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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

March 6, 2007

To: IC Directors
From: Kerry Brink, Assistant to the Deputy Director, NIH
Subject: IC Directors' Meeting Highlights — January 25, 2007

Discussion Items

I. Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) PHS-USUHS-NIH Physician Investigator Program

Dr. John Niederhuber, NCI, presented the PHS-USUHS-NIH Physician Investigator Program’s goal to provide a cadre of Commissioned Corps physicians committed to NIH’s clinical and research missions. The selection of students follows USUHS guidelines with IC input. Students in the program interact with their sponsoring ICs over the course of their medical school education as their schedules allow, and according to their future interests and plans. Similar to the program established for PHS Commissioned Corps students sponsored by the Indian Health Service, NIH IC sponsored students are committed to the IC in proportion to the time sponsored. NCI and NIAID are current sponsors (four first-year medical students in program and selection underway for four more). The program allows students to meet NIH physician investigator core requirements.

Many IC Directors voiced strong support and encouraged participation of more ICs to gain greater flexibility in allowing students to transition to different ICs and disciplines, depending on interest. Suggestions included a loan repayment program between ICs if a student switches to a different IC, and that there be a central NIH liaison to assist ICs wanting to participate.

II. Personalized Health Care (PHC)

Ms. Sheila Walcoff, the Secretary’s Counselor for Science and Public Health, thanked Dr. Zerhouni for the opportunity to come to the NIH to introduce the Personalized Health Care discussion. Ms. Walcoff noted that among the Department’s priorities, Prevention and Personalized Health Care (PHC) receive high consideration, and it is a Department goal to companion appropriate policy to developing scientific information. Dr. Zerhouni thanked both Ms. Walcoff and Dr. Greg Downing for being advocates for NIH with the Administration.

Linking clinical and genomic information for medical benefits, while ensuring consumer protection, are main goals of PHC. Dr. Downing, the Secretary’s Project Director for PHC, presented the Secretary’s vision emphasizing the following:

  • Link clinical and genomic information to support prevention;
  • Establish individual clinical tailoring, with emphasis on sufficient protections to consumers;
  • Key enablers include rapid advances in science (e.g., human genome project), and integration of health information technology setting the stage for patient-centric care and genetic information;
  • Practical applications are to identify risk for disease; confirm diagnostic tests; and select appropriate therapies (i.e., pharmacogenomics).

The American Health Information Community (AHIC), a public/private collaborative, has established a PHC working group (Chaired by Secretary Leavitt and Dr. David Brailer), and seven work groups involving over 100 experts and stakeholders to develop recommendations including data standards and clinical support, and to address confidentiality and privacy concerns.

IC Directors voiced the importance of family history and that CLIA certified laboratories should be used for testing. Dr. Downing stressed that to gain public confidence the goal is to develop the best approach for performance standards of specialty testing. IC Directors expressed opportunities in behavioral science, influencing lifestyle practices, and tailored and targeted interventions. Developing appropriate tools to provide clinical support was stressed. Comments were raised that as an emerging concept, there is need to foster integration, as well as, validate and define the ‘destination’ by using test pilots and to re-define over time.

III. A-76 Preparations Update

Ms. Colleen Barros presented the ‘High Level Results of NIH A-76 Strategic Plan FY2006 - FY2008,’ prepared by the A-76 Steering Committee and in accordance with the Green Plan negotiated with OMB. The new A-76 Strategic Plan identifies FTEs for the following areas: commercial core, commercial competitive, identified for attrition, and to be determined.

IV. NBS “Go Live”

Ms. Colleen Barros presented the NIH Business System (NBS) as an integrated system that will service most of the NIH core administrative and support functions. The project began with a comprehensive business case to replace aging software to bring NIH into compliance with federal financial standards and to benefit from the gains of using an integrated system. The timeline is scheduled for February and May, 2007. February deployment will cause inconvenience but greater change to IC operations will occur in May. The turn off and turn on phase will be 5 business days, 10 days total (using holidays). Steps will be taken to minimize disruption during downtime (for example, patient travel will be entered into NBS in advance), and manual procedures will be used when necessary.

NIH should expect a productivity dip following deployment and to be more significant in May. Industry surveys reveal a moderate productivity dip for about 4-12 months, reasons are both technical (software bugs, data conversion, interface and reporting) and managerial (employee resistance, learning curve and user errors). The goal will be to mitigate the productivity dip by: extensive community consultation during design phase; community participation in the testing process; extensive communication; and a muli-layered training program. Studies indicate a key factor in ultimate success is leadership support. Some of the many benefits of NBS include: enhanced inventory tracking; elimination of financial discrepancies that now exist using two systems; streamlined requisitioning; electronic catalogue; and improved customer service.

Kerry Brink
cc: OD Staff

This page was last reviewed on March 9, 2007 .

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