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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

April 24, 2006

To: IC Directors
From: Director, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors' Meeting Highlights — March 23, 2006

Discussion Items

I. Performance Management System

Ms. Barros discussed the HHS performance management program to be implemented at NIH. The program will cover GS, WG, and Title 42 employees. (NIH is in the process of requesting an appeal with HHS to align our senior-level T-42 scientists with the SES Performance system.) SES and Commissioned Corps employees are not covered by this program.

Covered employees will be rated on a calendar-year basis as exceptional, fully successful, minimally successful, or unacceptable. Modeled loosely on the HHS SES performance program, the system’s other elements include —

  • awards that are linked to performance,
  • a minimal appraisal period of 90 days,
  • one cover sheet and appraisal format that will apply to all covered employees, and
  • up to 6 critical elements. (NOTE: One administrative element and 3 - 5 outcomes/elements. At least one outcome will cascade from the HHS Top 20 with the remaining outcomes/elements to be customized to fit employee situation.)

A rating of unacceptable in any critical element will result in an overall rating of unacceptable.

Information transmittals and sessions, briefings, and training events are currently being provided for both supervisors and employees. Employees must be placed on the new performance plans no later than June 30, 2006.

II. NIH/USUHS Collaborations

Dr. Zerhouni introduced Charles L. Rice, M.D., recently installed President of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Dr. Rice, who came to the Bethesda facility in July from the University of Illinois, Chicago, explained the University’s mission as follows:

USUHS is the Nation's Federal health sciences university. It educates health care professionals dedicated to career service in the Department of Defense and the United States Public Health Service. The University provides military-relevant education, research, service and consultation to the Nation and the world, pursuing excellence and innovation during times of peace and war.

He noted that the University has collaborated with NIAID, and he welcomes the opportunity to meet and explore further opportunities with all of the Directors. Explaining other opportunities for NIH staff, he mentioned that USUHS wants to increase the number of Commissioned Corps members both as graduate students and as medical school students as well as to encourage NIH staff to participate in teaching appointments. Dr. Zerhouni pointed to the University’s increased research vision/mission, remarking that there will be exciting opportunities for joint research programs with NIH.

In closing, Dr. Rice invited all to attend this year’s Research Week (May 16-18, see ), entitled “Global Public Health: The Changing Role of Military Medicine.”

Scientific Presentation

III. Children’s Environmental Health: Today’s Pediatric Frontier

Using the cultural metaphor of the westward movement of the American frontier to inform his scientific points, Dr. Alexander presented on the historical development/progress of pediatric medicine from its crossing of the early frontiers (e.g., infections, nutrition, surgery, endocrine disorders and low birth weight) to today’s looming frontier of environmental health.

Because of children’s vulnerability to exposures, immature detoxification and protection mechanisms, and differences in metabolism and behavior, this new frontier of environmental health requires unique approaches such as:

  • organizing planned studies,
  • including large populations,
  • beginning before birth,
  • conducting multiple simultaneous measures of multiple exposures and outcomes,
  • relating to genetic constitution, and
  • providing long-term follow-up.

He pointed to a number of recent studies of various factors in the intrauterine environment resulting in hypotheses of possible long-term consequences in a number of health-related areas:

  • cardiac development and health,
  • stress responses,
  • hyperglycemia,
  • neurodevelopmental disabilities including autism,
  • childhood cancers,
  • asthma, and
  • obesity.

Dr. Alexander ended his extended metaphor at the foot of the most daunting frontier in the American westward movement, the Rocky Mountains, offering that challenging image as the one facing researchers in the area of pediatric environmental health today.

Dale Johnson
cc: OD Senior Staff


This page was last reviewed on September 21, 2006 .

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