Brief History of the Community Liaison
When the National Institutes of Health began working on its
1995 20-year Master Plan for the Bethesda campus, a promise
was made by then NIH Director Dr. Harold Varmus, who realized
the importance of community involvement in successful campus
growth management. Dr. Varmus assured community members that
they would be involved in the development of the Master Plan.
He then charged the newly created Office of Community Liaison
(OCL) with ensuring that the community was fairly and accurately
represented while the Master Plan was being developed.
To achieve this involvement, the OCL Director sent letters
to over 75 community and homeowner associations, inviting
them to join with NIH in the development of the 1995 Master
Plan. The first meeting of respondents to the letter took
place in January 1995. These individuals became the NIH Community
Working Group on the Master Plan. The group had representation
from over 30 community associations and liaison representation
from the Bethesda Government Center, B-CC Chamber of Commerce,
Montgomery County Council, the National Capital Planning Commission,
and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
It also established two subcommittees on Traffic and Parking
Management and Environmental/Adjacency Issues. Over the course
of the next eight months, the Working Group and its subcommittees
met more than 20 times.
In the fall of 1995, the OCL Director recommended that the
group continue as a formal council. The Community Liaison
Council (CLC) was formed shortly thereafter. It has met monthly
since its inception. It has two standing subcommittees: the
Agenda Subcommittee, which meets monthly between each CLC
meeting to determine the Council's agenda, and the Community
Working Group on the Poolesville NIHAC Master Plan, which
meets as needed when the Poolesville NIHAC Master Plan is
being updated. Various other ad-hoc subcommittees and task
forces are formed as needed.
The CLC is the community's primary point of reference
on NIH master planning. The NIH is currently updating the
1995 Master Plan. The CLC is kept apprised of these changes
by the NIH Office of Research Facilities Development and Operations.
The CLC's role has expanded since 1995. Today, CLC members
play a vital role as a conduit between their respective communities
and NIH. Members are involved with NIH in its planning of
events such as NIH's Premier Health and Fitness Expo: Share
the Health and the Comcast Outdoor Film Festival that benefits
NIH charities. The Council also helps ensure that the community
is involved with and informed about a wide variety of NIH
issues, activities, and plans. The Council continues to provide
a forum for review and comments on NIH's building programs,
Master Plan, and environmental management. It is NIH's key
connection to its neighbors, allowing area residents to provide
input into NIH activities, as well as encouraging the NIH
to reach out and remain a good neighbor to those around us.
previous CLC meetings and future
CLC meeting dates can be accessed from this website.
John T. Burklow, Acting Director, OCL, is available by calling
301-496-3931, or via e-mail at email@example.com.