President Biden announced his intent on Monday to nominate the current director of the National Cancer Institute to lead the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Monica Bertagnolli has been director of the National Cancer Institute, a division of NIH, since October 2022 and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. She previously served as the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery in the field of surgical oncology at Harvard Medical School, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and president and chair of the board directors of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
“Dr. Bertagnolli has spent her career pioneering scientific discovery and pushing the boundaries of what is possible to improve cancer prevention and treatment for patients and ensuring that patients in every community have access to quality care,” Biden said in a statement. Her “vision and leadership will ensure NIH continues to be an engine of innovation to improve the health of the American people.”
He also noted that as director of the National Cancer Institute (and the first woman to hold the role), Bertagnolli has worked to advance his Cancer Moonshot initiative “to end cancer as we know it.”
Ellen Sigal, chair and founder of the nonprofit Friends of Cancer Research, said in a press release that, “in a short period of time, she has proven her leadership at the [National Cancer Institute], and I have no doubt she will do the same at the helm of NIH.”
NIH, which has about 19,790 employees, is the primary federal agency in charge of health research. It has lacked a permanent leader since Dr. Francis Collins stepped down in December 2021.