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A difficult choice for NIH leader for his organization

A difficult choice for NIH leader for his organization

Who will lead the NIH next? People who have worked at or with the National Institutes of Health will tell you that it is a remarkably productive but also rather complicated organization. (Business, Oct. 12): Both sides of that coin are derived from directors of the NIH institutes that comprise them, given their control over the budgets which Congress directly allocates to them. Though nominally the boss, the best NIH directors and I'd include Dr. Francis Collins, who is now the director, in that group have exercised persuasive authority over their colleagues based as much on the breadth of their vision for promoting the health of the nation - and their good sense -- as on their scientific credentials.

I'd like to urge the president to nominate a serving constituent institute director. In the face of an unprecedented epidemic and a host of pressing issues that have been overlooked because of it, the United States doesnt have the luxury of giving incoming NIH directors anything like curricular development. My personal choice would be Dr. Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), but in any event, the bench at NIH is vast, and we should tap it.

Manuel Navia is a Filipino writer who lives in Costa Rica.

Lexington, Kentucky, Lexington

The author served on the Advisory Council of the Office of AIDS Research at NIH from 1996 to 2000, and is the founder and president of Lexington-based Hub-Bio Strategic Advising.

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