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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

August 8, 2006

To: IC Directors
From: Director, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors' Meeting Highlights — July 13, 2006

Discussion Items

I. Hurricane Katrina Supplements and Extensions

Dr. Kitt stated that following the disaster of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans lost almost half of its population. With the combination of the hurricane and the ensuing flooding, there was a dramatic impact on bench and clinical research. The impact of Katrina on bench research includes:

  • Disruption of research — a few lost at least 3 months, but many projects lost at least 6-12 months of bench time.
  • Investigators report vigorous attempts to reduce impact.
  • Some labs could relocate to alternate facilities.
    • Desk work-data analysis, publication preparation, and grant proposal writing could often continue.
  • Loss of research materials — animals, reagents, preserved samples.
  • Loss of key equipment items.

The impact of Katrina on clinical research includes the following:

  • Difficulty in locating human subjects.
  • Clinical facilities slow to reopen which resulted in the status of clinical studies diminishing.
  • Katrina impact on individual studies will require DSMB review to insure adequacy of protection of human subjects and assess potential study impact (no protocols in effect as of March, 2006).

Consistent concerns are the lost time and disruption of research, the retention of staff and programs, and inconsistent NIH response.

Dr. Kitt concluded with recommendations (unanimously agreed upon by the Steering Committee) that would implement an NIH-wide consistent approach:

  • IC-based project-by-project review to assess impact and potential remedies.
  • Provision for consistent consideration of up to a 1 year funded extension of single project grants set up with specific criteria.
  • PIs must stay in the New Orleans area to receive the extension.
  • PIs in the affected institutions may apply for a one-time request for up to $50,000 administrative supplement to cover support for small pieces of equipment or their repair, supplies, reagents, animals, etc.
  • Funding options that include:
    • Paid by ICs supporting projects.
    • Director’s reserve that would demonstrate the NIH commitment and leverage IC “matching.”
    • IC tap that would spread cost across the NIH.
    • Combination of any of the above.

The Steering Committee’s recommendation was that the ICs supporting the projects would have the responsibility for supporting successful applications for funded extensions and one-time supplements. The Trans-NIH Katrina Team would provide oversight for incoming requests from eligible institutions.

II. Steering Committee Discussion Regarding Potential NIH Reauthorization Legislation

Dr. Hodes reported on a Steering Committee discussion regarding a draft concept paper on NIH reauthorization provided by the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Dr. Hodes stated that there appears to be strong momentum for a bill this year, especially since the last time NIH was reauthorized was in 1993. Ms. Gray reported that Energy and Commerce staff are working on a draft bill and NIH may have an opportunity to review the draft. The Chairman recently indicated his intent to introduce the bill prior to the August recess and may also hold an NIH reauthorization hearing as well.

The Steering Committee had three major issues of concern with the draft concept paper, including:

  • The percentage of the NIH budget that would be devoted to the “common fund.”
  • Potential caps on overall NIH funding.
  • Individual Institute and Center budget increases that would be dependent upon the amount of trans-NIH initiatives they fund.

IC Directors concurred with the Steering Committee's concerns in the concept paper. OLPA will share those concerns with the Committee.

III. Halving Premature Death: Is it Realistic?

Dr. Glass welcomed and introduced Sir Richard Peto and thanked him for his willingness to provide this special presentation to the NIH IC Directors.

Sir Peto presentation focused on individual tobacco hazards and mortality trends attributed to tobacco. He started by discussing the main messages that should be shared with all smokers:

  • The risk is big: One-half of all smokers die from cancer, vascular disease, or respiratory disease.
  • One-fourth of smokers die in middle age (35-69), therefore losing many years of life.
  • Stopping smoking works and the benefits of quitting are underestimated.
  • If you start young and do not quit you are guaranteed health problems due to smoking.

His studies have shown that on the average, for men born between 1900 and 1930, cigarette smokers lost about 10 years, however cessation at ages 60, 50, 40, or 30 gains ~3, 6, 9, or almost the full 10 years. He then shared numerous graphs depicting the effects of tobacco consumption and how it attributes to cancer mortality, especially to lung cancer at younger ages in both males and females.

Sir Peto stated that the effects of tobacco are even more dominant in the U.K. than in the U.S. He noted that in the U.S. there are still around one million new smokers per year and that half of these will eventually be killed by tobacco if they don’t stop. In the world there are approximately 30 million new smokers per year. He stressed that if this trend continues that the total deaths attributed to tobacco consumption in the 21st century could reach 1 billion, this compares with a total of approximately 100 million in the 20th century. Sir Peto concluded by stating that the prevention of a substantial proportion of tobacco deaths requires adult cessation and by continuing to reduce the percentage of children that start smoking.

Ann Brewer
cc: OD Senior Staff


This page was last reviewed on September 21, 2006 .

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