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Gratitude for Biomedical Progress and All Those Who Make It Possible

Posted on by Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Group of people holding hands around a dinner table
Credit: Shutterstock/

It’s good for our health to eat right, exercise, and get plenty of rest. Still, many other things contribute to our sense of wellbeing, including making it a point to practice gratitude whenever we can. With this in mind, I can’t think of a better time than Thanksgiving to recognize just a few of the many reasons that I—and everyone who believes in the mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—have to be grateful.

First, I’m thankful for the many enormously talented people with whom I’ve worked over the past year while performing the duties of the NIH Director. Particular thanks go to those on my immediate team within the Office of the Director. I could not have taken on this challenge without their dedicated support.

I’m also gratified by the continued enthusiasm and support for biomedical research from so many different corners of our society. This includes the many thousands of unsung, patient partners who put their time, effort, and, in some cases, even their lives on the line for the sake of medical progress and promising treatment advances. Without them, clinical research—including the most pivotal clinical trials—simply wouldn’t be possible.

I am most appreciative of the continuing efforts at NIH and across the broader biomedical community to further enable diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility within the biomedical research workforce and in all the work that NIH supports.

High on my Thanksgiving list is the widespread availability of COVID-19 bivalent booster shots. These boosters not only guard against older strains of the coronavirus, but also broaden immunity to the newer Omicron variant and its many subvariants. I’m also tremendously grateful for everyone who has—or soon will—get boosted to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your communities as the winter months fast approach.

Another big “thank you” goes out to all the researchers studying Long COVID, the complex and potentially debilitating constellation of symptoms that strikes some people after recovery from COVID-19. I look forward to more answers as this work continues and we certainly couldn’t do it without our patient partners.

I’d also like to express my appreciation for the NIH’s institute and center directors who’ve contributed to the NIH Director’s Blog to showcase NIH’s broad and diverse portfolio of promising research.

Finally, a special thanks to all of you who read this blog. As you gather with family and friends to celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday, I hope the time you spend here gives you a few more reasons to feel grateful and appreciate the importance of NIH in turning scientific discovery into better health for all.


  • Beverly Lorig says:

    I am thankful for you and your many colleagues who stay focused on solving complex health problems during a challenging time for our country and those around the world. May you and your families be safe and joyful!

  • Susan Worth says:

    Five vaccines and after 14 months out from having Covid I still don’t have my taste and smell. Another holiday season without tasting all the delicious goodies. This really affects the brain! Next I’m going to try acupuncture since western medicine and treatments did not help me.
    I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

    • BJ K. says:

      Susan – lost my taste & smell from Delta variety in Jan. 2021. It’s an interesting change in life that affects, well, everything. I had luck with stellate ganglion treatment.

      Thanks to NIH for the vaccines and booster – 5 shots have kept me out of the hospital and probably saved my life. Ocassionally I catch a taste or whiff of something and it is a pleasant treat.

      Happy thanksgiving to all.

  • Gail H. Cassell says:

    Larry, thank you for sharing these special thoughts and for the outstanding job you are doing on all of our behalf during these challenging times. Gail Cassell, former member of NIH Research and Management Board, Director’s Advisory Committee, Member of NIAID and Fogarty Advisory Councils. I list these committees just as a reminder that I have seen you in action over the years and have always known you to be a strong leader!! Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Jerry Bruns says:

    Gratitude is felt by the world around us, healing is a form of energy. I so appreciate and am grateful for all staff I work with. Thank you.

  • Teresa P. says:

    I want to thank Dr Fauci and his team for all they’ve done to keep us safe and healthy. I got my four covid shots, as well as my flu shot and pneumonia shot, even though I still ended up getting mild covid. I’m on dialysis, I’m still alive, and I thank God for that. I thank God for the science and all the technology. You have to be able to do what you do, God bless you, Dr Fauci, I love you. I’m going to miss you when you step down, and you’re my hero. This is from your biggest fan.


    My gratitude to all who work at NIH to reduce the burden of illness and its attendant suffering for the entire world. Special thanks to Dr. Fauci for calmly leading us through the pandemic despite irrational criticism. For those who were listening he made it clear that our understanding of a new disease is constantly modified by new data.

  • Farhad Sarempour says:

    Thanks a lot for being so kind.

  • Victoria says:

    The issue with covid is that it is very much a global pandemic and in the current globalized world that needs to be taken into account. Vaccination rates in Africa and other pockets of the developing world continue to be quite low. Unlike the early 20th century, there is a lot more human mobility with labor markets and such. As the virus has evolutionary pressures to mutate, the issue of imprinting is something that requires consideration in an endemic scenario especially when people are no longer completely naive. Clinical records of receptor mutation in Gleevac studies is meaningful for consideration. Unfortunately, when it comes to public health, there is very much an element of economics and acceptable collateral damage in play. Not all decisions are purely science based. Claiming otherwise, doesn’t really benefit anyone.

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