NIDDK Director's Update (October 5, 2005) : NIDDK

NIDDK Director's Update (October 5, 2005)

Welcome to the fourth NIDDK Director's Update.  This periodic electronic newsletter will bring you updates on NIH and NIDDK activities and events of interest.  It will also include NIDDK-specific plans and trans-NIH issues of importance to the Institute.  Whenever possible, we will include internet links to web sites for more information.

NIH Hurricane Katrina Response:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is vitally concerned about the health and welfare of victims of Hurricane Katrina, including NIH grantees at medical centers and universities in Gulf Coast states severely affected by the hurricane.  Information for NIH grantees and grantee institutions is available on the NIH Office of Extramural Research web site:

Additional information about the NIH response to the hurricane is available on the NIH web site:

Additional information from the NIDDK on diabetes and kidney failure is available on the NIDDK web site:

NIH Announces Final Ethics Rules:

On August 25, 2005, NIH Director, Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., sent a memo to all NIH staff providing final regulations regarding reporting of certain financial interests, stock divestiture, outside activities, and awards.  The regulations were developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with NIH, and with the concurrence of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), the Federal agency that prescribes executive branch-wide ethics standards. The announcement came following a review of all comments about the interim ethics regulation submitted by NIH staff, the public, and scientific organizations. 

More information is available on the NIH Conflict of Interest Information and Resources web page:

Link to NIH Record article:

NIH Reauthorization:

On July 19, 2005, Dr. Zerhouni testified before the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on the topic of NIH Reauthorization.  The Subcommittee presented draft legislation that categorized existing NIH Centers and Institutes into two types:  mission-specific and science-enabling.  In addition, the draft legislation proposed new authority for the NIH Director.  In his testimony to the Subcommittee, Dr. Zerhouni referred to a 2003 Institute of Medicine report, which offered recommendations for NIH reorganization.  He also expressed his support of the formation of a division of program coordination, planning, and strategic initiatives within the NIH Office of the Director.  According to Dr. Zerhouni, this new division “will serve as a coordinating office for evaluating on a regular basis the progress of science in the context of public health priorities.  It will be responsible for analyzing and reporting with consistent methods the portfolios of NIH research that cross the boundaries of multiple Institutes and for identifying trans-NIH research needs that no single Institute can address but that all of NIH needs to support.”  The NIH was last reauthorized in 1993.

More information is available on the NIH Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis web site:

2003 Institute of Medicine Report :

NIH Public Access Policy:

Dr. Zerhouni continues to encourage all NIH-supported investigators to submit manuscripts to the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system in compliance with the NIH Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research, also know as the NIH “Public Access Policy,” which became effective on May 2, 2005.  Dr. Zerhouni asserts that “the success of the Policy is critical for the permanent preservation of peer-reviewed publications resulting from NIH-funded research.  NIH plans to use this extensive archive to manage its research portfolio, monitor scientific productivity more efficiently, and help set research priorities.”  To assist investigators with submission of manuscripts, the NIH Office of the Director has added several new features to the NIH Public Access web page, including an NIH Public Access Policy Authors' Manual and a PowerPoint slide presentation for use by NIH program, review, and grants management staff to inform the research community about the Policy and to encourage maximum participation.

NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system:

More information is available on the NIH Public Access web page:

NIH Roadmap for Medical Research & the NIH Director's Pioneer Award:

On September 29, 2005, Dr. Zerhouni announced the winners of the 2005 NIH Director's Pioneer Award, a key component of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.  The award supports scientists of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering approaches to major challenges in biomedical research.  Also on September 29, 2005, the NIH distributed a news release and background information describing the progress of specific initiatives two years after the launch of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.

More information is available on the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research web site:

National Commission on Digestive Diseases:

On September 20, 2005, Dr. Zerhouni announced the establishment of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases, which will focus on improving the health of the nation through digestive diseases research.  As part of its mission, the Commission will conduct an overview of the state-of-the science in the field of digestive diseases research and will develop a 10-year, long-range plan for digestive diseases research consistent with the research mission of the NIH. The Commission will report directly to the Director of the NIH. 

The Commission will be composed of 16 members, appointed for the life of the Commission by the Director of the NIH.  They will represent a broad diversity of scientific and professional experience in the field of digestive diseases. Of the 16 appointed members, 12 will be members of the academic or medical research and practice communities and four will be from patient-oriented organizations or will have close personal or family experience with digestive diseases.  In addition to the 16 appointed members, the Commission will include 18 nonvoting "ex officio" members from the NIH and other federal government agencies involved in digestive diseases research. The Chair of the Commission will be the Director, Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition at the NIDDK.

More information about the Commission is available on the NIH News & Events Page:

Further information about the Commission charter and process for nomination of members can be found on the Commission web site:

2006 Budget Update:

The President has proposed a 2006 budget for NIH of $28.7 billion, an increase of 0.5 percent over 2005.  The increase to the NIDDK budget is also 0.5 percent, for a total of $1,722,146,000, an increase of about $9 million.  The House has completed an appropriations bill that maintains the NIH budget at the same level as the President's request.  The proposed House bill includes $2 million for the new NIH Office of Policy Analysis and Strategic Initiatives within the NIH Office of the Director.  The proposed Senate appropriations bill for the NIH is $905 million more than the President's Budget Request.  This level would equate to an increase of about 3.9 percent for the NIH.  The final budget will be decided following debate in the Conference Committee between the House and Senate.  Congress has passed and the President signed a continuing resolution that will extend funding for NIH through November 18th at the fiscal year 2005 level.

More information about the NIH Budget is available on the NIH Office of Budget web site:

NIDDK Extramural Mini-Retreat:

On August 22 through 24, 2005, members of the NIDDK scientific leadership attended a retreat to discuss scientific priority setting and evaluation concerning funding for the extramural research community.  A discussion of these topics is particularly important at this time in order to mitigate to the greatest extent possible the consequences of the reduction in NIH budget increases following the period of doubling of the NIH budget, which lasted from 1999 to 2003.  During the doubling period, the annual yearly rate of increase reached nearly 15 percent, but since then the annual yearly rate of increase has rapidly decelerated.  From the discussion at the NIDDK Extramural Mini-Retreat, NIDDK extramural staff will implement a comprehensive evaluation of the NIDDK Extramural Research Program.  A particular focus will be on our efforts to preserve the pool of new investigators seeking support from NIH.  In addition, members from each extramural division will participate in a trans-NIDDK Clinical Trials Working Group.  Membership will include program directors managing clinical trials, as well as staff with expertise in biostatistics, regulatory affairs, budget analysis, and technology transfer.  The Clinical Trials Working Group will develop a set of guidelines for clinical trial design in order to evaluate existing clinical trials and refine them to build in additional efficiency and to plan and prioritize new clinical trial proposals.  More information on the NIDDK Extramural Mini-Retreat will follow in subsequent NIDDK Director Update newsletters.

Dr. Brent Stanfield Joins NIDDK:

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Brent Stanfield has joined the NIDDK as Director of the Division of Extramural Activities.  Dr. Stanfield comes to us from the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), where he has been serving as Acting Director since October 2003.  Prior to that appointment, Dr. Stanfield served as Deputy Director of CSR for three years, from July 2000 until October 2003.  Dr. Stanfield's NIH experience includes time spent in the NIH Office of the Director of Science Policy and over 13 years spent with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where he ran the unit on developmental neuroanatomy in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology from 1987 to 1996. 

Dr. Stanfield received his Ph.D. in neurobiology from Washington University in St. Louis in 1978.  He then held faculty positions at the Salk Institute and the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine before coming to the NIH in 1987.  He has published more than 50 journal articles, many of them focused on the hippocampal formation and the development of the cerebral cortex.  Dr. Stanfield also has served as a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Comparative Neurology and as an associate editor of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Dr. Stanfield joined the NIDDK on July 1, 2005.

New NIDDK Staff Appointments:

NIDDK welcomes several new members to the staff.  Dr. Mary Horlick joins the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, NIDDK, as the director of the Pediatric Clinical Obesity Program.  Dr. Karl Malik joins the Division of Extramural Activities, NIDDK, as the Special Assistant to the Director, Division of Extramural Activities.  Dr. Laura Moen joins the Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases, NIDDK, as director of the Renal and Urology Training Program and as a program director in the area of renal biochemistry.     

I look forward to continued interaction with those of you who have an interest in the programs of NIDDK.  Comments about this electronic newsletter can be directed to Betsy Singer, Public Liaison for NIDDK at

Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., Director


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