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Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center (CC)

Monday, August 25, 2003

Dianne Needham
(301) 496-2563

Educator, Hospital Leader Ed Howell to Chair NIH Clinical Center Board of Governors

Bethesda, Maryland — Drs. Elias A. Zerhouni, Director, National Institutes of Health and John Gallin, Director, NIH Clinical Center announce the appointment of Ed Howell, Vice President and Chief Executive Officer at the University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville, Virginia as Chair of the Board of Governors for the NIH Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Howell assumes his duties in September 2003.

He brings more than twenty-five years of hospital leadership to the role having served in executive- and director-level capacities at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics and the University of Minnesota Hospitals.

“Ed Howell has vast experience in all aspects of hospital management that he will contribute to the Board of Governors. He has great insight into strategic planning and implementation of strategic plans as they relate to hospitals,” said NIH Director Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni.

“Howell has experience overseeing the design and implementation of hospital information systems and in the construction and move into new hospitals. In these areas he will provide invaluable assistance to the Clinical Center as we prepare to open the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center next year,” said Clinical Center Director Dr. John Gallin.

Howell sees the occupancy of and transition to the new clinical research facility at the top of the Board’s list of priorities. Long-term, he sees the legacy of NIH’s intramural research program and how that program may bridge to the extramural world as major topics for the Board. “We must be prepared to define what constitutes the future role of the Clinical Center and the intramural program,” he said.

“I have a basic belief that over the next decade we will enter the second golden age of medicine as we transition to the cellular and subcellular levels of disease diagnosis and treatment. NIH’s intramural research program will clearly be part of this push," he said. From that perspective he views the Board’s governance leadership as crucial.

Trained and experienced in both education and hospital administration, it is the former of these that Howell relates to as having particular value for him as Board Chair. “As an educator I know that the knowledge developed in the labs is for the greater good and that the dissemination of this knowledge to all is of paramount importance. I will combine this expertise with my hospital administration savvy to lead the Board.”

Howell reflected that the Board is moving from adolescence into maturity. And as it matures, he said, the Chair cannot do the Board’s work alone. “When you look around the table at our Board of Governors you realize the rich talent, intellect and skillset we can tap into. It is my job to optimize our members and their impressive assets in a manner that helps to advance science.” He points out this means being able to understand and answer some tough questions — “we must face certain realities; for example, is there an adequate patient base available in the Mid-Atlantic region for the Clinical Center or do we need to consider more outreach efforts?”

He is honored to serve as Chair. “I’m excited about accepting this role, being involved with the Clinical Center and its destiny, not only the opportunity to shape the future for the next decade and beyond but the privilege to be a part of the process; to work with John Gallin and to have thoughtful leaders involved to take on the issues.”

The Board of Governors is a 15-member group, begun in 1996 by the HHS Secretary to consult with, and make recommendations to, the NIH and Clinical Center directors on issues relating to the operations of the Clinical Center, including budget and strategic and operational planning. Board membership, appointed by the NIH director, is comprised of physicians, scientists and healthcare managers from across the NIH and representing the nation’s top academic medical centers. The full board meets three times annually and the executive committee meets twice a year.

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