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NIH Office of the Director (OD)

Friday, July 25, 2003

John Burklow
(301) 496-4461

NIH Establishes Steering Committee to Streamline Decision Making

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Elias A. Zerhouni today announced the formation of an NIH Steering Committee – with a rotating membership of ten directors derived from and representing the 27 NIH Institutes and Centers – to give “crisp strategic direction” to the agency and streamline its decision making processes. The committee will be chaired by the NIH director.

As the agency has grown in size and complexity in recent years, there has been an increased need for a more efficient means of trans-NIH coordination. The new committee will help develop and oversee policies common across the NIH.

“Leading the NIH requires a team approach that advances the agency’s mission as efficiently as possible,” Dr. Zerhouni said. “Over the past nine months, through extensive consultation with all of the Institute and Center Directors at NIH, we have looked carefully at how to better organize ourselves. As a result, I established the steering committee to address the complex issues facing us.”

The three largest institutes of NIH will have permanent seats. These will be taken by Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., Director of the National Cancer Institute; Claude Lenfant, M.D., Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and Anthony Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The other seven members will be chosen to represent the remaining institutes. These members will serve three-year terms on a staggered, rotating basis. The initial membership will be as follows: Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., National Human Genome Research Institute; Richard Hodes, M.D., National Institute on Aging; Stephen Katz, M.D., Ph.D., National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; Donald Lindberg, M.D., National Library of Medicine; Stephen Straus, M.D., National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; and Nora Volkow, M.D., National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dr. Zerhouni will chair the committee as NIH Director, and Deputy NIH Director Raynard Kington, M.D., Ph.D., will serve as an ex-officio member and chair the committee in the absence of the NIH Director.

The NIH Director and Institute and Center Directors will continue to formulate their specific scientific directions and priorities, as well as operational oversight of their respective institutes and centers. The steering committee will focus on NIH-wide policies and necessary operational decisions.

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