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NIH Record

No More DCRT
Graeff Named CIO, Will Head
Center for Information Technology

By Joan Chamberlain

NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus has named Alan S. Graeff the first chief information officer (CIO) of NIH. Graeff will work with the NIH community to develop a vision and set of goals for information technology (IT), establish an integrated IT architecture, implement investment planning for IT, and develop long-term strategies for making the best use of IT resources at NIH. In his new role, Graeff will head the newly formed Center for Information Technology (CIT), which combines the Division of Computer Research and Technology, the Office of Information Resources Management in OD, and the Telecommunications Branch in ORS.

New CIO Alan Graeff

By creating the center and appointing a CIO, Varmus implemented two major recommendations of the NIH information technology central committee on the management of NIH's computing, networking and telecommunications resources. The committee recommended appointment of a chief information officer to head a center that would address all existing NIH information technology and related functions and clearly define responsibilities for central leadership and service across all NIH. Varmus will be appointing a board of governors that will work with Graeff to define the CIT mission.

"The CIO appointment and the formation of the Center for Information Technology will facilitate the development of effective strategies, policies and standards for information technology, a resource that is critical to the efficient conduct of NIH research and administration," Varmus said.

Graeff, who headed the interoperability group of the ITCC, has a wide range of experience developing successful IT projects that have a major impact on how biomedical research is conducted at NIH. "This experience gives Al a clear understanding of the needs of both scientists and administrators for information technology. He brings a record of outstanding leadership and management of information systems to his new role as CIO," added Varmus.

Since 1995, Graeff served as chief of the Clinical Center's information systems department, where he oversaw a major IT reorganization that introduced a centralized infrastructure based on technical standards, reliable architecture, and high levels of customer support. He created a unified support structure for IT in the CC's diverse environment of clinical research, patient services and administration.

In his prior position as chief of NIAID's technical systems section, Graeff was responsible for building the institute's first wide area network comprising 12 locations across the country and serving 1,400 computer users. He also designed and implemented an NIAID acquisition workflow system that streamlined the institute's acquisition and planning processes.

In earlier positions, Graeff worked as a biologist for NCI's Metabolism Branch and NIAID's Laboratory of Cellular Immunology. He holds a B.S. in distributed sciences from American University.

"I look forward to the tremendous challenges and possibilities that I know exist for IT at NIH. As we begin the process of merging TCB, OIRM and DCRT into a single organization, I plan to create a center of excellence built upon a positive and constructive partnership with the NIH community, one that provides a high level of customer satisfaction," said Graeff.

Use IC Instead of ICD

With the recent establishment of the Center for Information Technology, no divisions report directly to the NIH director. Therefore, the initials "IC" should be used in lieu of "ICD" as the official NIH organizational term used to refer to all research institutes, the National Library of Medicine, and centers reporting directly to the director, NIH, according to Tony Itteilag, NIH deputy director for management.


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