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Freedom of Information Act Office

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

September 27, 2002

To: IC Directors
From: Senior Policy Analyst, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors' Meeting Highlights — July 25, 2002

I. NIH Strategic Research Plan and Budget to Reduce and Ultimately Eliminate Health Disparities

Dr. Zerhouni said that addressing health disparities is a priority for him as NIH Director. He wants to finalize the Plan and Budget and foward the document to the Department by the end of the month.

Dr. Ruffin described the document as clearly showing commitment of the NIH and of the separate ICs to eliminating health disparities. Referring back to the Slavkin Report, work that he did together with Drs. Slavkin and Olden to refine plans made in response to that report, and the efforts of the Trans-NIH Working Group on Health Disparities that Drs. Maddox and Fauci led, Dr. Ruffin said that establishment of NCMHD gave the Center the responsibility to continue and build on work that was already under way.

He said the definition of health disparities is a key to focusing and identifying NIH efforts in this area. NCMHD is using the definition that appears in the legislation that established the Center. He believes that having all the ICs' plans for health disparities research consolidated in this document and available to all will help with coordinating activities across the ICs.

Dr. Zerhouni asked for feedback from the group regarding the Plan and Budget. Several IC Directors mentioned the need for implementation plans. Dr. Zerhouni agreed but said that the Plan and Budget must be reviewed and revised at least annually, and he believes the current document does need refinement before we shift focus to implementation.

Dr. Zerhouni asked for all the IC Directors to provide maximum support to Dr. Ruffin and his staff in completing the final modifications of the current document so that it is completed and ready to send forward by the end of the month.

II. NIH Roadmap

Dr. Zerhouni described the Roadmap process as a way to plan directions for NIH to take in designing agency initiatives. He wants this process to help enable him, as NIH Director, to succinctly and publicly say where NIH is headed strategically. He sees particular potential in identifying roadblocks to research progress and gaps in knowledge that have significance across all or many fields of investigation; NIH should lead the way in eliminating such roadblocks and filling in the gaps, thus producing a clearer path to accelerated discoveries.

Dr. Skirboll said that the process will involve five meetings, each chaired by an IC Director and bringing together other IC Directors, plus a few additional NIH staff members who think broadly and strategically, and a few participants from outside NIH. She will distribute a list of committee assignments.

Ideas that emerge from these meetings will form the basis for a discussion session at the Leadership Forum in September.

III. Information Items

Dr. Zerhouni mentioned Monday's press event regarding the public-private partnership to increase enrollment in early-phase cancer clinical trials. The NIH Foundation helped a great deal to make the partnership possible.

Dr. Gallin reported briefly on yesterday's "Afghanistan summit" meeting. He said NIH's contribution will mainly be in training, involving both a few people going to Afghanistan and some people coming from Afghanistan to NIH for training.

Dr. Katz told the group that the Osteoarthritis Initiative Steering Committee will hold its first meting today. He pointed out that this initiative, too, is a public-private partnership (with pharmaceutical industry partners contributing almost one-third of the total funding) in which the NIH Foundation played a key role. Dr. von Eschenbach commented that the Administration has shown that it encourages partnerships of this kind.

Dr. Zerhouni announced that he is establishing a trans-NIH working group on stem cell biology research. He sees a need for a more coordinated approach in order to move forward with research in this field. Dr. Battey has agreed to chair the working group; he will be contacting all the ICs.

Dr. Zerhouni also said that Mr. Burklow is leading the development of a comprehensive communication plan for NIH. He asked the IC Directors to support Mr. Burklow as much as possible in this important effort.

Dr. Zerhouni briefly mentioned the Parkinson's summit that will take place on Monday. The purpose of the meeting is to take an international look at the research field.

Tom Gill
cc: OD Staff

This page last reviewed on August 17, 2011

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