free web stats
Office of Extramural Research, National Institutes of Health Extramural Nexus
  October 2008
Director's Column
Image of Norka Ruiz Bravo

As some of you may already know, in November, I will transition as Director of the Office of Extramural Research (OER) and NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research (DDER) to the role of Special Advisor to the NIH Director.

I personally believe that the leadership of high level positions like that of the DDER should turn over every five or six years to make room for new perspectives and direction, and November marks the completion of my fifth year of service as NIH DDER.  Dr. Zerhouni’s departure makes this an ideal time for my own transition.  From the position of Special Advisor to the NIH Director I can continue to contribute to the NIH mission. 

I am very proud of all that we have been able to accomplish in our five years together.  Much remains to be done, and we have a number of challenges ahead –– such is the nature of biomedical research.  Perhaps our most serious immediate challenge is the financial conflict of interest (FCOI) issues still facing our extramural research community. In this regard, NIH has taken –– and I am sure will continue to take –– necessary action in a thoughtful and measured way to ensure that the integrity of the scientific research that we support is maintained and that we preserve public trust.  I am confident that the NIH-supported biomedical research community is fully engaged and aware of the gravity and complexity of the issues before us.  I know that many of you, scientists, academic leaders, and professional societies are poised to respond to the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) as soon as it emerges from the clearance process, and I am looking forward to the product of this community discussion.

Dr. Sally Rockey, my deputy since 2005, has agreed to serve as the interim DDER. Prior to arriving at the NIH, she was the Deputy Administrator, Information Systems and Technology Management Unit, Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. In that role, she provided leadership for and managed all aspects of the agency’s information technology and software applications, spearheading the successful reconstruction of its ailing IT department and bringing the department into compliance with USDA and OMB directives. Sally is also an expert in grants management and the peer review process. I am grateful for her willingness to assume the role, and I am confident that under her leadership the NIH-supported extramural research community will continue to thrive.

It has truly been a privilege to work with you and to serve our extramural research community as the NIH DDER.  I will long remember the friendship, support, and challenges we have shared and look forward to continuing to work with you and serve our community in my new role.

— Norka Ruiz Bravo, Ph.D.
OER Director and NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research

Return to Table of Contents