I was born directly across the street from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. You could argue that that my proximity to NIH ensured that I was destined to be involved in biomedical research. I currently work at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which has opened my eyes to the need for more safe and effective vaccines for an array of diseases.
I first became involved with the clinical aspects of NIH as a routine blood and platelet donor. There is no better feeling than knowing that my donation can help save someone's life. Now that I am part of a Vaccine Research Center (VRC) vaccine study, it enhances that altruistic feeling even more, knowing that my participation may someday save millions of lives.
I have been very impressed with the care and compassion of the VRC clinical staff. They take the time and energy to get to know the volunteers on a personal level, so that when I walk through their door, it is a welcoming environment. I was particularly impressed with how well they chose the "roommate" assignments for the hospital stay during the malaria vaccine research study. They matched me up with someone who had a lot of the same interests as me, so it was a total success. Not only did I leave the study with a sense of gratification, I also left with a new friend that I still meet up with to this day!
Health and well-being are a blessing. I'm happy to share that with the community!