NIH Is Key to Protecting Americans’ Well-Being, Azar Says at Town Hall Meeting

Alex Azar, new HHS secretary, visits NIH.
Alex Azar, new HHS secretary, visits NIH.

New Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who was sworn in on Jan. 29, views himself as a conductor of a symphony orchestra. He says his role isn’t to be the best violinist, but to get the best violinist to play his or her best and work in harmony with the rest of the orchestra.

“Whatever crisis comes our way—and there will be crises—my job is not to solve it, but to harness the incredible team we have at this vast, vast organization to conquer that crisis,” he said at a Mar. 20 Town Hall meeting in Masur Auditorium.

“That’s a different task than feeling the need to do it yourself.”

HHS is “one-fourth of the U.S. government. I calculated the other day that if you stacked us up against [all other] governments, at $1.2 trillion we are the fifth largest nation on Earth. We are bigger than the British Empire,” he said. “We have been given a lot and to whom much is given, much is expected. And with $1.2 trillion, we have a lot that we must deliver on.”

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SOUL MAN
Moreland Speaks at First ‘Science & Philosophy’ Event

Dr. J.P. Moreland
Dr. J.P. Moreland

Perhaps neuroscientists should focus solely on the brain and leave matters of the mind to philosophers. It’s a popular view held by many academic philosophers as well as neuroscientists. After all, both heady disciplines are equally fascinating and multi-faceted, and some investigators of each may only agree that one may never fully understand or explain the other.

On the other hand, both fields are subject to investigation, testing and the laws of logic. Research in neuroscience can’t avoid ultimate implications in the realm of philosophy.

Philosopher Dr. J.P. Moreland explored such dueling perspectives recently in his talk “Philosophical and Empirical-Neuroscience for Determining the Nature and Existence of Consciousness and the Soul,” the first lecture in a series hosted by the newly formed NIH scientia et philosophia interest group.

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