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NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/      

Office of the Director


The director of NIH gives overall leadership to NIH activities and maintains close liaison with the DHHS assistant secretary for health in matters relating to medical research, research training, health professions education and training, manpower resources, and biomedical communications.

The NIH director also maintains close communications with other constituents of DHHS in order to provide more effective program relationships.

To fulfill these responsibilities and obligations, the director is assisted by a professional executive and administrative staff.

A deputy director shares in the overall direction of the activities of the National Institutes of Health. A deputy director for intramural research deals with the scientific policy problems of the research institutes and divisions and represents them in the overall policy councils of NIH. An associate director for intramural affairs and an assistant director for intramural planning aid in maintaining overall direction of all intramural research.

A deputy director for extramural research--in collaboration with an associate director for extramural affairs--directs the development and coordination of NIH policies and procedures for awarding funds in support of medical research and provides policy guidance for the Division of Research Grants, which administers and processes grant applications.

An associate director for disease prevention supervises medical technology assessment and transfer from the laboratory to the clinical setting. This assessment is provided through the Consensus Development Conference, under the Office of Medical Applications of Research.

The associate director for AIDS research formulates scientific policy and recommends allocation of resources for AIDS research at NIH.

An associate director for clinical care is adviser to the director on matters and policies pertaining to clinical research conducted or supported by NIH.

An associate director for research services is responsible for the management of technical and selected administrative services to all NIH components and provides national leadership in research safety policy and methodology. Four primary units function under the associate director--the Divisions of Engineering Services; Safety; Space Management; and Technical Services.

An associate director for legislative policy and analysis is the primary policy advisor on matters related to the Congress and the NIH, and guides legislative policy, analysis and development activities. Also under the purview of the associate director is liaison with the Congress, DHHS, and other Federal agencies on issues affecting NIH programs and activities.

An associate director for administration guides NIH management procedures and activities; advises on, develops and implements policies, procedures and methods for budget, contracts and grants management, financial analysis, accounting, auditing, and personnel management functions. The ADA functions through seven divisions: Financial Management; Management Policy; Management Survey and Review; Personnel Management; Procurement; Logistics; and Contracts and Grants.

An associate director for communications is primary policy adviser on communications activities, including scientific and public information. The office is also responsible for overall direction, planning, and coordination of NIH information activities, and directs information liaison with DHHS and constituent agencies.

The Office of Recombinant DNA Activities (ORDA) was established in 1974 as a result of nationwide concerns over the safety of research involving the manipulation of genetic material. First located in the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, ORDA was transferred to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in September 1979, and in 1988, to the Office of the Director, NIH. ORDA is responsible for administering the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, and for ensuring compliance with the “NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules.” To this end, ORDA serves as a national focal point for information and for providing advice to organizations including biosafety committees, Federal agencies, state and local governments, and the biotechnology industry.

An associate director for research on women’s health is responsible for ensuring that NIH-supported research focuses on issues pertinent to women’s health, assuring that women are included in biomedical and behavioral research, and enhancing opportunities for women in biomedical careers. The associate director serves as director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health and as codirector of the Women’s Health Initiative.


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