Rear Admiral (RADM) Richard Childs serves as the Scientific Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He graduated from Georgetown University and Georgetown University Medical School. He completed his internship, residency, and a Chief Residency in internal medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville followed by fellowships in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), NIH, and Hematology at the NHLBI, NIH. Following fellowship training, he was appointed a tenure-track investigator in the Hematology Branch of the NHLBI and received tenure at the NIH in 2006. He was the first investigator to show that metastatic kidney cancer could be cured by transplanted allogeneic immune cells through a graft-vs-tumor effect, a seminal discovery that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. He continues to run a translational research lab that conducts first-in-human research in bone marrow transplantation and tumor immunotherapy. He is board certified in medical oncology, has performed more than 600 experimental bone marrow stem cell transplants at the NIH, holds more than 30 patents related to NK and T-cell based immunotherapy, and has published over 240 original research papers as the lead or senior author.
In his previous role as NHLBI Clinical Director, he directed one of the NIH’s largest clinical and translational science programs, having oversight of all of the NHLBI’s intramural research in heart, lung, and blood diseases, which includes over 250 investigator-initiated clinical trials. As Clinical Director, he spearheaded and operationalized a multi-million dollar strategic plan in 2015 that completely revamped his institute’s research infrastructure, revitalizing NHLBI’s clinical research enterprise which substantially improved and expanded its clinical research footprint and productivity.
Dr. Childs has been an active duty officer in the United Stated Commissioned Corps since 1995. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 2015 and in 2020 received his 2nd star, and currently serves as an Assistant United States Surgeon General. In 2014, he deployed to Liberia, West Africa, as a part of the United States Ebola Crisis Response, where he served as the Chief Medical Officer caring for Ebola patients in the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU). In 2020, he commanded a rapid response deployment team to Yokohama, Japan, that evacuated hundreds of COVID-19 infected/exposed Americans from the Diamond Princess cruise ship and provided compassionate use remdesivir for severe and critically ill passengers suffering with severe COVID-19, well before this drug received approval as a treatment for SARS-CoV-2. These actions earned him the United States Meritorious Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal with Valor, the Humanitarian Service and Global Health Award, and the Assistant Secretary of Health’s Exceptional Service Medal.