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December 19, 2016
Statement Regarding the Departure of Dr. Kathy L. Hudson
I want to take this opportunity to recognize and thank Kathy L. Hudson, Ph.D., who is departing my leadership team at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) after more than seven years of outstanding service, most recently as Deputy Director for Science, Outreach, and Policy. Over the course of her stellar career, Kathy has served the public brilliantly by ensuring that advances in genomics and other rapidly moving areas of medical research are merged with wise and effective public policies.
After earning a B.A. in biology from Carleton College and a M.S. in microbiology from the University of Chicago, Kathy obtained her Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. She went on to discover that her real passion was science policy, and headed to the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. There, she put that passion into practice as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Fellow, working for the House Agricultural committee and then the Office of Technology Assessment; and later in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.
Kathy’s career path eventually led her to the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), where she served as Assistant Director from 1995 to 2002. At NHGRI, Kathy was visionary, making a compelling case to scientists, public policy experts, and lawmakers about the need for federal legislation to guard against genetic discrimination. Along the way, she presided over the announcement of the completion of a draft sequence of the human genome, and helped to broker an agreement between the public and private human genome projects, which was announced by President Bill Clinton in the White House in 2000.
In 2002, Kathy left NIH to found and direct the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University, where she emerged as a leader in educating and advising about science and policy issues in genetics. Also at Hopkins, Kathy was an Associate Professor in the Berman Institute of Bioethics, Institute of Genetic Medicine, and Department of Pediatrics. It was Kathy who did much of the work to assemble the talented and dedicated team that, in 2008 after 12 long years of effort, finally achieved passage of the landmark Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
In 2009, when I was named NIH Director by President Barack Obama, Kathy agreed to return to NIH as my Chief of Staff and, subsequently, as Deputy Director for Science, Outreach, and Policy. In those capacities, she assisted in the most significant restructuring of NIH in a decade: the founding and launch of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). She also had a major hand in the design and launch of two signature scientific projects – the BRAIN initiative and the Precision Medicine Initiative. In addition, she led efforts to revise and update the Common Rule for human subjects research; to modernize clinical trial reporting; to expand data sharing; and to develop appropriate oversight for rapidly moving areas of medical research, including stem cells, chimeras, and gene editing.
On top of her many duties and responsibilities, Kathy made time to serve as a strong and tireless advocate for the role of women in science. She personally mentored a group of young women who are now moving into key leadership roles with a wide range of innovative biomedical research and policy initiatives.
Kathy may be leaving NIH for horizons yet unknown, but I think one thing is certain: those horizons will be exciting. Whatever dream Kathy decides to pursue, whatever cause she decides to take up, whatever team she decides to join, we can be sure it will be world changing and she will be at the forefront of leading that change.
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health