with our Lakota parks ranger to chase herds of buffalo on the Fort Cotton Preserve. We all knew that those images would be essential to tell the story of the Native American culture, their beliefs, and the healing power of Tatanka in Native communities. The exhibition's collections of Native art, objects, and video has resulted in a three-dimensional human exhibit on the current state of health in our country's Native American population.
The opening sequence that we showed today to open our ceremony featured some of Dr. Lindberg's comments at his swearing-in ceremony in 1984, and one segment that we did not include in that video but was part of the ceremony, I would like to comment on today by closing. Then Director James B. Wyngaarden, NIH Director at the time said the following, and I quote, Don Lindberg has a humanism that recognizes that technology is a tool to serve people, and that like medicine there is an art as well as science involved in information technology, and so it reminds me and it reminds us that Dr. Lindberg came to NLM with an understanding of the important role of art and visuals in the communication of medical and scientific knowledge and in healing.
We have -- those of us who have worked with him through the years -- especially on the Native American project -- come to learn and truly love a signature phrase that he uses when we are working together as we develop interactive media programs. Whenever he can, he likes to insert an additional piece of content under the title Tell Me More." Well, I have much more to tell you, but my time is up, so I'll just say thank you for your support as top artist at NLM and for the latitude you afforded all of us to innovate, iterate, and create. So thank you.
Thank you, Kent for that introduction.
I'll try to tell it like it really is.
It's truly an honor to be representing Library Operations and our network of Library colleagues this afternoon.
I just hope they didn't pick me because I've been here even longer than Dr. Lindberg.
When Betsy asked me to speak and mention that my esteemed colleague David Lipman would also be on the NLM panel, I approached David about collaborating, so we came to the conclusion that there is actually one thing we agree on, and that is that our director Donald Lindberg possesses three fine qualities that have enabled us to do our work better and for NLM to stand out as a leader in technology, science, and communicating health information to patients and families.
First, he is a creative thinker. You can see this in every form at NLM, his photographs on the walls, his interest in artificial intelligence, and his personal curation of the Native Voices Exhibition are just a few. Secondly, he's quick to recognize the creative ideas of others when he sees them.
Thirdly, and perhaps more importantly, he has the courage to stand up and fight for his own and others' ideas so that they have the best chance of getting done.
These qualities have had a major effect on so many important projects at NLM and many in LO, but I'm just going to mention three.
When Dr. Lindberg first came to NLM, the focus was to serve the clinicians. All that changed in the 1990s when patients became a priority. An idea developed. Create a website with reliable health information from NIH and other government and noncommercial websites that would feed the growing need for health information for consumers, patients, and families.
MedlinePlus launched in September 1988, and despite the fact that there were other commercial sites out there with similar products, Dr. Lindberg absolutely supported the funding, staff, and access to licensed content that makes MedlinePlus stand out as the most reliable and authoritative source of consumer health information. Today MedlinePlus serves over 83,000,000 visitors a quarter. Secondly, Dr. Lindberg has shown an unwavering support for building and maintaining NLM's collection. It has grown by 60 percent in the 30 years he has been here, in a building that was never meant to hold what it does today. Dr. Lindberg supported a major renovation of our stack areas, strengthening the floors, and installing compact shelving in areas not originally designed to hold that much weight, because he felt so strongly about keeping NLM's collection at NLM. Now there is space to grow until at least 2030 and perhaps beyond. No tribute would be complete without mentioning one of Dr. Lindberg's favorite programs, the NLM Associate Program.
This is a one-year residency for recent library school graduates interested in life and health sciences library careers.
The program started over 40 years ago, but it might have faltered had it not been for Dr. Lindberg, his interest in these interns and the contributions their success promised. Under his leadership, the program grew to include an optional second year during which the associates could work at another health sciences institution. Associates are now found in leadership positions at NLM, around the country in libraries, universities, and in business. A former associate who joined me for lunch last week is now president and CEO of a large, well established social science consulting and data management business here in Bethesda. He'd love to get an NLM contract.
This can't end without one quick shout out to Mary Lindberg who has devoted so much of her own life to NLM.
Mary, it's hard for any of us to imagine sitting through all those Board of Regents meetings unless we had to.
That is true dedication.
Dr. Lindberg, on behalf of Library Operations, thank you for all you have done.
You have made NLM a much better place in your time here, and it will be really difficult for us to think of it without you.
So among the many varied and important contributions, Dr. Lindberg, that you've heard about and will continue to hear about, I just want to focus on three things: Dr. Lindberg as an innovator, a humanitarian, and a teacher.
So giving some examples here, first as an innovator, for decades as everybody knows bibliographic data for Medline was laboriously and manually entered by keyboarders, and in 1994 several unanticipated things happened.
There was a government shutdown around that time, and we lost the contracting company that was responsible for keyboard entry. Obviously, something had to be done and done quickly, and Dr. Lindberg saw an opportunity to change the paradigm. He said let's not focus on manual entry, introduce automation. So we quickly put together a team, and using technologies that we had been using in other projects -- document scanning, optical character recognition, text extraction algorithms -- we rolled out the first version of what we called the Medical Article Record System or MARS, and now in its third generation and 16th year, the MARS system continues to serve the Library, all because of Dr. Lindberg's prescience, his thinking out of the box, and his belief that innovation is a key to the future.
Secondly, Dr. Lindberg as a humanitarian.
Now disasters have always been with us.
You've heard a little bit from other speakers about this.
They are both natural and manmade, but Dr. Lindberg might have been the first to see how the right information and the right tools at the right time could mitigate the consequences, so his vision resulted in our Specialized Information Systems Division, providing up-to-date and relevant information when there's a hazardous spill on the highway or chemicals spewing out of an industrial site or something of that sort.
In a different way, we in the Lister Hill Center also got into this space by developing the NLM People Locator, a website that we deploy during large scale disasters for family reunification.
Family and friends post pictures, names, and ages of people who they are trying to find, and these can be seen by anyone around the world and searched. So we have done this more than a dozen times, probably 15 or 16 times. The first one was the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and the most recent ones in 2014 were two typhoons in the Philippines and a devastating flood in Kashmir. Tens of thousands of people in all of these disasters have posted and searched for photos and metadata on missing people.
The inspiration for creating the NLM People Locator and several smart phone aps that also help in reporting and searching came from, I believe, Dr. Lindberg's deep seated belief and humanitarian impulse that we as a Library and an R&D center, can help alleviate the affects of one of the most devastating misfortunes that can befall anybody -- loved ones who go missing during a flood, an earthquake, a typhoon, or something like that.
Finally, Dr. Lindberg as a teacher.
Some years ago, I was sitting in his office telling him about a recent introduction of a French language version of our Turning the Pages System, and this system by the way, allows people to touch and turn the digitized pages of rare historic works from our History of Medicine Collection, and for some reason I can't remember, I happened to mention the French national anthem calling it La Mar-say [phonetic].
Without missing a beat Dr. Lindberg, a man of great erudition and humor, corrected me -- La Mar-say-ez [phonetic] he said.
The name evoking not the town of Marseilles, but the people of Marseilles. So knowing his reputation as a Francophile and a French language speaker, I didn't doubt he was correct, but I was touched by his taking this opportunity to make my mistake a teaching moment just as my dad would have done had he been able to speak French, of course. [Laughter] So thank you, Dr. Lindberg and Mrs. Lindberg.
Dr. Lindberg for being an innovator, humanitarian, and teacher.
And we'll miss you. Bon Voyage.
Okay, well, I'm going to be giving a really fully personal perspective on Don because he's been my boss for over 25 years, and actually proof that that's been good, as I'm really sorry to see him go as my boss. But I want to talk about a particular aspect of our relationship, which is -- you know, NCBI now does a number of resources that are really quite popular and seen as a real success, but a number of them did not always have universal support in the beginning. GenBank -- some groups didn't really want NLM to do it. PubMed, even, there was issues.
PubMed Central, of course, well known for that, and PubChem, and there are others, and for each of these projects at times there was such strong resistance in the beginning that there were some difficult decisions to be made as to how or whether we could really go forward or not, and Don, thank God, was not a micromanager, but I knew that at times I was going to have to set up a meeting with Don and discuss what we do next, and it would always go like this. I'd get the appointment set up.
As I walk through the B1 Level, my mind was just churning with details and scenarios and pros and cons, and risks, and so forth.
But I'd get to his office. He'd greet me, and we'd sit down.
He'd close the door, and the first part of the meeting we'd talk about anything but the issue at hand. We'd talk about some recent trip he might have taken, some beautiful photographs, or maybe some scientific discovery having nothing to do with the issue or maybe even what one of my kids were doing.
They were young when I started here. And somehow when the conversation had reached the point where we'd gotten enough distance, enough perspective, he'd raise the issue and start to ask me about, well, what really is the impact this resource can have, and who's it really going to help, and what strategy was NCBI from a technical point of view going to be taking on this? How confident were we that we could deliver what we said we were going to deliver? And in the end, given that perspective and that distance, as we know now because we're looking back, he'd give the green light, and I'd get up and walk out of there really charged up and feeling I had his complete support.
And I have to say that I think that that ability to put things into context and to achieve the distance to have a proper perspective allowed Don to really appreciate the benefits of these projects and to balance that against the risks, and that I think has been just a tremendously important aspect of his success as a leader. He always kept that perspective, and he was willing to take risks because he really understood the benefits. And so I really feel lucky to have reported to Don for over 25 years, and I will miss those chats. So thank you, Don.
I want to thank all the panel members, and I'd like to closewith one quote from the late Senator Claude Pepper, a great friend of NLM and NIH, and he said: Life is like riding a bicycle. You don't fall off unless you stop pedaling.
So Don and Mary, all the best,and keep those pedals moving.
We have seen this great institution grow from a collection of books in the Office of the Surgeon General of the Army now to over three and a half million pieces of material relative to the subject of medicine, and it's made available to the nation and to the world by one of the finest communication systems there is anywhere.
The National Library of Medicine has been such a pioneer in bringing real language of medicine to the public. I think it's one of the greatest traditions of NIH.
We will take a little adventure with your United States Senator here and see what he can do by introducing the Internet Grateful Med.
Today on Capitol Hill the National Library of Medicine's Medline Internet database is made free to the public.
The super highway on medical information will now become a freeway. This development by itself may do more to reform and improve the quality of health care in the United States than anything else we've done in a long time.
I like Don Lindberg and what his associates think about why a library exists. He's one of the best minds in this country on medical communication no matter how you slice it. This is a tremendous accomplishment.
In fact SNOMED is going to be distributed by the National Library of Medicine through its Unified Medical Language System.
We actually at NLM alone answer a million inquiries a day. A day? A day. It's a staggering amount. It's going on 400 million a year.
NLM is, I think, the glue that will allow us to make a huge difference in global health. Fifty percent of the National Library of Medicine information is used by U.S. users and fifty percent by the rest of the world.
Although, we here in Washington know we need to get out the message to the public generally, and I think the magazine will be a very good instrument to help do that.
The NLM has a lot of really smart people who are driven to make the scientific literature more accessible, not just to scientists but to everybody around the world. These notions have transformed the way science is done and perceived by everybody who has any contact with the scientific community.
The whole principle that powered NLM's embrace of open data for decades is that if you want to change the role with the power of data, don't just have your own smart people work on it.
Have all the other smart people in the world who care desperately about helping health care, take that power of the data and turn it into magic.
Now NLM is no ordinary federal institution. It has been characterized as one of the jewels in the crown of the public health service.
Now in the last 30 years or so under the leadership of Don Lindberg the Library's mandate has been broadened considerably, which has also increased its positive impact on so many aspects of the public's health.
The National Library of Medicine is the window that the public and the scientific community use to look at all of the wonderful proliferation of information that's been pouring out of laboratories and is doing so at an accelerating pace.
So when Don arrived at NLM, he had actually a very strong interest in increasing the Library's collaborations with the rest of NIH.
Today's NLM's joint activities with other NIH institutes, centers, and offices include dissemination of consumer health information, access to publications and scientific data, joint intramural research, joint funding of extramural research, and quite a lot of work on public policy, and we have assembled a panel of current and former NIH people to reflect on their interactions with Don and with NLM, and they are in the order in which they first knew Don.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who had already been at NIH for quite a while when Don arrived in 1984.
Dr. Vivian Pinn who became the first permanent director of the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health in 1991.
Dr. Harold Varmus who became NIH Director in 1993, and, of course, then returned as Director of the NCI in 2009.
Dr. John Gallin, the Director of the NIH Clinical Center since 1994, and Dr. Roger Glass, Director of the Fogarty International Center since 2006.
Thank you very much. It's really a great pleasure, Don, to join my institute director colleagues to pay tribute to you. I've had the distinction, as you know, of sitting in the same room with you at institute director meetings for 30 years.
It's been quite a trip, and I have observed you from the side of my eye with your eyebrow raising when certain things have been said.
I'm going to miss that. Also, I'm going to be somewhat compromised here because you're the only person on NIH leadership who has a stronger Brooklyn accent than I do.
And so now the burden is on me.
But seriously, Don, people sometimes when they talk about what they've done, they have a historical revisionism.
They revise history. You did something spectacular.
I was blown away by that video of you on October 11, 1984 when you made predictions that were striking and stunning in their vision. Things that I have to tell you I, myself, didn't even fully understand when I heard them, but you said it and it happened, and I think that's something you should be really, really proud of. To have said something, to have put your application to it, and to get it done.
As Director of NIAID, your influence has been profound on what we do at NIAID, and I think each of us probably has a similar story with the ability to rapidly and deep sequence multiple quasi species of microbes from HIV to tuberculosis to influenza. The kind of capabilities you put at our fingertips made what we do possible.
I don't think we could have done it without the vision that you put into it. Also, all of our clinical trials that we've done from the large network of HIV clinical trials with ClinicalTrials.gov, again, we would not have been able to do it as well as we did without your input.
Probably the most recent example of this -- and it was said on one of the comments in the film -- was the issue of global health. Right now, as many people know, I'm knee-deep in the middle of what's evolving in West Africa with the Ebola outbreak, and I can tell you that literally on a daily basis, I'm back and forth with our colleagues in West Africa, and whether it is in Monrovia, Liberia, Freetown, Sierra Leone, or Conakry in Guinea, people are using the applications of the things that you brought to them with your vision, 30 years ago, so thank you very much for that. But, also, importantly thank you for being what you are as just a genuinely, decent, honest person who it's been a pleasure to deal with over these Years. Thanks a lot, Don.
I knew about the NLM before coming to NIH and had been a beneficiary of the outreach that Dr. Lindberg was responsible for to so many groups and so many organizations, as representatives of the NLM came to my office when I was at an HBCU at Howard University here to make sure that I was aware of all of the programs that were in place at the NLM and to ask me how they could work with me to bring that information to the students and other faculty members at Howard at that time.
And, of course, I have a particular fondness for Dr. Lindberg because we're both pathologists, and so we are of that special personality of individuals that some people consider strange, but that we think are really wonderful with the background in pathology. I want to just mention a couple of things where Dr. Lindberg personally and the NLM were of great assistance to what was then our new office, the Office of Research on Women's Health, in being able to meet and carry out some of the programs and requirements that we had. One of the things that was written into the legislation related to our office was that we needed to devise a way -- and the legislation for our office really instructed us to increase the participation of women in minorities in clinical research, and one of the directives was that we should establish a way that women would be able to determine what clinical trials existed and how they could enroll in them.
Well, you can imagine that would be a huge undertaking and something that would require far more than our office would be able to do, and working with the NLM and Dr. Lindberg's leadership, we held forums, we held symposia, and he brought in people to talk about clinical trials and how we can best gauge them, and, of course, eventually the establishment of ClinicalTrials.gov really made a difference for us in our outreach and our purpose, and also in responding to what had been a Congressional directive for the NIH, which our office would not have been able to do on its own or even to impact, just to be able to work with him on that.
But one particular aspect of the mission of our office was to enhance opportunities for women in science and medicine, and I want to bring to your attention the Changing the Face of Medicine Exhibit. I often wished that I could say I could take credit for that, but I can't. Dr. Lindberg, along with his wife really had the vision for this exhibit. It was a traveling exhibit and an exhibition that was in the NLM and that traveled the country for many years, up until about two years ago. If you're not familiar with it, let me remind you that it was an exhibit that included women physicians to really show the contributions that women have made as physicians in this country, and it includes both historical figures, as well as those who are alive and practicing today. It is really a landmark exhibition that is just typical of the kinds of exhibits that Dr. Lindberg has been responsible for establishing.
He had a committee made up of representatives from across the NIH, so there was broad NIH input into developing this project. Tenley Albright I think is here today, and Tenley was one of those who helped with the development of this project and she is obviously featured in the exhibit, and this exhibit went on to travel the country, and I had the privilege of going to many of the places where the exhibits opened around the country with Dr. Lindberg often there himself.
Those of you who review bios of women physicians will notice that how often just being included in this exhibit is mentioned as a very proud accomplishment for the women who are featured, but more than that, for women not just those who are well known.
He also collaborated with members of Congress, with AMWA -- the American Medical Women's Association -- to solicit names of local heroines in medicine who might not otherwise be recognized, and they were also included in the exhibit bringing to the forefront, for recognition, woman who were local heroines who were contributing through medicine.
I think this is a great example of how you collaborated across NIH and outside of NIH with so many different organizations that not only your contributions and all the other aspects that your colleagues have talked about, but also contributing to the contributions that we wanted to recognize for women's health and women in medicine, and I could go on with other examples, but I'll close with that, just saying thank you for not only what you did to assist our office, but also what you did to assist me as a very new office director when I came to NIH. Thank you.
So Don and I have gotten to know each other pretty well during my two sojourns at the NIH, but we started with a deep, ineluctable bond of both being graduates of Amherst College, and that of course has enhanced our relationship along the way
I want to mention just three brief anecdotes that represent the kind of contribution that Don has made in three areas already mentioned: Clinical trials, global health, and access to the literature. And in each of these cases not only has Don made a contribution directly, but he has served as a guide to people in his staff who have carried out many of these things, and one thing you learn when you're an institute director or an NIH director is that it's good to take credit for things your staff does "on my watch," right, Don? First in global health -- in the 1990s, around 1997 Tony and I and a few others were trying to build malaria research in Africa, and one of the things that we noticed was the places that were trying to do research on malaria in Africa lacked the informatic equipment and skills, and he helped by sending Elliot Siegel over to sites in Africa to build those sites and provide the expertise that allowed them to do better research and gain contact with colleagues and with the scientific literature
The second aspect that's been alluded to by my two colleagues to my right -- that is helping to set up ClinicalTrials.gov, but beyond just simply according with the law that demanded that we have such a thing, we did it well and opened the door to new initiatives that are ongoing today such as requiring that reports of all clinical trials be registered either in literature or in ClinicalTrials.gov, a means of providing information to cancer patients and to exhibiting transparency in government -- one of the goals of the Obama Administration. Finally, Don has had a significant role in providing access to literature, first through Medline, but more importantly, from my perspective, PubMed and PubMed Central administered through David Lipman and others at the NCBI, and that had a major roll for those of you who understand how publishing has changed in the creation of the open access movement, and for public access and open access we have much to thank Don for. Thanks very much
Don, some folks may say how could a pathologist do what you've done. I think if you go back to your Amherst days and realize that Don -- Amherst, too. Amherst, too. Yes, I'm lucky.
His Amherst days, he graduated magna cum laude in applied mathematics. I didn't even know Amherst had applied mathematics. "It doesn't." Well, Don did and we know what magna cum laude means from Amherst.
It's special, and it shows that that school felt he was going to be a rising star, which he did. I, too, thank you for what you've done for transforming communication of medical information, and I thank you for the Unified Medical Language System, PubMed, Medline, GenBank, the Visible Human Project, as well as Clinical Trials.gov, but I wanted to spend just a few moments talking about two things you did for the NIH Clinical Center community, and I want to share these with the folks in the audience. First, I especially want to thank you for what you did in the aftermath of 9/11. When I saw the plane crash into the Pentagon, I immediately thought mass casualties.
I thought about what we needed to do right then in preparation to accept and care for victims. I called our colleagues at the National Naval Medical Center and Suburban Hospital and was astonished by their responses. "We can't do anything.
There's no coordinated plan." That was a potential disaster, so post-9/11 we worked to develop Bethesda Hospital's Emergency Preparedness Partnership as a model partnership for the country, and I immediately asked you if the NLM could help, and you and your team enthusiastically joined the partnership and provided us with four special initiatives. First, you helped us to develop innovative wireless technology to overcome challenges associated with loss of existing voice communications. A particularly unique aspect of this technology was the invention of a digital pen for documenting patient/victim status in the field and for transferring critical patient information from one hospital to another when electronics was knocked out.
You helped us coordinate our partnership medical libraries to provide access to current disaster preparedness and management literature. You developed a virtual disaster simulation environment for emergency preparedness training, and you gave us access to the Lost Person Finder, which we've already heard about. The second broad contribution you gave to the Clinical Center community was support for the infrastructure to build a tool to manage and merge hospital and science data related to human subjects research.
You cosponsored with us the build of the Laboratory of Informatics Development at the Clinical Center and established a new fellowship program in Clinical Informatics, echoing your long commitment to training informatics leaders.
You helped us recruit one of your former fellows Jim Cimino to the Clinical Center who built the NIH Biomedical Translational Research Information System, which integrates our hospital electronic medical record and the patient-related research information. The legacy of improved communication that you have given to the medical profession is extraordinary, but I would be remiss if I listed your accomplishments without mentioning the grace with which you interact.
In the midst of all your contributions, you convey a deep, daily respect for those around you. You have added a touch of class to the NIH community. How special it has been for all of us to benefit not only from what you have done for us, but from the integrity and humanity with which you have taken up your leadership role. Don, thanks for being a special friend and colleague and advisor, and thank you for all the support you have given to the clinical center, for our profession, and for our community of patients.
Best of luck in your next adventure.
As the last speaker -- are the slides up, please? I'm the only one with slides, but I also wanted to take special thanks.
Don has been on the Fogarty Board for the last six years and has really provided all kinds of wonderful information.
So I want to just take you through the ways that I see Don and we work with Don as really a leader in global health.
My first challenge when I came to Fogarty was to go to Alexandria, to the library set up by Ptolemy a few thousand years ago, that collected all the worlds literature.
An amazing place. And I came back to see NLM -- an institution that I had used -- and I realized that Ptolemy, new Ptolemy was really Don Lindberg.
Now that library was full of papyruses, but the Library of Medicine had to evolve so that books were available, and Guttenberg was the guy who did that, making moveable type and the printing press, and I saw Don as pushing the printer who gave words to the world -- it's really Don who's given medical literature to the world, but it wasn't just in the books, but it was in access, and as I look at global health -- and as we heard 50 percent of the access of PubMed and of NLM is overseas -- he's really been the greatest pioneer for global health on the NIH campus, a real marine in front of many others.
In 1997 when Medline went global and accessible to all, it's those researchers around the world -- it's Americas gift to the global health community. Well, not only did he do this and MedlinePlus, but he brought together literature from over 200 different languages, 230 nations. Don has put this into 40 different languages, alien languages, so he really was able to spread the word on what he was doing. Furthermore, some of these came in the most simple of forms, and when there was an exercise in Uganda to ask community leaders where malaria came from and what could be done to cure it in a community setting, many of the mothers would say that malaria came from eating overripe mangos. You remember this, Don.
Overripe mangos is the mode of transmission for malaria, and it was only the concordance of the rainstorms that let the mangos ripen and the mosquitoes blossom that brought this together. Don said, "No." In 2008 among the exhibits that Don was involved with -- he engaged me when I was just a new director -- and this exhibit, Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health -- and I think the sensitivity of Don and the breadth of vision to the global health mission was clearly evident from that exhibit.
He also joined us at Fogarty in getting the great literature of the world into the published market by this African Journal Partnership which linked eight African journal editors who were paired with editors of major journals, the New England Journal, Lancet, BMJ, and the like to get that literature into Medline and make that information available to us all, to let their voices be heard.
He also worked on this Visible Human Project promoting e-Learning, a concept that we've adopted in the MEPI program in 13 medical schools in Africa and beyond, and this is now distributed worldwide. It keeps those of us as medical students away from those stinky cadavers.
Oops -- excuse me -- and ClinicalTrials.gov -- I've worked on rotavirus trials for three decades now. In the last series of trials we were working on in the early 2000s, the data was not published because the company that made vaccines did not want this data to be in the public domain.
It was Don who opened this clinical data to broader scrutiny through ClinicalTrials.gov. Furthermore, when I was an advisor at WHO -- and WHO wanted to have each country have their own ClinicalTrials.gov. Don, you remember this.
Imagine training people in 200 countries to develop their own network. We said, no, and Don was instrumental in pushing back. Imagine having Google independently in each country. Don supported young investigators as you saw, and I include myself as one of those, Don. I've learned so much from you. Also, Don has linked global and local -- it's sometimes called 'glocal' -- with this wonderful exhibit of Native Voices where he not only got interested in the culture -- and we heard already -- but you had a totem pole carved in the Northwest and travelled across the United States.
I thought it was a tremendous sensitivity to Native populations, and I look at all my other institute directors and I ask: Why don't we each have a totem pole of our own?
Why is Don the only one? So I think it's an issue of sensitivity.
Well, Don, you've done so much to make a huge impact on global health and on research, and I want to thank you on behalf of the Fogarty Board.
You've not only enhanced our vision and or review of manuscripts, of policies, but you've also added our quality in other ways. You know at the Stone House, I actually serve wine for our board meetings on campus -- I have special permission -- and being a board member you said that the Two Buck Chuck that I was getting from Trader Joe's was not adequate.
So you absolutely changed what we did, raised it to a whole new level.
Unfortunately, we have not had time to have what's I think the sweetest thing in the Lindberg family Mary's flourless chocolate cake -- I'm sure your sons appreciate this -- but we want to keep you on our board ex officio, so we have this opportunity in the future.
Well, Don, as you leave and retire, I think we have to say Bon Voyage. This has been a marine theme, and I want to keep you in the driver's seat, but should you fall overboard, keep swimming.
Thank you, Don.
Well, we're in the home stretch. As your program says I'm here just to make a few announcements.
First of which is don't eat mangos.
But the second, I'd like to express on behalf of all of us at the National Library of Medicine our genuine gratitude to the Friends of the National Library of Medicine.
You met the chairman of the board of that group in the first panel here today Glen Campbell. This group has just done wonderful things for the National Library of Medicine on so many occasions over so many years, but in particular I want to thank them for all the invaluable help they gave in putting on this afternoon's affair, which you attended here today, and, furthermore, they contributed as well to the reception, which we're having as soon as we disband here in the Lister Hill lobby, to which all of you are invited.
Please come and join us and mingle and say hello to people.
There's probably a lot of people here that you'd like to see and talk to. I also am very happy to supplement what Dr. Collins said about naming of our board room as the Lindberg Room now. The creation of a new lectureship here at the NIH, the Donald A.B. Lindberg and Donald West King Lectureship in Informatics and/or Biopathology.
It's newly created. We hope that the first occasion of the lecture will be sometime this fall. It's going to be held here at the NIH.
It will be an annual thing, and it will be administered by its three cosponsors who are AMIA -- the American Medical Informatics Association -- the Friends of the National Library of Medicine, and the National Library of Medicine as well.
In due course, when we have selected the lecturer everyone will be duly notified, and we want everyone here to be there for the inaugural. I now would like to ask an old friend of mine -- Cathy, would you please come up to the podium, please. Coronel Cathy Nace is Director of Medical Education for the US Army. She's in the office of the Surgeon General of the Army, and she has something to tell us and to tell Dr. Lindberg that I think will be of interest.
Great, thanks. Well, I hope this isn't last but not least an opportunity to thank Dr. Lindberg on behalf of the Army and to be a part of this wonderful tribute this afternoon, and to be able to present a rather special award from the Army.
It's the Order of Military Medical Merit, and it's a very special award we infrequently award to civilians, so it's really a pleasure to be able to be here today to give this award. It's a formal ceremony that we usually have in giving this award at various ceremonies that we have in the Army, so I'm going to be reading a rather scripted award incitation. But you may notice that as not a usual part of my uniform, but I'm wearing a medallion supported by a maroon neck ribbon, and this we wear on very special occasions. It signifies membership in the Order of Military Medical Merit, also known as O2M3.
The Order of Military Merit is a unique private organization founded by the Commanding General of US Army Health Services Command in 1982 in April to recognize excellence and promote fellowship and esprit de corps among Army Medical Department personnel. Membership in the order denotes distinguished service, which is recognized by the senior leadership of the AMedd and the Army Medical Department.
We're fortunate this afternoon to be able to recognize Dr. Lindberg for induction into the Order.
For more than 30 years, Dr. Lindberg's pioneering work has supported the Army Medical Department as Director of the National Library of Medicine, NLM, improving the education and clinical practices of health care providers, Army, military health system and caregivers worldwide, and the care of the American warrior.
His leadership and vision have been transformative, bringing scientific evidence and published medical literature, public health policy, and expert opinion to every student and practitioner of health improvement and health care delivery.
As the second civilian director of the National Library of Medicine after it was transferred from the Army to the National Institutes of Health in 1956, he consistently recalls the origin of the National Library of Medicine collection as the Army Surgeon General's Library and the commitment to support the AMedd and Joint Medical Force. By doing so, he continues the legacy of Lieutenant Colonel John Shaw Billings, M.D., US Army, whose own vision for scientific transformation of military medicine at the dawn of the age of modern pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, and the application of medical literature immeasurably advanced Army medicine. Since his appointment in 1984, Dr. Lindberg has supported the Army Medical Department and its mission of soldier health and medical care by demonstrating the continued importance of the venerable Surgeon General's Library in its new interagency persona as the National Library of Medicine to military medicine in the modern era. He is highly deserving of this prestigious award reflecting favorably upon him, the NLM, and Army medicine.
So, Dr. Lindberg, if I could ask you to come forward, I'd like to give you this award and place it and read the official citation.
Be it known that the President of the Order of Military Medical Merit by virtue of the authority vested in her and upon the recommendation of the Advisory Council, confers honorary membership in the Order of Military Medical Merit on Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., who through dedicated application of talent, effort, and spirit has made significant exemplary contributions to the United States Army Medical Department.
[Dr. Lindberg:] Thank you.
[Col. Nace:] Thank you, sir. Great.
I want especially for Dr. Varmus and Dr. Galin to know that I believe that Dr. Lindberg is the only Amherst graduate to have ever received this medal.
We come now to the last part of this program. I just want to make a small emendation on the title of this.
It says the last word. We mean the last word here in Natcher, this moment. You will be hearing a great deal from Donald Lindberg on many occasions in the future to come,
and now we'll hear from the man we're celebrating today,Dr. Donald Lindberg.
Ladies and gentleman. Dr. Corn, thank you for keeping it straight. And thank you for my joint Amherst colleagues being present. I'm going to be very brief, not because there aren't lots of good things to say about NIH and this institution we find ourselves in, because there are a very large number, but I do want to say that it's been a great pleasure for me, personally, and I think a benefit professionally to have come to NLM. At the time I came actually everyone who did computer work in medicine knew about NLM, and they knew it was full of really excellent people, and they knew they would be understood, and they would be treated fairly, so it was easy for me to decide that while I didn't really know if I could afford to live in Washington, Mary and I decided we're going to give it a try, and it's been a lot of fun. The institution of NIH was not so well known to me. I knew NLM quite well, and it was, therefore, really a wonderful pleasure to discover that there was just strength and depth all over NIH. There were wonderful people all about it. One of the first I was lucky to fall in with was Tony Fauci. I remember that very vividly.
I think Jim Wyngaarden brought us to lunch. At that time, I must confess, I expressed to Tony my shock at looking at the TV and finding him not well spoken of in the gay community in Brooklyn and Manhattan, in spite of the fact that nobody else was helping him. He was knocking himself out to help, and I did test the Brooklynese by saying to him I thought it was horrible and how could he tolerate this, and he said, Don, don't get angry. Don't get angry, just walk away.
So you were tolerating absolutely scurrilous statements and not losing your temper, and I have found that guidance to have stood me in good stead for all those many years that have passed. The surprising thing is that most of the world, even the country, doesn't really know and understand NIH even now, taking the whole part.
I mean it used to bother Jim Wyngaarden enormously that in some sort of a survey that they kept doing, only two percent of the people ever heard of it.
I mean they didn't have an opinion.
They just heard the NIH as an expression.
So I don't know if we've cranked that up at all, but it deserves to be cranked up because NIH is a really marvelous institution. It's grown a lot since those first days.
I mean not just NLM, but many, many institutes have been added that didn't even exist in those days and deserve to exist. So I guess, I would have to put myself down as now a loyal NIH convert. Although, my heart's in NLM.