NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Schwetz Named NIH Deputy Director for Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives

Dr. Tara Schwetz, headshot
Dr. Tara Schwetz

Dr. Tara Schwetz has been appointed as NIH deputy director for program coordination, planning and strategic initiatives and director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) in the Office of the Director. Most recently she had served since December 2021 as acting NIH principal deputy director and since 2019 as the NIH alternate deputy ethics counselor.

Schwetz leads DPCPSI in meeting its mission to identify emerging scientific opportunities, rising public health challenges or scientific knowledge gaps that merit further research; developing and applying analytic tools and methodologies in support of portfolio analyses and priority setting; and coordinating strategic planning, performance monitoring, evaluation and reporting. DPCPSI also coordinates or supports research related to AIDS, behavioral and social sciences, women’s health, disease prevention, dietary supplements, research infrastructure, sexual and gender minorities, tribal health, data science and nutrition, and includes the office that manages the NIH Common Fund.

For much of 2021, Schwetz was on detail to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as assistant director for biomedical science initiatives. In this role, she led the effort to stand up the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). The Biden administration created ARPA-H to tackle some of the biggest health challenges facing Americans by driving medical innovation more rapidly.

Prior to 2021, Schwetz served as NIH associate deputy director. 

Throughout her more than 10-year tenure at NIH, she has held multiple positions. She has served as acting director and acting deputy director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), chief of the Strategic Planning and Evaluation Branch at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, senior advisor to the NIH principal deputy director and health science policy analyst at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. She started her NIH career as an AAAS science and technology policy fellow at NINR.

Schwetz earned 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.

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