Dear Friends and Colleagues in the extramural community,I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. I don't know that he did a fantastic job. He had some controversial moments. And I think he was largely behind the fiasco known as grants.gov ($2 billion spent on grants.gov and you can't buy a computer today that you can submit a grant with - no Mac OS, no Windows Vista).
Today, I informed my NIH colleagues, including staff, scientists, administrators, contractors, and trainees that at the end of October, I will be leaving my position as NIH Director to explore new opportunities and to devote much of my attention to writing.
I have said repeatedly that NIH is one of the true “wonders of the world.” For over six years, I have had the unparalleled privilege of leading one of the great institutions in history. Whenever an individual participates in a clinical trial or prevention effort, visits the doctor, stays in the hospital, has a medical test, or undergoes a procedure or treatment, they are benefiting from the extraordinary contribution you make to NIH’s single, great mission: improving the public’s health.
NIH has also been in the spotlight during a revolution in the biomedical sciences, one that continues to have broad and profound implications for academic institutions, industry, nonprofits, professional and scientific organizations, the health care profession, Government, and most important, for the health of the world. I am extremely fortunate to have led NIH during these unique times, which have brought with them complex challenges and amazing opportunities.
Your work will continue to transform the future of the agency and to play a key role in that revolution. Every day, people benefit from new treatments and potential cures for disabling and fatal conditions that result from your commitment and tireless dedication, even in the presence of complex problems and unprecedented challenges.
As recipients of NIH funding, you are among the world’s best, brightest, and most innovative scientists in a most competitive and challenging era for all of us. It is because of you and your contributions to science and health that NIH is known as the “crown jewel” agency of the federal government and you have every right to claim a stake in the agency’s success.
I also want to take this occasion to express my deep personal appreciation to the countless grantees who selflessly serve the NIH as volunteers on study sections, advisory councils and the many other activities the agency often calls upon you to join.
I know that my sentiments are shared by my colleagues at the NIH, and our gratitude runs deep. We are grateful for your support and the contributions you make every day.
Please feel free to distribute this message to your colleagues.
Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Zerhouni Steps Down
I just received this email today from the NIH. The Bush appointed director of the National Institutes of Health is stepping down in October.