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Vol. LX, No. 24
November 28, 2008

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Fall Is a Time of Transitions at NIH

On the front page...

The late fall is bringing a number of leadership changes in Bldg. 1 and elsewhere that will have an effect on many aspects of the agency. Eight NIH officials recently changed job status.

The biggest change occurred Oct. 24, when HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announced that Dr. Raynard Kington would become acting NIH director following the departure of Dr. Elias Zerhouni. Kington had been principal deputy director of NIH since Feb. 9, 2003. He has shared in the overall leadership, policy direction and coordination of NIH biomedical research and research training programs since that time. Prior to this appointment, he had been NIH associate director for behavioral and social sciences research and from January 2002 to November 2002, he served as acting director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Before coming to NIH, Kington was director of the Division of Health Examination Statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a senior scientist in the health program at the RAND Corp.


Kington attended the University of Michigan, where he received his B.S. with distinction and his M.D. After completing his residency at Michael Reese Medical Center in Chicago, he was appointed a Robert Wood Johnson clinical scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. There he completed his M.B.A. with distinction and his Ph.D. with a concentration in health policy and economics at the Wharton School and was awarded a Fontaine fellowship. In 2006, Kington was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

His research has focused on the role of social factors, especially socioeconomic status, as determinants of health.

On Nov. 12, Kington announced that NIDCR director Dr. Lawrence Tabak would become the new acting NIH principal deputy director. Tabak will continue to direct NIDCR and run a lab in NIDDK.

Tabak was appointed the seventh director of NIDCR in September 2000. As director, he leads a team of some 500 scientists, administrators and support staff with an annual budget of around $389 million.

Prior to joining NIH, Tabak was senior associate dean for research and professor of dentistry and biochemistry and biophysics in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester.

He was elected a fellow of the AAAS and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Tabak received his undergraduate degree from City College of the City University of New York, his D.D.S. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

In other leadership changes, Dr. Norka Ruiz Bravo, who had been NIH deputy director for extramural research since October 2003, announced that she would transition to a new role as special advisor to the NIH director. She recently named Dr. Sherry Mills, who had been her senior policy advisor from 2005-2007 and OEP acting director, the OEP director.

As Ruiz Bravo changed roles, Dr. Sally Rockey, who had been deputy director of the Office of Extramural Research for the past 3 years, became acting NIH deputy director for extramural research.

Implementing the next step of the NIH Reform Act, the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) became a reality and Kington named Dr. Lana Skirboll acting director of what is colloquially known as D-Poughkeepsie. Skirboll had been director of the Office of Science Policy. DPCPSI is composed of four program and other offices. Filling in behind Skirboll as new acting director of OSP is Dr. Amy Patterson, who had directed the Office of Biotechnology Activities in OSP.

Finally, Dr. Alan Krensky, former OPASI director, is moving to an NCI laboratory and will also serve as senior advisor to the NIH deputy director. NIHRecord Icon

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