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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 9, 2006

To: IC Directors
From: Director, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors' Meeting Highlights — June 8, 2006

Discussion Items

I. Electronic Submission Update

Ms. Columbus began by reporting that over 7000 applications have been received electronically and that they are meeting the eSubmission timeline. She also reported that eSubmission continue to improve with the smoothest process occurring with the June 1 Small Grant receipt date. The improvements resulted from:

  • Better educated users and staff.
  • Offices of sponsored research were better prepared and more familiar with NIH than are small businesses.
  • eRA processing ability and software continues to improve.
  • eRA Help Desk much more accessible by way of engaging surge support from CIT to help with times of heaviest volume.

Ms. Columbus discussed how they worked with the applicant community to refine the process and how they have improved performance monitoring. She also reports that Citrix is working as a temporary solution to the Mac issues and that IBM and have reconfirmed their commitment to make a PureEdge solution that works with Macs available by November 2006.

Ms. Columbus states that there are continuing challenges such as forms model is not well suited to evolving business needs because it cannot accommodate form changes without disruption to applicant community and substantial agency effort. NIH’s efforts with continue to look at ways to improve the process by:

  • Continuing to monitor and plan to ensure preparedness for the 2/1/07 R01s.
  • Looking at ways to spread workload on peak submissions dates.
  • Ensuring that appendices can be handled.
  • Continuing communications with the applicant community.
  • Engaging IC staff on a variety of eSubmission related working groups.
  • Working to educate internal NIH staff to present a consistent message from NIH regarding eSubmission to the community.
She assured all that the technology of the system is well protected and there is disaster recovery at multiple sites.

Dr. Zerhouni thanked Ms. Columbus and her group for all of their efforts especially since they don’t have all the control of the process.

II. Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP)

Dr. Glass provided a packet of DCPP publications to all attendees. He then started by explaining that the DCPP is an alliance of organizations designed to review, generate, and disseminate information on how to improve population health in developing countries. This information is generated and disseminated by the FIC, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The objectives of the DCPP reflect disease burdens and priorities and include:

  • Developing an evidence base to inform decision-making by
    • Providing estimates of the cost-effectiveness and impact of single interventions and packages.
    • Collaborating in defining disease burdens globally and regionally.
    • Summarizing implementation experience in different regions and globally.
  • Communicating major findings by
    • Suggesting the “best buys” and the “worst buys” in any given setting.
    • Disseminating the results widely to multiple audiences.
    • Stimulating national priority setting and program implementation.

The DCPP has identified the best health buys that have proven to be highly cost-effective in a variety of settings and not only decrease mortality, but also disability and dysfunction.

Discussion followed regarding the possible implications for the NIH, such as education needed on our side, potential research areas, and how we ethically perform clinical trials globally. Dr. Glass concluded by inviting all to attend Sir Richard Peto’s presentation at the July 13 IC Directors meeting.

III. Update from Dr. John Agwunobi, Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS

Dr. Zerhouni introduced Dr. John Agwunobi and thanked him for his second visit to the NIH IC Directors meeting.

Dr. Agwunobi began with how honored he was to address the world’s finest again. He reported that the transition of the Commissioned Corps is going well and to assure all that their voice is being heard regarding lifting FTE caps.

He discussed the Secretary’s and his vision and how they modify this to gain consensus so that the work of HHS can be sustained after this Secretary is gone.

He shared his priorities that include:
  • Transformation of the Commissioned Corps.
  • Building obesity prevention programs that will sustain by:
    • FDA labeling that raise consumer awareness.
    • Importance of exercise and how we transmit this to the world.
    • Education using media and information pipelines to get to kids.
    • Commitment to research.
  • Pandemic Influenza preparedness by developing a vaccine that is aimed at a part of the virus that doesn’t change (not limited to H5N1).
  • Furthering the health of children.
  • Mental health issues.

Dr. Agwunobi then expanded on the importance of mental health issues. He referred to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina where SAMSHA (who is staffed predominately by social workers) was trained by and worked with medical people as a public health team. He discussed the importance of bringing together local and broad teams made up of State Public Health staff, hospitals, and the Federal Government.

The meeting concluded with discussion regarding global and children’s health and the how the nomination of Dr. Agwunobi to the Executive Board of WHO will provide a positive impact.

Ann Brewer
cc: OD Senior Staff


This page was last reviewed on September 21, 2006 .

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