Important Message from National Institutes of Health Leadership

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to bring to your attention a matter of great importance for the biomedical research community.  As leaders of institutions that are currently receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health, we are asking for your assistance in combatting a serious problem in our workforce that threatens the health of our enterprise.  Late last month, NIH leadership released an important statement outlining actions NIH is taking to become part of the solution to address sexual harassment in science.  This statement was intended to send a clear message to the institutions we are funding and researchers who lead the research that sexual harassment is simply unacceptable.  NIH has not and will not just look the other way when accusations come to our attention.  We are now sending you this letter to ask our grantee institutions to intensify your own efforts in partnering with us to address this serious problem.

We recognize sexual harassment is about power.  The goal of the perpetrator, most commonly but not exclusively a man, is to objectify, exclude, demoralize, diminish, and coerce the victim, most commonly a woman, to exert power over her.  It’s morally indefensible, it’s unacceptable, and it presents a major obstacle that is keeping women from achieving their rightful place in science.

The 2018 National Academies report on sexual harassment of women in science shined a troubling light on the prevalence of sexual harassment in medicine and biomedical science.  The report also stated that “federal agencies may be perpetuating the problem of sexual harassment.”  In recognition of this, NIH is committed to becoming part of the solution and taking appropriate action toward ensuring a safe working environment conducive to high-quality research.  We have recently established a Working Group of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD), which is charged with tackling the underlying culture that enables sexual harassment and anticipates swiftly assisting the ACD to develop recommendations to that end.

But NIH cannot tackle this problem alone.  Through this letter, NIH is clarifying expectations that institutions and investigators ensure a safe workplace and keep the agency well-informed.  We expect that institutions will embrace their responsibilities to end all harassment in their own scientific workplace.  To this end, we are reminding you that:

  • If a principal investigator or other key personnel named on an NIH grant award is no longer able to fulfill their obligations to conduct research because they have been removed from the workplace because of sexual harassment concerns, NIH requires institutions to notify the agency of this change.
  • NIH expects all NIH-funded institutions to have disseminated and implemented policies and practices that:
    • foster a harassment-free environment;
    • maintain clear, unambiguous professional codes of conduct;
    • ensure employees are fully aware and regularly reminded of applicable laws, regulations, policies, and codes of conduct;
    • provide an accessible, effective, and easy process to report sexual harassment, and protection from retaliation; and
    • respond promptly to allegations to ensure the immediate safety for all involved, investigate the allegations, and take appropriate sanctions.
  • We can and will take action if there are concerns that sexual harassment is affecting NIH-funded research.  For concerns related to NIH-funded research, an email can be sent to GranteeHarassment@od.nih.gov.  We are working to create additional channels intended for confidential sharing of such information and hope to make those available in the next several weeks.
  • While communication to NIH, including through the email address above, does not constitute or substitute for a report of sexual harassment for legal action or investigation, the NIH Office of Extramural Research will follow up with the relevant applicant/grantee institution on all concerns related to NIH-funded research.
  • NIH appreciates your support in strongly encouraging people to report allegations of sexual harassment or assault to the appropriate authorities, which may include your local police department or your organization/institution equal employment opportunity or human resources offices.  We have reminded the extramural community of that and emphasized that individuals may contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights to obtain additional information and file a complaint.  Please see NIH’s Anti-Sexual Harassment website for more information and resources.

We thank you for your support in our efforts to assure that all NIH-funded work occurs in an environment that is safe, that is free from harassment, and that is conducive to our critically important efforts to conduct high-quality research.

Sincerely,

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, NIH

Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., Principal Deputy Director, NIH

Carrie Wolinetz, Ph.D., Acting Chief of Staff, and Director, Office of Science Policy, NIH

Michael S. Lauer, M.D., Deputy Director for Extramural Research, NIH

Hannah A. Valantine, M.D., Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, NIH

 

We’re Here to Help: Arminta Brown

Portrait of Arminta Brown

My Focus:

As a Senior Post-Award Administrator my focus is customer service.  I accomplish this by establishing and maintaining good relationships with all stakeholders.  I set realistic expectations to give them assurances that their needs are heard and will be met timely.  Always asking for their input maximizes successful outcomes to reflect the highest professionalism of our department.

Where did I come from

I received my BSBA degree in Accounting from Rockhurst University.  My introduction to grant awards came when I worked as the Grants Accountant at the Kansas City Area Transit Authority. From that position I was promoted to General Accounting Supervisor. I spent thirteen years with KCATA.  From there I spent four years in corporate America at Great Plains Energy or what’s better known to the public as KCPL.  I was their Generation Accountant and Delivery Accountant.  I came to the University in September 2005 with ATTC.   It was in February 2006 that I began my journey in Research Administration at the Office of Sponsored Programs.

What I love about working in Research Administration

From my heavy accounting background, I love the versatility.  Research Administration is ever changing. Whether I’m working on federal awards, or with public/ private corporations, not for profits, or various universities, domestic or foreign institutions; I’m continuing to learn and grow professionally. Those transitional skills that I’ve gleaned from my prior work experiences mesh perfectly with Research Administration.  Instead of the monthly accounting cycle or as I call it “the accounting groundhog days”, I’m challenged daily in the areas of compliance, contract terms, proper internal controls and subcontract agreements.  Work life is never dull.

Some of my favorite things

I value my relationships with family and friends.  I enjoy entertaining and cooking.  I consider myself a novice foodie.  I enjoy exercise and maintaining a healthy life balance.  No, I’m not a fanatic – just working to stay young at heart and in body. I’m fascinated by what our city has to offer – theater, movies, restaurants and music. Lately, I’m obsessed about learning to paint and crafts.   Loud cheers can be heard from my home all year long because I love sports.  I’m a big baseball, college basketball and football fan.

Core Facilities Spotlight: Mass Spectrometry

Mass spectrometers are ultra-sensitive analytical instruments that identity chemicals (charged molecules) based on an extremely accurate measurement of their mass. Modern state-of-the-art mass spectrometers are versatile “wonder instruments” capable of identifying everything from a mixture of small molecules in relatively pure form to the total identity of every single protein and small molecule found in blood or living cells.  Advances in design, sensitivity, speed and accuracy have made mass spectrometers indispensable instruments for modern biology, biochemistry and experimental medicine.   UMKC is fortunate to have two mass spectrometry facilities, one housed in the School of Biological Sciences and one in the School of Pharmacy.
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Service Spotlight: White Paper Review

White papers are short proposals that provide just enough information to gauge interest from a sponsor and/or to help develop the core argument of a proposal with limited time investment. Our office can provide a technical or non-technical review of your white paper before you send to a sponsor.

Our website has resources to help you write your white paper, including examples. You can also see the types of questions our reviewers will use to evaluate your paper.

Research By the Numbers: December 2016 to February 2017

The Office of Research Services supports the scientific, scholarly and creative endeavors of the faculty and staff at UMKC. From December 1, 2016 to February 28, 2017, our work included:

  • 98 proposals totaling $71,448,881 (Dec. 1, 2016 – Feb 28, 2017)
  • 31 new awards (Dec. 1, 2016 – Feb 28, 2017)
  • 26 invention disclosures (YTD)
  • IRB 2016 turn-around time (PDF)

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