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Video: Guitar Playing NIH Director Nails ‘The Sequester Blues’

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If you’re not familiar with Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, you should be. In addition to mapping the human genome and running the largest biomedical research facility in the world, he’s also the most musically gifted federal official around.

Case in point: The video message he prepared for an awards dinner hosted by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) last month. Unable to attend the ceremony, where Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov was awarded a $100,000 prize for his pioneering research into the immune system, Collins ended his video congratulations with a performance of the original song, “The Sequester Blues.”

From the more than $30 billion NIH budget, sequestration is cutting $1.7 billion from the institute’s budget, which supports biomedical research in all 50 states. The budget cuts have raised concerns about the future of the biomedical workforce as the U.S. is one of the only developed nation's to recently reduce its investment in research and development. 

From the FNIH website:

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins provided a video and a song that set the stage at the FNIH Award Ceremony May 14, 2013, where the first annual Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences was awarded to Ruslan Medzhitov, M.D.  Dr. Collins emphasized the importance of training the next generation of biomedical researchers to keep the discovery pipeline full of curious, innovative investigators to take advantage of today’s remarkable opportunities for new breakthroughs in biomedicine.

Watch the video below:


Want more of Collins' musical stylings? Check out video of his 2007 commencement address at the University of Michigan:

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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