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IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

May 31, 2001
To: IC Directors
From: Director, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors' Meeting Highlights — May 24, 2001

I. Administrative Issues

Dr. Kirschstein noted that NIH made a strong case against consolidating our public affairs offices, but it is unclear how all the consolidation efforts will play out. She plans to create a group similar to the FARB to deal with personnel consolidation issues. Dr. Kirschstein is working with Mr. Sontag in OS and will ask an IC Director to chair this group. She promised to complete a roster of the NIH restructuring committee and distribute it at the next meeting.

Dr. Kirschstein has asked Dr. Lenfant to chair a "soft-landing" committee to deal with post-doubling issues. While it may be premature to discuss this topic at the upcoming NIH Budget Retreat, the sense of the group was that it should be discussed as soon as possible.

Mr. Smolonsky reported that Senator Jeffords has agreed not to switch his party affiliation until after a tax cut bill passes the Congress and goes to the President. The Senate is in recess next week, and Senator Jeffords is expected to change his affiliation sometime within the following two weeks. Senators Lott and Daschle are negotiating a new power-sharing agreement. Senator Kennedy will chair NIH's authorizing committee; Senator Harkin will chair our appropriations committee.

II. NIH Budget Retreat

The program is shaping up for the June 25 NIH Budget Retreat. Dr. Katz will send participants background material and FARB recommendations for FY02 and FY03 about a week in advance. Drs. Klausner and Collins are putting together a session on scientific initiatives, and Drs. Maddox and Baldwin are chairing a group to prepare for a discussion on disease reporting and population reporting. Dr. Katz suggested using a few diseases to model the discussion of disease and population reporting; Dr. Hodes will provide Alzheimer's information as background. Dr. Kirschstein suggested continuing the discussion of disease and population reporting at the NIH Leadership Forum in September if necessary. Ms. Quantius noted that NIH currently reports more than 300 diseases.

III. Information Items

The NIH FY03 budget submission is due to the Department June 18. Dr. Kirschstein reported that the Secretary intends to take a very hands-on approach to this budget. He has assured her that NIH is on track for the doubling, which would mean an increase of about 18 percent in FY03. The Secretary has said he wants bold, creative, and imaginative thinking on this budget.

Dr. Kirschstein reported on the Senate appropriations hearing and reminded IC Directors and OD Staff members to read every word of letters they sign, especially letters to the Congress.

Dr. Hyman attended the recent World Health Assembly with Secretary Thompson. The Secretary did a superb job of turning around delegations that were hostile toward the United States on intellectual property issues. Dr. Hyman gave kudos to Dr. Freire for the clarity of her points and analysis on this topic.

Dr. Kirschstein said that the Secretary is very concerned about foreign travel, especially when multiple HHS employees want to attend a meeting abroad. Mr. Itteilag is working on this issue.

Dr. Keusch is working with a number of ICs to organize an international conference in September on stigma and global health. Dr. Kirschstein will prepare a memo to the Secretary suggesting that the Secretary invite UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to give opening remarks at the conference.

At the June 14 IC Directors' meeting, Drs. Klausner and Collins will update the group on the efforts to sequence the mouse genome and the next steps after sequencing.

At a future meeting, Dr. Kirschstein wants to discuss policies of drug companies regarding providing drugs to the indigent. Dr. Rabson noted that drug companies are worried about being accused of withholding life-saving cancer drugs.

Dr. Kramer discussed the Secretary's prevention initiative. The Secretary wants to put prevention at the forefront of medicine and has asked all agencies to provide initiatives or study results that he can announce prominently. He hopes to make a series of announcements concerning children's disease prevention issues in late August. Secretary Thompson has asked for a list of any "big announcements" we anticipate making for the next six months. The Secretary also wants to issue "transparent" prevention grants, in which money will come from various agencies but will be issued through a centralized request for applications from HRSA; the main thrust of this program will involve community services.

Dr. Kirschstein announced that Mr. Lambert is now serving as the Acting NIH Legal Advisor.

Karen Pelham O'Steen
cc: OD Staff

This page was last reviewed on March 13, 2007 .

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