As Dr. Zerhouni Leaves, Dr. Kington Becomes Acting Director Amidst Other Senior Staff Changes


NAEVR Attends Dr. Zerhouni’s Farewell; Dr. Kington Named Acting NIH Director Amidst Other Senior Staff Changes

Legislative Update
November 13, 2008

Dr. Zerhouni greets farewell reception attendees
Dr. Zerhouni greets farewell reception attendees

On October 30, NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky attended the farewell event for outgoing National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D., at his invitation. On behalf of the eye and vision community, NAEVR Board President Stephen Ryan, M.D. (Doheny Eye Institute) had previously sent a letter of appreciation to Dr. Zerhouni, thanking him for his exemplary leadership in navigating the NIH through a period of significant scientific breakthroughs and a challenging funding environment.

At the farewell event, Mr. Jorkasky offered NAEVR’s full support to Raynard Kington, M.D., Ph.D., who was to begin serving as NIH’s Acting Director on the next day, October 31. Dr. Kington, who previously served as the Principal Deputy Director, has had significant outreach with the medical research advocacy community.

New NIH Acting Director Dr. Raynard Kington (right), previously participated in meetings of the Councils of Councils, which oversees the NIH common fund. Joining him (left) is Lenworth Johnson, M.D. (University of Missouri/Columbia), who serves as the National Advisory Eye Council’s (NAEC) representative to the Council of Councils.
New NIH Acting Director Dr. Raynard Kington (right), previously participated in meetings of the Councils of Councils, which oversees the NIH common fund. Joining him (left) is Lenworth Johnson, M.D. (University of Missouri/Columbia), who serves as the National Advisory Eye Council’s (NAEC) representative to the Council of Councils.

Over the next two weeks, the NIH announced a number of senior staff changes:

On November 4, Lana Skirboll, Ph.D., was named Acting Director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI), which is the new coordinating entity required by the NIH Reform Act of 2006 that replaces the Office of Program Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI). Alan Krensky, M.D., the former OPASI director, will serve as Senior Advisor to the NIH Deputy Director and conduct research within the National Cancer Institute (NCI). DPCPSI is the entity that manages the NIH Councils of Councils that oversees the NIH common fund for trans-Institute research, which was also created by the NIH Reform Act of 2006 and grew out of the NIH Director’s Roadmap for Medical Research, in which Dr. Skirboll played a pivotal role in implementation.

On November 4, NIH also announced that Amy Patterson, M.D., will serve as Acting Director of the NIH Office of Science Policy (OSP), the role previously held by Dr. Skirboll. Dr. Patterson previously directed the Office of Biotechnology Activities within OSP.

On November 13, Dr. Kington announced the appointment of Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., as Acting Deputy Director for the NIH. Dr. Tabak has been the Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) since 2000.