NINDS’s Moy Retires After 32 Years of Federal Service
After 32 years of federal service—20 with NIH—Dr. Claudia Moy, an epidemiologist and program director in NINDS’s Division of Clinical Research, has retired.
“There’s never a good time to go and it was really hard to make the decision, but I’m excited about the next phase of my life,” she said. She officially retired on Jan. 31.
Born in Connecticut and raised in a small town near Pittsburgh, Penn., Moy grew up surrounded by science. “Science has always been an interest for me,” she said. “Both of my parents were scientists and as a student I worked summers in my father’s organic chemistry lab in Pittsburgh.”
She earned her bachelor of science degree in biology from Pennsylvania State University in 1974, and a year later, she began her federal career as a survey statistician in the Division of Health Interview Statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, now part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While at NCHS, Moy participated in the design and analysis of the National Health Interview Survey, which monitors the health of the U.S. population through collection and analysis of data on a broad range of topics; the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a program of studies created to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the U.S.; and the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which gauges the health and nutritional status and needs of Hispanic and Latino populations.
Moy continued to pursue her education, earning a master of public health degree in epidemiology in 1986 from Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, and her doctorate in epidemiology in 1989 from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
“As an undergrad, my focus was on life sciences, and then as a graduate student I was driven more toward public health, specifically epidemiology and clinical trials,” she said.
Moy served as a graduate research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1989 and a postdoctoral fellow from 1989 to 1991. During this time her primary research focus was on the incidence and risk factors for type 1 diabetes, specifically looking at how genetic and environmental factors contribute to the wide geographic variation in diabetes incidence. She completed her dissertation research in Madrid, Spain, and afterwards coordinated a large international registry collaboration for type 1 diabetes called Diabetes Mondiale or DIAMOND.
After leaving the University of Pittsburgh, Moy joined the faculty at the Wilmer Eye Institute at the JHU School of Medicine with joint appointments in the departments of ophthalmology and epidemiology and the Center for Clinical Trials. While there, she helped design, conduct and monitor multicenter clinical trials.
Before becoming an official member of the NIH family, Moy was part of its research community. She conducted research in quality of life outcomes in people treated for ocular melanoma as an NEI-sponsored researcher, serving as co-investigator on the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study from 1991 to 2001 and as principal investigator on the Quality of Life: The Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study from 1994 to 2001.
In 2001 she officially joined NIH as an epidemiologist and program director in the Clinical Trials Cluster of NINDS’s Division of Extramural Research.
“Although I had no background in neuroscience, I saw the opportunity at NINDS as a chance to expand my skills while helping to build a new extramural program in clinical trial research,” she said. “I will always be grateful to John Marler and so many others at NINDS for taking a chance on me.”
At NINDS, Moy oversaw a portfolio of clinical trials and clinical research, primarily in stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases. Her main research interests were in clinical trials outcome measures—particularly measures of quality of life and of cognitive impairment associated with neurologic disease or therapy—clinical trials methodology, research integrity and protection of research subjects.
During her tenure, she served on countless NIH, trans-NIH and NINDS committees and working groups as well as some outside of NIH.
Among her most memorable initiatives were the development of the Neurological Quality of Life assessment tool—NeuroQOL—which spawned other similar projects across NIH, including PROMIS (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System) and the NIH Toolbox.
NeuroQOL, PROMIS and the NIH Toolbox are used to measure health outcomes from the patient perspective.
Moy also helped develop the original Clinical Trials Methods Course—a “summer camp” for budding neurology trialists that was instrumental in boosting the careers of many successful NINDS grantees—and NINDS’s clinical trial networks, NeuroNEXT and StrokeNet.
Moy’s more recent projects focused on vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia or VCID, which she described as “a new arena for me but also a rewarding experience.”
Throughout her career, she received numerous awards and accolades, including many NIH Director’s Awards, NINDS Director’s Awards and NINDS Merit Awards. In 2011 she received the Common Fund Leadership Award and the NHLBI Outstanding Clinical Research Award in 2017.
Moy’s plans for retirement are vast and include traveling, pursuing hobbies like baking, catching up on her recreational reading, learning French and cleaning her garage. She serves on the board of directors of Marlow Guitar International (MGI), a non-profit classical guitar society that hosts live performances with top-tier guitarists, runs an annual youth competition for local students and currently is collaborating with Walter Reed and the United Service Organization to bring guitar instruction to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. In retirement, Moy plans to be more active in MGI.
“These past 10 months of working from home have helped me realize how much I value, and miss, personal interactions with my friends and colleagues at work,” she concluded. “It goes without saying that I hope to stay in touch with my happy hour buddies in the future. NINDS has been my home for 20 years—the longest time I have ever spent in one place! To any new staff, I would say you will never work with a finer, more dedicated and more collegial group of people.”