By Suna Gulay, PhD
Hello NICHD postdocs,
Dr. Michael Gottesman, NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research, spoke at the May FelCom meeting to address the recent security issues involving foreign national visitors on campus. Dr. Gottesman explained that there has been an HHS policy in place since 2011 requiring pre-clearance of foreign nationals from the four countries declared as state sponsors of terrorism by the Department of State (Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan).
However, this policy has not been well communicated, and only after a recent update, the computer system started requiring the country of origin be indicated for visitors. This led to a non-US citizen graduate student getting escorted off of the NIH campus during his postdoctoral position interview, and another non-US citizen visitor missing the first day of a meeting that was held at NIH because of clearance issues.
Dr. Gottesman expressed his deepest apologies for these incidents, and he explained that NIH is reviewing procedures to ensure all guests are treated with respect and NIH staff understand their responsibilities in handling the necessary pre-clearance requirements before visitors arrive. An email will be out soon to clarify the policies on foreign national visitors of NIH.
To receive the monthly minutes of FelCom meetings, subscribe to the FELLOW-L listserv! To learn more about how FelCom is helping the NIH postdoctoral community, join a meeting! We meet every first Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. in Building 1, Wilson Hall. The next meeting will take place on August 1, 2019.
Have a productive and delightful month!