News Release

Thursday, January 10, 2013

NIH to recruit Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity

National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., today announced the recruitment for a new senior scientific position, the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity. The chief officer will lead NIH’s effort to diversify the biomedical research workforce, a significant NIH-wide priority and an area of critical importance to biomedical research. Dr. Collins recently charged the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) to form a working group to address this challenge, and as part of their recommendations they made in Dec. 2012, the ACD working group strongly supported the creation of a new leadership position to lead this effort.

"Workforce diversity and inclusion is vital to the success of NIH to achieve scientific outcomes that advance the nation's health," Dr. Collins said. "I intend to appoint a nationally-renowned scientist to develop a comprehensive vision and strategy to strengthen our biomedical research enterprise through more diversified scientific applicant pools, pipelines and investigators. The chief officer will also expand recruitment methods and retention strategies, guarantee the fairness of peer review, and help promote inclusiveness and equity throughout the biomedical research community."

Dr. Collins has asked Roderic Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., to serve as the Acting Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity. Dr. Pettigrew was appointed as the first director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at NIH in 2002. He is known for his pioneering work in four-dimensional imaging of the cardiovascular system using magnetic resonance and on integrated imaging and predictive biomechanical modeling of coronary atherosclerotic disease. Dr. Pettigrew is the recipient of many honors including election to membership in the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Pettigrew will continue to serve in his current role at NIBIB, while serving in this acting leadership position as we conduct a nationwide search to fill this new position.

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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