April 7, 2020
Robert H. Carter, M.D.
Robert H. Carter, M.D.

Dear Colleagues,

There’s no doubt that the global COVID-19 pandemic has upended our daily lives in unprecedented ways. This crisis has imposed unique challenges for people from all walks of life. I want to take a moment to acknowledge the strength, adaptability and resolve of the entire NIAMS community as we navigate this unpredictable situation.

Many of you have had your research and training disrupted. Some of you are having to be especially vigilant to protect your personal health due to underlying medical conditions and other factors. Some of you have headed to the front lines to combat this public health emergency.

At the main NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, the normal bustle has quieted, leaving empty conference rooms and labs. Most NIH employees have been teleworking for several weeks. NIH has cancelled the summer internship program, and will instead sponsor a robust series of on-line offerings for students at all educational levels. Our intramural research program has shifted all non-mission-critical laboratory operations to a maintenance phase in order to promote physical distancing and lessen the risk of transmitting COVID-19. NIAMS extramural staff are evaluating grant supplements and budgets in light of these changing circumstances. Seminars have been either virtual or postponed. We plan to hold the June NIAMS Advisory Council meeting virtually.

We all may be geographically separated, but we are not alone. Consider reaching out to those who may be vulnerable or socially isolated – whether it’s a family member, colleague, trainee, health care professional or neighbor. Whether you want to offer support, or could use some support of your own, maintaining human connections is more important than ever.

It can be difficult to know what normal means these days, but remember we are all navigating this together. The links below provide in-depth information and resources from the NIH and CDC to help you.

These are uncertain times for all of us, and I thank you for all that you do. I am proud to virtually stand shoulder to shoulder with you. Stay safe and be well.

Robert H. Carter, M.D.
Acting Director
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health