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Freedom of Information Act Office

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

May 19, 2010

To: IC Directors
From: Penny Burgoon
Subject: IC Directors Meeting Highlights—May 13, 2010


Dr. Collins recently returned from a visit to NIEHS and attendance at the NIEHS Advisory Council meeting. While in North Carolina, he also toured the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) programs at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He will visit another CTSA program this Friday at Indiana University, coordinated with an ARRA award announcement with Secretary Sebelius.

Appropriations Hearings:

Dr. Collins informed the IC Directors that NIH continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Drs. Fauci, Insel and Rodgers accompanied Dr. Collins to the April 28th House Appropriations hearing, and Dr. Collins testified alone at the May 5th Senate Appropriations hearing. Congress responded very positively to the 3 videos submitted by the ICs in Dr. Collinsís opening statement (which can be viewed at, and the discussion of TRND (Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases) and CURES generated positive interest. While both appropriations committees strongly support the activities of the NIH, they also acknowledged that difficult funding decisions are imminent.

Leadership Forum:

The NIH Leadership Forum will be scheduled for early September and IC Directors will be contacted for date availability and for possible agenda topics.


DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Deputy Secretary Bill Corr launched a department-wide program to recognize and encourage innovation. An Innovation Council supports HHSinnovates with representatives from every OpDiv and StaffDiv. The Council has developed an awards program that will recognize innovative activities; six awards will be issued twice a year. More details are available at

Discussion Items

NIH Director's Pathfinder Award to Promote Diversity in the Scientific Workforce, Walter Schaffer, OER Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the NIH Director's Pathfinder Award encourages scientists to develop highly innovative and possibly transforming approaches for promoting diversity within the biomedical research workforce. The multi-year awards (up to $2M total costs over 3 years) will focus on innovation to improve retention of students, postdocs and faculty from diverse backgrounds. Any entity can submit an application, using a single PI, 6-page essay format. The Office of Director has set aside $10M for a total of 5 awards and will use a review format similar to the NIH Director's Pioneer Awards. NIGMS will provide program and grants management oversight. Currently, 93 applications have been received and stage one and stage 2 reviewers are being recruited. Notices of Award will be issued in September.

Visit with Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, DHHS

Dr. Howard Koh thanked Dr. Collins for inviting him to the IC Directors meeting. Noting his experiences as a former NIH grantee and as State Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonweath of Massachusetts, Dr. Koh outlined his efforts in support of prevention and public health. As the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), he is focused on, "mobilizing the leadership in science and prevention for the health of the nation."

The ASH is involved in many coordination activities such as tobacco prevention, vaccine plans, and Healthy People 2020 (to advance the collective health of the United States and focus on eliminating health disparities). NIH has played an integral role in many of these activities, and Dr. Koh welcomed the continued presence of NIH in advancing biomedical research and its contributions toward prevention and public health. IC Directors asked Dr. Koh about his views on several topics including public communication and information dissemination, the status of Haiti, the role of the Commissioned Corps, management of Pain, and health promotion and disease prevention.

This page last reviewed on September 12, 2011

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