Tara A. Schwetz, Ph.D.

Acting Principal Deputy Director

Tara A. Schwetz, Ph.D. is the Acting Principal Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), effective December 20, 2021.

For much of 2021, Dr. Schwetz was on detail to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as the Assistant Director for Biomedical Science Initiatives. In this role, she led the efforts to stand up the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). The Biden Administration has proposed ARPA-H to tackle some of the biggest health challenges facing Americans by driving medical innovation more rapidly.

Since January 2019, Dr. Schwetz has served as the Associate Deputy Director of NIH and the Alternate Deputy Ethics Counselor for NIH. Throughout her nearly 10-year tenure at NIH, Dr. Schwetz has held multiple positions across several Institutes and within the Office of the Director. She has served as the Acting Director and Acting Deputy Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), the Chief of the Strategic Planning and Evaluation Branch at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Senior Advisor to the Principal Deputy Director of NIH, the NIH Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes Interim Associate Program Director, and a Health Science Policy Analyst at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Dr. Schwetz started her career at NIH as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at NINR.

Dr. Schwetz has led or co-led a number of high-profile, NIH-wide efforts, including two Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics programs (RADx Underserved Populations and RADx Radical), Implementing a Maternal health and Pregnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) initiative, and NIH Presidential transition activities. She also has spearheaded several strategic planning efforts, such as the first NIH-Wide Strategic Plan, NIH-Wide COVID-19 Strategic Plan, NIAID Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Research, NIH Office of the Director Strategic Engagement Agenda, and played a significant role in the development of the National Pain Strategy.

She received a B.S. in biochemistry with honors from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of South Florida, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University.

This page last reviewed on December 28, 2021