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Vol. LX, No. 4
February 22, 2008

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NCCAM Welcomes Briggs as New Director

  Photo Courtesy HHMI/Paul Fetters  
  Photo Courtesy HHMI/Paul Fetters  

Dr. Josephine Briggs, an accomplished researcher and physician, has been named director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

“I am honored to be selected to lead NCCAM and welcome the opportunity to develop further the NIH investment in this exciting field of biomedical investigation,” said Briggs. “Alternative approaches to health and wellness are of enormous public interest, and we need a strong portfolio of science in this area.”

Briggs brings a focus on translational research to the study of complementary and alternative medicine to help build a fuller understanding of the usefulness and safety of CAM practices. She succeeds Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, who has been acting NCCAM director since November 2006, when Dr. Stephen Straus, NCCAM’s first director, stepped down for health reasons.

Briggs will lead a center with an annual budget of $121 million that supports CAM research at more than 260 institutions throughout the country, funds research training and career development and provides science-based information to the public and health professionals.

“The NIH has already taken significant steps to build research programs to explore the potential of CAM,” Briggs said. “I look forward to working with scientists and the CAM community as well as my colleagues across the NIH to strengthen our understanding of the potential of CAM and to examine the opportunities for integration of proven CAM approaches into our nation’s health care delivery.”

Briggs received her A.B. cum laude in biology from Harvard-Radcliffe College and her M.D. from Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency training in internal medicine and nephrology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, followed by a research fellowship in physiology at Yale School of Medicine. She was a professor of internal medicine and physiology at the University of Michigan from 1993 to 1997. She joined NIH in 1997 as director of the Division of Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases, NIDDK. In 2000, while at NIDDK, Briggs worked with Straus in leading a meeting on Science of the Placebo: Toward an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda. In 2006, she accepted a position as senior scientific officer at Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Briggs’ research interests include the renin-angiotensin system, diabetic nephropathy, circadian regulation of blood pressure and the effect of antioxidants in kidney disease. She has published more than 130 research articles and has served on the editorial boards of several journals including the Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, Seminars in Nephrology, and Hypertension and was deputy editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. She is a member of the American Association of Physicians and the American Society of Clinical Investigation and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

She is a recipient of many awards and prizes, including the Volhard Prize of the German Nephrological Society, the Alexander von Humboldt Scientific Exchange Award and NIH Director’s Awards for her role in the development of the trans-NIH type I diabetes strategic plan and her leadership of the trans-NIH zebrafish committee. NIHRecord Icon

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