Recognizing Outstanding Work and an Outstanding Staff

a gold trophy cup rests on a red background sprinkled with small gold stars

It’s no secret I think the women and men who work at the National Library of Medicine are world-class, and I take every opportunity to sing their praises. At this time of year though, we also take time to acknowledge formally their commitment and their excellence.

Last week we held a ceremony to recognize the contributions of staff—whether as individuals or as teams—who’ve gone over the top, beyond the usual effort, to accomplish work important to NLM. This year we honored almost 500 people for an array of accomplishments.

We honored many individuals and teams for their special acts of service and exemplary performance for the Library, including exhibiting outstanding leadership, providing expert support, taking on additional responsibilities during times of transition, or toiling behind the scenes to make NLM resources more accessible, secure, and stable. We applauded the group that organized and hosted the NIH Science Day and the team responsible for conducting the security audit of NLM’s mission-critical systems. We recognized the strategic partnership established with a local university to host a conference on digital scholarship, touted the Library Carpentry workshops offered to build staff skills with data science tools, and celebrated the redesign of several important public-facing websites. We recognized our scientists who used large data sets to discover clinical patterns and detect infectious diseases, and we trumpeted women leaders who use their time and talents to foster the careers of other women across NIH.

We also acknowledged staff who received NIH Merit Awards. Besides honoring the recipients themselves, these awards bring important recognition to the talents and contributions of NLM across the biomedical research enterprise. This notable work included developing automated approaches to managing literature and data, strengthening the human chain of information formed through the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and providing quality health information in Spanish.

We honored those individuals with landmark years of service, including 16 people who have worked in the federal government for 30 years or more.  They were joined by 22 staffers with 20 years of service and another 49 with 10 years. Their collective march across the stage represented years upon years of experience and dedication to public service, and their work has made a lasting difference to NLM and to those who use our resources.

And speaking of making a lasting difference to NLM, I was delighted to present Betsy Humphreys with a plaque commemorating her Presidential Rank Award as a 2017 Distinguished Government Executive. I was thrilled to have her back with us, even for a day, and to watch the standing ovation that welcomed her home as a valued and much-missed colleague!

All 1,700 of my colleagues here at NLM make me proud. The Honor Awards simply give us the opportunity to express that publicly, to celebrate their talents and acknowledge their efforts, which, together, make this a world-class enterprise.


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