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Transmittal Notice

  1. Explanation of Material Transmitted:  The purpose of this chapter is to provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy and procedures for the naming of rooms in NIH buildings.  This policy does not cover the naming of buildings, which is under the authority of Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  2. Filing Instructions:

Insert:  NIH Manual Chapter 1211, dated 03/22/2017

PLEASE NOTE:  For information on:

The purpose of this chapter is to provide policies and procedures in the naming of rooms in National Institutes of Health (NIH) owned buildings after a prominent deceased individual within an NIH Institute, Center or Office who has contributed substantially to the health of the Nation.

5 U.S.C 301 authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to name or rename HHS owned buildings in the absence of specific action by Congress.

Section 4-6 of HHS Facilities Program Manual (Volume II), provides the policy and guidelines used by HHS to name and dedicate installations and buildings.  This does not address the naming of rooms within a building. 

NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) have expressed a desire to establish a method to name a room after a scientist, researcher, other professional or administrator, for meritorious contributions to the NIH.  

This policy applies to any individual or entity that wishes to recommend the naming of a room, limited to NIH owned facilities.

The NIH Director, Deputy Director, Deputy Director for Management, IC Directors and IC Deputy Directors, have authority to provide suitable acknowledgments of the efforts of individuals who have contributed substantially to the health of the Nation or who have provided gifts for use in health-related activities of the NIH.

This policy identifies the process and procedures to use to name rooms in NIH owned facilities after deceased individual(s) that have made significant contributions to the mission of the NIH.

F. Definitions

  1. Owned Facility – the federal government has fee simple interest (ownership of real estate in which the owner has the right to control, use, and transfer the property at will) in the real property.

G. Responsibilities

  1. Requester: Responsible for initiating room naming request(s) and forwarding it to the Institute or Center (IC) Director or Executive Officer (EO) for guidance.
  2. Institute or Center (IC) Director or Executive Officer (EO):  Responsible for reviewing room naming requests from individuals within an IC, verifying requests comply with naming standards, and for ensuring that all required documents are included to support review by the NIH Director or designee.
  3. NIH Deputy Director for Management: Reviews and makes a decision whether to name a specific room in an NIH owned building for an individual.
  4. Office of Research Facilities Development and Operations (ORFDO):  Responsible for providing guidance to ICs on the placement and mounting of plaques, signage and/or photographs for rooms approved by the NIH Director or designee to receive a name.
  1. Individuals or ICs interested in recommending a room being named after an individual must submit a letter to the IC Director or Executive Officer to include the following:
    1. A biography of the individual to be honored, which should describe how the person contributed substantially to the health of the Nation.
    2. Copies of pertinent documents demonstrating the individual’s contributions to the NIH mission.
    3. Room to be named for the individual being honored.
    4. A sample letter is included as Appendix 1.
  1. The IC Director or Executive Officer will:
    1. Review the letter and associated documentation.
    2. Recommend action to be taken to support naming of a room after the individual to be honored.
    3. Forward memorandum to the NIH Deputy Director for Management endorsing the naming of the proposed room for an individual. The NIH Deputy Director for Management will review the request and approve it, disapprove it, or request additional information.
    4. Work with the ORFDO on the mounting location and requirements for the plaque, signage, and/or photograph of the individual being honored.
  1. The Office of Research Facilities Development and Operations will:
    1. Review official approval documentation to name a room.
    2. Provide guidance and support to ICs for the mounting of plaques, signage, and/or photographs for rooms approved to be named after individuals that made significant contributions to the NIH mission.

I. Records Retention and Disposal

All records pertaining to this chapter must be retained and disposed of under the authority of NIH Manual 1743,"Keeping and Destroying Records," Appendix 1, "NIH Records Control Schedules" (as amended). These records must be maintained in accordance with current NIH Records Management and Federal guidelines. Contact your IC Records Liaison or the NIH Records Officer for additional information. 

J. Internal Controls

The purpose of this manual issuance is to provide guidance to NIH personnel for submitting requests for the naming of a room(s) in NIH owned buildings after an individual.

  1. Office Responsible for Reviewing Internal Controls Relative to this Chapter:
    1. Through this manual issuance, ICs are responsible for ensuring submission of required documentation to support approval of naming rooms.
    2. Through this manual issuance, the ORFDO is responsible for ensuring that any facility work performed incidental to the naming of a room(s) is in compliance with applicable building codes and standards.
  2. Frequency of Review:  Ongoing
  3. Method of Review: The ORFDO will maintain the inventory of rooms named after individuals, documentation to support the basis for the naming, locations of the plaques and/or photographs and validate mounting requirements.
  4. Review Reports:  Review reports are sent, as needed, to the Director, ORFDO and the Deputy Director for Management (DDM). Reports will indicate that controls are in place and working. Issues of concern will be brought to the attention of the Director, ORFDO.

Appendix 1: Sample Room Naming Request Letter – use NIH Letterhead

DATE:            Month Day, Year

TO:                  Deputy Director for Management (DDM), NIH

FROM:            Director, National Institute of ______________

SUBJECT:      Request to Name Building XX, Room XX for _____________.

As you know, ___________was an icon at ____, with an exceptionally distinguished scientific and administrative public service career that spanned more than half a century. After doing important laboratory work on ____________, she made history as the first woman to direct an NIH institute, the _______________. Dr. ___________ held this position for nearly two decades and later served stints as the deputy director and acting director of NIH. She also played key roles in the establishment of the Office of Research on Women's Health and the evaluation of the NIH peer review system.

In all positions, ___________ had extensive, high-level responsibilities that included establishing and leading major programs of national and international interest and importance. Her eminence and legacy are truly unparalleled.

Following ___ death in _______, NIH and _______ leaders have been actively discussing ways to honor ___________the many outstanding contributions to NIH and the broader scientific community. Two proposals that have gained the strongest support are to name the Building XX auditorium for her and to hold a scientific symposium in her memory.

The NIH committee, which includes ____________and ________and which is planning the scientific symposium, asked _______ to take the lead in pursuing the room naming request. The _______Communications Director, __________, is coordinating this effort.

Among the many reasons that it would be an especially fitting recognition to name the room _________ are:

  • Exceptional, substantial, and sustained impact on NIH;
  • Long and close relationship with ___________;
  • Significant and critical involvement in the construction of Building XX, which is named after ___________Congressman _______;
  • Role as the long-time director of the only institute that is completely housed in the building, which is also NIH's most extramurally focused institute; and
  • The fact that the building houses the NIH conference center, which brings in large numbers of people from both NIH and the external scientific community for important meetings and other activities in the main auditorium.

Before submitting this request, ____ staff received guidance on the steps involved from Office of Research Services, Office of Research Facilities Development and Operations, and Office of the General Counsel staff. They advised us to begin the process by sending this memorandum to you. We also consulted with ______ family and received their endorsement of our plans.

The naming of the room number ____after _____________ would not alter the existing name of either the Building or the __________________. This approach is consistent with the way that other buildings and rooms have been named on the Bethesda campus.

Attached are a biographical sketch of ___________and photographs of the exterior and interior of Building XX. The photographs show the following features of the facility:

  • Exterior of Building XX front entrance and office wing housing _____ and other NIH staff.
  • Lobby 03: First-floor lobby of Building XX.
  • Lobby 01: Entrance to the Building XX room.
  • P2 Lower Foyer 01: Lobby outside the Building XX room XX.
  • View of the Building XX and ___________.

Thank you for considering this request. Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information.






Principal Deputy Director, NIH

Director, ORS

Director, ORFDO

Legal Counsel, OGC

Other Relevant Individuals, IC

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