The NIH Philippines at Seven

Manila Bulletin, February 21, 2003 | Go to article overview

The NIH Philippines at Seven


Science knows only one commandment contribute to science.

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. Andrea, in The Life of Galileo, sc. 14 (1939)

LEAVING the clinic earlier than usual, I told the nurse on the way out, "If anyone looks for me, I'll be at NIH." She gave a puzzled look so I spelled it out "National Institutes of Health, UP Manila!" She smiled and gave the fake nod of "I -see-of-courseOK!" And it got me thinking, the NIH she knows is the NIH-ver heard and the NIHver mind!

What is the NIH? The NIH was created in 1996 by the UP Board of Regents to be "a major resource of the health research and development community and of the Filipino people." As such, the NIH is home to eight institutes: the Institute of Biotechnology and Molecular Biology, Institute of Human Genetics, Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, Institute of Health Policy and Developmental Studies, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Ophthalmology, Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Ear Institute, and the Manila Studies Program.

I would like to think of the NIH a silent triumvir as it relates to the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DoST). But silent does not equal mute if mute here means "unable to speak: dumb." (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 2000).

Thus Spake NIH. Protean Jaime Z. Galvez-Tan MD, MPH, newly installed Executive Director of NIH Philippines and Vice-Chancellor for Research, UP Manila would rather think that silent does equal mute if rendered as "remaining silent, undiscovered, unrecognized."

He says, "This must change."

He continues, "One of the objectives of the NIH is to establish mechanisms for the dissemination and utilization of research outputs. This really means giving our researchers and scientists a friendly nudge asking 'Would a Sex Bomb dancer want to understand your output?'" Good point, Owww! Now my question is "Would your hypothesis make it to Game KNB?" Yes? Game na! …

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