NIH Director Concedes Discrimination at Agency
                            The Washington Post, May 5, 1993
HEADLINE:  NIH Director Concedes Discrimination  at Agency

SERIES: Occasional

BYLINE: Veronica T. Jennings, Washington Post Staff Writer

 BODY:
#   The director of the National Institutes of Health, the
country's largest and  most prestigious federal medical
research facility, said yesterday that she believes there is
some truth to long-standing allegations that the agency
discriminated against its own employees on the basis of race
and sex.

   Addressing a crowd of 200 employees on the lawn outside the
main NIH administration building in Bethesda, director
Bernadine Healy said she had appointed a task force to
investigate the allegations of discrimination and set  up a
disciplinary process for managers who have engaged in
discriminatory practices.

   "There is no question there is smoke," Healy said. "And
where there is smoke, there is usually fire."

   "I am committed to a harmonious workplace," she told the
crowd, composed mostly of women and minority employees. "We
can't have divisions here."

   Healy's statements followed a meeting yesterday morning with
leaders of the Montgomery County NAACP and the NIH chapter of
Blacks in Government (BIG). Healy requested the meeting after
the two groups held a news conference last week at which
several current and former employees said the agency had
engaged in racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

   Gregory Wims, president of the Montgomery County NAACP, said
that the one-hour meeting with Healy was "congenial" and that
his organization planned to work with NIH later this week to
resolve 60 outstanding discrimination complaints.

   Healy said she was told at yesterday's meeting that the
discrimination complaints, some dating back three or four
years, had created a climate of fear  and retaliation among
some of NIH's 14,573 full-time employees.

   "It doesn't make me happy to hear these things," said Healy,
who will leave the agency on June 30 after two years as
director.
Healy said she also heard "surprising" new allegations of
nepotism at NIH. "If that is true, we will deal with that
immediately, because that violates federal law," she said.

   Last year, 242 informal complaints were filed, alleging
racial and sexual discrimination at NIH, according to Diane
Armstrong, director of the agency's Office of Equal
Opportunity.

   Healy said many of the discrimination complaints alleged
favoritism, although "some of the issues raised in the
complaints transcend race."

   Of the 14,573 permanent employees at NIH, less than one-
third, 4,043 workers, are members of ethnic minorities,
according to the agency's statistics. On the management level,
minorities hold 516 of the 4,010 supervisory positions,
according to NIH statistics.

   Armstrong said NIH has a backlog of 51 formal complaints
from employees who are pursuing legal action against the
agency. Last year, NIH settled 62 discrimination complaints
through administrative or legal action, she said.

   Vincent Thomas, president of the BIG chapter at NIH, said
employees had been  complaining for years about the "old-boy
network" at the agency. A consultant's report last year
detailed a "social network" where key supervisors  were
demanding sexual favors from some female employees, Thomas
said.

   "We have decided this has gone on too long," Thomas said.
"We want the managers who have discriminated against minorities
and women to be disciplined."

   Several NIH employees at yesterday's noon rally told stories
of either being  passed over for promotion despite seniority
and qualifications, or of being the  target of retaliation for
filing discrimination complaints.

   "I cannot get promoted no matter what," said Mike Davis, a
supply technician  who has worked at NIH for 21 years. Davis,
who is white, said he has been denied promotions for 10 years
and has filed two discrimination complaints against the  agency
for alleged retaliation and preferential hiring practices.

   Davis said yesterday that he hopes Healy can make some
changes before she leaves next month.

   "If we keep the pressure on and keep the momentum going, we
may be able to make some headway on this problem," said Sylvia
Stewart, a 30-year employee at NIH.

             GRAPHIC: PHOTO, NIH DIRECTOR BERNADINE HEALY,
LEFT, TALKS TO EMPLOYEE ANNETTE BUDGETT AFTER RALLY. LARRY
MORRIS

TYPE: NATIONAL NEWS

SUBJECT: RACIAL DISCRIMINATION; EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION;
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD; SOCIAL PROTESTS

ORGANIZATION: NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH; NAACP; BLACKS IN
GOVERNMENT

NAMED-PERSONS: BERNADINE HEALY

ORG:  NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED
PEOPLE;