Freedom of Information Act Office
IC Directors' Meeting Highlights
January 23, 2002
|From:||Director, Executive Secretariat|
|Subject:||IC Directors Meeting Highlights— January 10, 2002|
I. The National Children's Study
Dr. Alexander explained that this longitudinal study of the effects of environmental exposures in children was first proposed in 1998 and has been endorsed by then-Secretary Shalala and Secretary Thompson. It is being planned by NICHD, NIEHS, the EPA, and the CDC, with participation from 40 other Federal agencies. There was strong support for the study at an initial consultation with the scientific community that took place in January 2000. A congressional directive to perform the study was included in the Children's Health Act of 2000. That Act authorized $18 million for FY01, but the money was never appropriated. NICHD contributed $2 million last year and roughly $4 million this year for planning the study.
The study is currently in the design phase. The group is looking at children, their families, and the environment and developing a core protocol with opportunities to add modular units or special studies. The study population will be generalizable to the US population, with additional study sub-populations. Roughly 100,000 families will be recruited, and the organizers hope to follow the children until they reach the age of 21. Some 25 to 50 data collection sites are planned throughout the US. The study will be multiple hypothesis-based, and 20 working groups are currently looking at possible hypotheses. Other working groups are reviewing the study design, ethics, and recruitment and retention issues. Dr. Alexander explained that the study will be operated by a consortium of Federal agencies and public-private partnerships, and he reviewed the complex operating and advisory structure. He reviewed the proposed funding and those agencies that have already committed planning funds. Dr. Alexander also reviewed the projected time line. Recruitment will begin in FY04, provided funding commitments are received from DHHS and OMB. The total estimated cost of the 20-year study is $2 billion. Dr. Alexander will keep the group apprised as progress is made.
Dr. Fauci noted that the study seems heavily weighted toward risk assessment as opposed to risk management and suggested that CDC ought to be more heavily involved. Dr. Alexander agreed that the focus is on risk but said that we will have data with which to analyze the impact of interventions, which will provide enormous potential benefit. Dr. Alexander distributed a list of all study participants.
II. Planning for an Additional NIH Campus
Dr. Hodes said this is a follow-up to the discussion at the Leadership Forum last fall. The overheads were distributed with the meeting agenda. Next month a series of meetings with IC Directors and OD senior staff members are planned using a questionnaire to solicit input on models, staffing breakdowns, etc. for consolidation of off-campus facilities. Dr. Hodes reviewed the definitions for personnel distribution, year 2020 example models, the scope of work, and a proposed schedule. Dr. Lenfant requested a rough estimate of the costs associated with the various models, and Dr. Hodes said such estimates should be available later this year. He noted that the project actually has the potential to yield cost savings, and Dr. Fauci said we need to emphasize this. Dr. Hodes asked IC Directors to participate personally in the interviews. The action under consideration would consolidate current local off-campus worksites, and in so doing would provide improved environments for scientific and administrative interaction. Dr. Hodes will send out a revised questionnaire when the team schedules individual interviews.
III. Update on the Activities of the Working Group on Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Grants Oversight
Dr. Dean distributed copies of her overheads. She reviewed the events
leading up to the establishment of NIBIB in December 2000 and the activities
that have taken place since then. Dr. Dean reminded the group that NIBIB's
programs are currently exclusively extramural. In August 2001, an agreement
was reached to transfer about 300 grants worth $66.9 million to NIBIB.
In December 2001, the conference report for NIH's FY02 appropriations
language directed NIBIB to establish a task force to review and identify
all appropriate grants to be transferred to NIBIB. This report language
was distributed with the meeting agenda. This led to formation of a nine-member
working group that will have representatives designated by the American
Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Academy of Radiology
Research, and the NIH. The NIH Director retains the authority to make
the final decisions about what to transfer and will then transmit the
information to Congress. Dr. Dean is planning a full-day meeting with
the working group in February. She will give IC Directors periodic reports,
and Dr. Kirschstein assured IC Directors that they will have an opportunity
to review the final report to Congress. In response to a question, Dr.
Dean said that the group agreed not to send IC representatives to working
group meetings at which they review the grants to be transferred.
Dr. Katz mentioned that the NIBIB Director Search Committee has recommended three candidates for Dr. Kirschstein to interview. After Dr. Kirschstein makes a decision, she will present her choice to the Secretary.
The meeting continued as principals only.
Karen Pelham O'Steen
cc: OD Staff