March 2, 1990

What Will It Take to Recruit a New Director for NIH? Advisory Group Has Some Suggestions

JAMA. 1990;263(9):1187-1188. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440090017003

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TWO WAYS to make the National Institutes of Health (NIH) director's job more attractive are to pay more and reduce political and bureaucratic interference. So says an advisory committee called by Louis W. Sullivan, MD, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The advice comes at a crucial time in the search for a director. The Bush Administration has so far failed to find a replacement for the former director, James Wyngaarden, MD, who announced his departure last May and left in August (JAMA. 1989;261:2935-2936).

Poorly Perceived  Since then, a selection committee has considered several persons for the job, but all, for one reason or another, now have taken themselves out of the running. Comments from biomedical organizations and individual researchers suggest some reasons for this include perceptions that the NIH directorship is a strictly political appointment, that there will be cuts in biomedical research funds, that there