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NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins Speaks (and Performs!) at Annual NHLBI Public Interest Organization Meeting

Dr. Susan Shurin - June 4, 2010

The NHLBI's annual Public Interest Organization Meeting has always been an excellent opportunity for patient advocacy group leaders and NHLBI staff to interact with one another and with representatives of major professional societies while hearing about the Institute's current and future research plans. This year's meeting—the 11th annual, held on May 24-25 in Bethesda, Md.—surprised attendees with a special treat.

The first afternoon, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins delivered lively welcome remarks that touched on the five themes he has set for NIH research—including comparative effectiveness studies, translational research, and global health, areas the NHLBI has been dedicated to for many years—as well as the importance of reaching out to the public about science. He commented that of all the NIH institutes, he believes the NHLBI has been leading the way in getting health messages out to the public. Saying that outreach sometimes involves venturing into dicey territory, Dr. Collins showed a video of his latest appearance on The Colbert Report and a photo taken with Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry as part of the "Rock Stars of Science" campaign. Then he proved that his designation as a rock star represents truth in advertising by pulling out his guitar and leading the group in a song he wrote about the future of personalized medicine, called "Amazing DNA," set to the melody of the classic hit "Runaway."

In thanks to Dr. Collins, here are three haiku for the genome:

We gather to share
Successes and challenges.
Dr. Collins sings.

With song and great mirth
The NIH Director
Educates us all.

Wonder of wonders!
We sing, see, laugh and learn of
"Amazing DNA!"

It was an auspicious start to a successful meeting. We will have to work hard to top the performance next year!


Director Dr. Francis Collins sings about the future of personalized medicine to attendees of the NHLBI's 11th annual Public Interest Organization Meeting on May 24, 2010. Click the up arrow and then the CC button to turn captions on/off.

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