Freedom of Information Act Office
IC Directors' Meeting Highlights
June 6, 2002
|From:||Senior Policy Analyst, Executive Secretariat|
|Subject:||IC Directors' Meeting Highlights May 30, 2002|
I. Clinical Center Issues: CC Census and Activation of the Hatfield Clinical Research Center
Dr. Gallin reviewed CC census data, noting that the long-term (10 15 years) downward trend in inpatient days had leveled off since FY98, until turning down again following September 11 of last year. Based on actual data through April 30, 2002, both outpatient visits and inpatient days for FY02 are projected to be down from FY01 levels, by 8.6 percent for inpatient days and by 1.2 percent for outpatient visits. However, based on data for the past three months it appears that we are recovering from the post September 11 decrease in census. He went on to show that there is a significant variance between the projections for FY02, which are based on actual data through the first seven months of the fiscal year, and the FY02 plan, which is based on the plans for use of the CC as presented by the ICs.
Because of the variance between the FY02 plan and the current data-based projection, and because cost-saving measures were put in place quickly at the CC in response to the dip in the census, it appears that approximately $6.1 million of the FY02 CC Operational and Research funds will remain at the end of the fiscal year. The CC has a congressional authorization to carry these funds over into the next fiscal year. Dr. Gallin recommended doing so, for the funds to possibly be applied toward costs of activating the Hatfield Clinical Research Center. The CRC Activation Steering Committee and the CC Board of Governors have approved this recommendation. No specific use of the funds would be prescribed now, and options would be presented this fall to the various CC oversight bodies and the IC Directors, to determine the best uses for these carry-over funds.
Dr. Gallin's recommendation was approved.
In the discussion of this issue, the group agreed on the importance of the ICs keeping their plans for CC usage from reaching beyond what they will actually be able to do in a future year. Dr. Zerhouni suggested that it might be helpful to base the planning cycle on three to five years rather than using year- to-year predictions.
II. K30 Awards Clinical Research Curriculum Development
Dr. Lenfant reminded the group that NHLBI manages the K30 program, but funds come from the various ICs. There are three issues to discuss regarding the program:
Should the program be renewed?
If the program is renewed, what should the award amount be?
If the program is renewed, should support continue to come from only those ICs that participate or from a collective commitment, perhaps based on each IC's clinical research portfolio?
We are currently supporting 55 awards of $200K per year, 35 from FY99 (funded by 17 ICs) and 20 more from FY00 (funded by 6 ICs).
Dr. Lenfant said anecdotal feedback is that the extramural community likes the K30 program. Dr. Tabak reported that, in his recent experience in academia, the program provided an excellent tool for consolidating an essential curriculum for all clinical investigators, regardless of their specific fields. Dr. Katz said that he hears two major complaints: (1) K30 awards need to be larger, and (2) students who are involved in the program should receive some form of financial support. Dr. Zerhouni noted that many in the academic community feel a need for the NIH not only to support development of a clinical research curriculum but also to define the essential curriculum.
ACTION: Dr. Baldwin will form and lead a small group to evaluate the effectiveness of the K30 program--whether the intent of the program is being effectively carried out, and whether the program is the right mechanism for the NIH to use to work toward better training of clinical investigators.
III. Information Items
Dr. Zerhouni announced that this is Dr. Whitescarver's first IC Directors'
meeting as the permanent Director of OAR and led the group in a round
Dr. Zerhouni noted that everyone should get a copy of Mr. Poppke's binder of material for the June 1 Budget Retreat before leaving the meeting. Information has been added on how NIH programs relate to the priority areas identified by the Research Coordination Council.
Having had a number of briefings and discussions during his first days at the NIH regarding construction and facilities issues, Dr. Zerhouni stressed the need for all facilities matters to be centrally coordinated and asked that no IC go forward with any facilities-related activity without first being in contact with Mr. Ficca.
Dr. Zerhouni also said he was eager to visit the ICs and talk personally with the IC Directors, and that he would be working these visits into his schedule.
Dr. Maddox told the group that the Department is again looking at the possibilities for reducing the number of departmental advisory boards and committees through elimination or consolidation. The NIH has 145 of these bodies, but she believes we are in a good position, having already eliminated a number of committees in the last round of reductions and having also identified 9 obsolete committees that can be eliminated now (but whose elimination requires legislation).
Dr. Maddox also said she is continuing to work with the Department regarding Council slates, about which a number of IC Directors expressed concerns.
Dr. Kirschstein reminded the group that the Advisory Committee to the Director, NIH, is meeting next Thursday. The meeting will include a session on science education that she said will be particularly interesting.
Dr. Katz briefly mentioned the recent GAO meeting on implementation of the Clinical Research Enhancement Act. [IC support for clinical research and how that support is reported will be discussed at an IC Directors' meeting in the near future; other clinical research related matters may be covered at the same time.]
Dr. Collins expressed his appreciation for ICs' participation in the haplotype effort. He assured the group that this effort has good support among the scientific community.
cc: OD Staff