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Home > Institutes, Centers & Offices > Office of the Director > Freedom Of Information Act Office > Selected NIH Institute and Center Director's Meeting Minutes

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

February 23, 2006

To: IC Directors
From: Senior Policy Analyst, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors' Meeting Highlights — January 12, 2006

Discussion Items

I. Knowledge Management for Disease Coding

Dr. Timothy Hays reminded the group of the background for this current initiative to improve collection and reporting of data on research funding by disease:

  • Currently, all ICs apply different definitions, methods, and business rules when coding and determining applicable dollar amounts.
  • Two National Academy of Sciences reports have recommended improvement of NIH data on research funding by disease.
  • Congress has expressed concerns about the current NIH process for collecting and reporting investment data.
  • Advances in technology have increased expectations that better reporting should be possible and described tools for achieving improved results.

Dr. Hays said the biggest challenge in the Knowledge Management for Disease Coding (KMDC) Project is how to define the disease categories in the new system. NIH scientific experts will select concepts that define a disease category, and these concepts will form a disease category fingerprint. The fingerprints for disease categories will be matched to concepts in grant documents (the research projects’ fingerprints) to produce disease reporting.

The KMDC system will be used to report grants data beginning with FY07 funding. It will be used to report data on contracts and on intramural projects for FY08 funding. Dr. Insel, Dr. Ruiz Bravo, and Mr. Baldus co-chair the Knowledge Management Governance Group, which reports to the NIH Steering Committee’s Information Technology Working Group.

In the immediate future, the project will need the ICs to identify scientific experts from their staffs to participate in the process of establishing disease category fingerprints — for each of the more than 250 reporting categories. In the longer term, IC staff will need to be trained in all aspects of using the new system. Throughout the process, the KMDC team will continue with presentations to a broad range of affected and interested audiences on how the new system will work and how it is being implemented.

Discussion that followed emphasized the need to be prepared for possible differences in dollars that will be reported in the new system versus dollars previously reported. Dr. Zerhouni thanked Dr. Hays and the KMDC team for their work and noted the need for the ICs to be supportive throughout the development and implementation of the system.

II. Participation of NIH Graduate Partnership Program Doctoral Students in Medical Scientist Training Programs

Dr. Mike Lenardo of NIAID briefly reviewed the clear identification of a national need for more training of physician-scientists. Currently, 370 students participate in 14 NIH Graduate Partnership Programs (GPPs), while NIGMS’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) funds 150 trainees per year. But there is no mechanism for GPP students to participate in MSTP. Under this initiative, developed by Dr. Lenardo and Dr. Richard Siegel of NIAMS, GPP students accepted to MSTP training programs would be eligible to receive funding, from the extramural division of the IC supporting their Ph.D. work, for combined degree training. NIGMS will provide the training slots and administer the program. This mechanism would supplement the existing peer-reviewed program and result in significant cost savings compared to the cost for training a new medical scientist.

Dr. Lenardo described support for the program by Dr. Berg and Dr. Bert Shapiro at NIGMS and mentioned groups within the NIH, including the NIH Steering Committee, that have approved the program. Funding will begin in fall 2006. The presentation — and discussion that followed — went on to address further details of student eligibility for and entry into the program, duration of support, and factors that will be crucial to success, such as an effective advising and high-quality mentors.

Dr. Zerhouni stressed the benefit that would come from creating a real career path into translational research and said that he hopes the ICs will find candidates to support in this program.

Additional Information Item

Mr. Self announced that the NIH has exceeded the goal set for hiring people with disabilities under the New Freedom Initiative. Both he and Dr. Zerhouni thanked and congratulated the group.

Tom Gill
cc: OD Senior Staff


This page was last reviewed on September 21, 2006 .

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