NIH Logo

Director's Page

NIH Director, Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.
Director, Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. in front of NIH headquarters, Bethesda, MD
Welcome to the National Institutes of Health.

At NIH, we are dedicated to improving the health of Americans by conducting and funding medical research.

We also train scientists, and communicate medical and health sciences information to patients, their families, health care providers and the general public.

NIH guides America's efforts in medical research. Our goal is to uncover new knowledge that will help prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat disease and disability, from the common cold to the rarest genetic disorder.

Our investment in understanding such diseases as AIDS, diabetes, heart disease and cancer returns dividends in longer, healthier, and safer lives.

We continue to make major inroads in fighting humanity's most enduring illnesses. And we are working to confront new threats to our health and safety, like bioterrorism.

We encourage you to explore the wealth of medical research on the NIH Web site and to learn more about our world-class research, scientists, and programs.

Biographical Sketch

NIH Director, Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., leads the nation’s medical research agency and oversees the NIH’s 27 Institutes and Centers with more than 18,000 employees and a fiscal year 2008 budget of $29.5 billion. Read the full bio sketch.

Interviews and Articles

  • Science The Endless Frontier: A Report to the President by Vannevar Bush, Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, July 1945
    "Vannevar Bush was one of the founding fathers of the modern scientific enterprise. His vision for the future of the Federal Government's role in scientific research, which emerged from his experience as the Director of U.S. research during World War II, created an indelible blueprint that has endured for more than six decades."
  • The Promise of Personalized Medicine (PDF - 165 KB), NIH MedlinePlus Magazine, Winter 2007
    "We are in a revolutionary period of medicine that I call the four Ps: predictive, personalized, preemptive and participatory. This requires patient involvement well before disease strikes. As opposed to the doctor-centric, curative model of the past, the future is going to be patient-centric and proactive. It must be based on education and communication."
  • NIH Director Outlines Vision for Future at Annual LRI Scientific Conference, Lupus Research Institute (LRI,) October 19, 2006
    "To make change in science," Dr. Zerhouni continued in language evocative of the LRI, "we need to recognize first and foremost that no one knows the answer at the edge of science and you have to be humble. The second is that no one knows the exact pathway or approach by which the next breakthrough is going to occur. You have to be flexible enough to allow the diversity of approaches."
  • Research Funding: NIH in the Post-Doubling Era: Realities and Strategies, Science, November 17, 2006
    "We need to remain focused on our core values and to pursue our fundamental mission of discovery—translating new knowledge into tangible benefits for the American people. This must remain our top priority. This means maintaining, to the greatest extent possible, the ability of scientists at all stages of their careers to continue their work."
  • Interview of Dr. Zerhouni, Chemical and Engineering News, July 3, 2006
    "This concept of engaging and encouraging risk-taking is something I've espoused with as much energy as I can."
  • Progress Report on the NIH Roadmap Initiative, The New Way of Doing Business at the NIH Draws Accolades from Industry (PDF - 221 KB), Genetic Engineering News, June 15, 2006
    At its inception in 2002, the NIH Roadmap initiative ( created to “identify major opportunities and gaps in biomedical research that no single institute at the NIH could tackle alone but that the agency as whole must address.” Put into effect the 2004 budget year, the program developed into not only a way of operating for the NIH but also as a model for other organizations to follow.
  • Extracting Knowledge From Science: A Conversation With Elias Zerhouni, Health Affairs, May-June, 2006
    "If you want to transform medicine, it has to be from something other than the curative paradigm: Wait until you’re sick and then come and see me, and I’ll do what I can. That has been true for 5,000 years. Now we have to do something different."
  • Translational and Clinical Science—Time for a New Vision, New England Journal of Medicine, October 13, 2005
    "It is the responsibility of those of us involved in today's biomedical research enterprise to translate the remarkable scientific innovations we are witnessing into health gains for the nation."
  • US Biomedical Research; Basic, Translational, and Clinical Sciences (PDF - 96 KB),
    Journal of the American Medical Association
    , Vol 294, No. 11, pages 1352-1358, September 21, 2005
    "This unique period offers the unprecedented opportunity to identify individuals at risk of disease based on precise molecular knowledge, and the chance to intervene to preempt disease before it strikes."
  • Grand Challenges in Global Health Media Briefing, June 23, 2005
    "...I think you can note that some of these projects are extremely focused, with very clear deliverable milestones. In areas of technology developments, they are of immediate relevance to the issue of global health."
  • Elias Zerhouni: Taking Stock, Science, June 3, 2005
    "We want to challenge the community to put together real academic homes for translational science and for clinical science. Where, A, you can have a joint appointment, [and] B, you can really train in what you need to train in translational science. ... And it needs degree-granting programs, it needs graduate programs, it needs postdocs..."
  • Dr. Zerhouni delivers Mayo Commencement Address, May 21, 2005
    "I’ve been fortunate to live in the most exciting 30 years in medicine, and in medical imaging, and I thought that there could not be another 30 years like this. But let me tell you, I’m wrong. I think what we’re going to witness over the next 25 to 30 years is going to be, again, a period of extraordinary change."
  • Dr. Zerhouni responds to student's question about the NIH Public Access Policy
    graphic of a movie cameraStudents from Norwin High School in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania sent letters to the NIH Director about the implications of NIH's new public access policy designed to accelerate the public's access to published articles resulting from NIH-funded research. The policy—the first of its kind for NIH—calls on scientists to release to the public manuscripts from research supported by NIH as soon as possible, and within 12 months of final publication. Dr. Zerhouni responded to their questions with a video. Download Free RealPlayer.
  • Information Access: NIH Public Access PolicyScience, December 10, 2004
    "A new National Institutes of Health public access draft policy is raising a tremendous amount of interest in the scientific, patient, and publishing communities. I would like to clarify what the proposed policy is, describe its rationale, and explain why the NIH thinks this is a reasonable, balanced policy that will serve all interests."
  • Pioneer Award Announcement—September 29, 2004
    "Science advances very quickly. New technologies emerge, as well as new ideas, in terms of questions that we could address today that we couldn’t in the past. There is a need for us to encourage high risk, high impact research: There is a need for a Pioneer Award."
  • Financial Conflicts of Interest and the NIHNew England Journal of Medicine, January 22, 2004
    "Transparency—full light on any relationship—is one of the best protections against any real or perceived conflict of interest," said Zerhouni. "How you accomplish that is first on the agenda."
  • The NIH Roadmap (PDF - 54 KB)Science, October 3, 2003
    "As science grows more complex, it is also converging on a set of unifying principles that link apparently disparate diseases through common biological pathways and therapeutic approaches. Today, NIH research needs to reflect this new reality."
  • Elias Zerhouni: Living in Interesting TimesThe NIH Catalyst, January-February 2003
    "In the entire scientific spectrum, it is the life sciences that are the grand challenge for now and the foreseeable future. We need to make discoveries at a more rapid pace because time is of the essence when you consider the aging of the population, the growth of our health expenditures, and the new threats that are emerging."
  • Zerhouni Plots 'Roadmap for Action' For NIH FutureThe NIH Record, September 17, 2002
    "I think it's important initially, when you take on a new job, to focus 100 percent on the new job, build teams, have appropriate interactions with the IC directors and all of the management team, set up some operating principles, and become also a spokesman for NIH, across many constituencies."
What's New
This page was last reviewed on September 15, 2008 .
National Institutes of Health - The Nation's Medical Research Agency U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Information Page NIH Grants News and Events Research Institutes and Centers About NIH