Biden Set to Appoint NIH Director

After many months and much anticipation, President Biden is set to nominate Dr. Monica Bertagnolli as the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A permanent director will require Senate confirmation, empowering them to fill key positions within NIH and most effectively communicate NIH priorities to Congress. Dr. Bertagnolli, a cancer surgeon, has been running the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for the past six months. She has also served as President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, an organization in Alexandria, Virginia, that represents cancer physicians, and has led the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, a network that works with the NCI to develop and conduct cancer clinical trials.

As many behavioral scientists likely noted when Dr. Collins retired, he reflected that once we developed a COVID vaccine, he “never imagined” so many people would be skeptical of it. FABBS encourages the new director to demonstrate a commitment to and appreciation for the behavioral and social sciences to inform prevention and interventions for all aspects of health.

Responding to this, FABBS wrote to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) highlighting key qualities and necessary actions of an incoming director.

[See FABBS Letter to OSTP]

FABBS has seen a growing appreciation for our sciences at the national level. We have a continued interest in how a new director will value the behavioral and cognitive sciences.

Dr. Bertagnolli will have to be questioned by the Senate HELP committee and then confirmed by the Senate to fill the long-awaited appointment at the NIH. FABBS will continue to be actively engaged with leadership to introduce and communicate the importance of our disciplines and how they align with the broad mission of the NIH.