FYI from the NHLBI Index

September 2003: Vol. 4, Issue 2
Feature Articles

Leadership Changes at the NHLBI

Applicants Sought for the NIH Council of Public Representatives

Leadership Changes at the NHLBI

Effective August 30, 2003, Dr. Claude Lenfant retired from his position as NHLBI Director. Before assuming leadership of the NHLBI in July 1982, he directed the NIH Fogarty International Center (1981-1982) and the NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases (1971-1980).

During his tenure at the NHLBI, Dr. Lenfant oversaw development and completion of clinical trials that have had widespread impact on the ways in which disease is treated and prevented. The studies addressed important clinical issues including therapies to interrupt the course of heart attacks and life-threatening arrhythmias, interventions to reduce blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels, surgical approaches to improve lung function in severe emphysema, and strategies to alleviate the recurrent pain of sickle cell disease.

In the area of basic science, Dr. Lenfant led the NHLBI into the modern era with landmark initiatives such as the Programs of Excellence in Molecular Biology, the Programs of Genomic Applications, and the Proteomics Initiative — all of which brought cutting-edge, multidisciplinary resources to bear on complex problems.

program logosOne of Dr. Lenfant's most tangible legacies has been programs of professional, public, and patient education that have had national visibility and impact. Under his stewardship, the NHLBI launched its National Cholesterol Education Program, National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, and National Heart Attack Alert Program, as well as special initiatives focused on obesity, sleep disorders, and women's heart health. All of these activities reflect his oft-repeated belief that the goal of scientific research — improved health for the public — should always be paramount.

A search committee, co-chaired by National Human Genome Research Institute Director Dr. Francis Collins and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Director Dr. T. K. Li, is soliciting recommendations for candidates who are qualified to lead the NHLBI and will be contacting public, patient, and professional groups for suggestions.

Dr. Barbara Alving, who joined the NHLBI in 1999 to lead the Division of Blood Diseases and Resources and was appointed NHLBI Deputy Director in 2001, will be the NHLBI Acting Director until a new director is hired. In addition to her leadership experiences at the NHLBI, Dr. Alving’s impressive employment history includes positions such as chief of the Department of Hematology and Vascular Biology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, a job she held from 1992 until leaving the army at the rank of Colonel in 1996, and director of the Hematology/Medical Oncology Section at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. An accomplished researcher — she is a co-inventor on two patents, an editor of three books, and co-author of more than 100 papers in the area of thrombosis and hemostasis — and a practicing physician who sees patients at the NIH Clinical Center, Dr. Alving brings to her role a wealth of knowledge about the challenges of designing and conducting research projects and the realities of translating research results into clinical practice.

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Applicants Sought for the NIH Council of Public Representatives

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The NIH Director's Council of Public Representatives (COPR -- pronounced “copper”) is seeking applicants for its 2004 panel. The COPR advises the NIH Director on how to enhance public participation in NIH activities and to increase public understanding of the NIH. Members include patients, health care professionals, members of patient or not-for-profit groups, and health and science educators. Next spring, they could include you if you visit copr.nih.gov/application_process.shtm and submit your application by September 15.

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