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Vol. LXIV, No. 13
June 22, 2012

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Durán Heads NIMHD Strategic Planning, Science Policy

Photo of Dr. Deborah Guadalupe Durán

Dr. Deborah Guadalupe Durán has been appointed chief of the Office of Strategic Planning, Legislation and Science Policy at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. This is a newly established office within the Office of the Director, NIMHD, resulting from the recent organizational change of the new institute

“Dr. Durán is a well-respected expert in strategic planning, science policy and evaluation,” said NIMHD director Dr. John Ruffin. “Her wealth of expertise in these areas will be quite valuable to the NIMHD in leading the NIH priority-setting and evaluation for health disparities research. Dr. Durán will be responsible for the NIH health disparities strategic plan and budget.”

Durán’s career at NIH dates back to 2001, when she joined the National Cancer Institute as a senior policy analyst in the Office of Science Planning and Assessment. Most recently, she served as deputy director of the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. Durán has spent much of her NIH career serving as performance director in the NIH OD, with a wide range of responsibilities including NIH program performance monitoring, budget performance integration, organization performance assessments and strategic planning. Many have referred to Durán as the Government Performance and Results Act guru.

“I am honored to join the NIMHD at such an important time in its transition to an institute,” said Durán. “I look forward to the opportunity to assist the institute in fulfilling its congressional charge to plan, review, coordinate and evaluate the NIH minority health and health disparities research activities. I dream that these efforts will reduce disparities and improve the health of all.”

Prior to joining NIH, Durán was a public health analyst at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In addition, she served as senior research and science policy advisor and research director for the National Coalition of Hispanic Health and Human Services Organization. She was also assistant professor at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, an adjunct professor at George Mason University and a principal investigator on a National Institute of Mental Health-funded study, the Latina Health Study.

A certified evaluator, Durán received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, an M.S. in computers from Nova University, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and her Ph.D. in social psychology with a minor in statistics and research design from the University of Denver.

Storz Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Photo of Dr. Gisela Storz

The National Academy of Sciences on May 1 announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 15 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Among them was Dr. Gisela Storz, senior investigator and deputy director, Cell Biology and Metabolism Program, NICHD.

Storz’s group studies bacterial and fungal responses to oxidative stress, according to the Office of Intramural Research: As a result of the serendipitous discovery of the peroxide-induced OxyS RNA, one of the first small, regulatory RNAs to be discovered, work in her lab shifted to the genome-wide identification and characterization of small RNAs in bacteria. More specifically, her lab has two main interests—the identification and characterization of small noncoding RNAs and the identification and characterization of small proteins of less than 50 amino acids.

The recent election brings the total number of active members to 2,152 and the total number of foreign associates to 430.

Election to the academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer.

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