NIH Director, Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., leads the nation’s medical research agency and oversees the NIH’s 27 Institutes and Centers with more than 18,000 employees and a fiscal year 2006 budget of $28.6 billion.
The NIH investigates the causes, treatments, and preventive strategies for both common and rare diseases helping to lead the way toward important medical discoveries that improve people's health and save lives. More than 83% of the NIH’s funding is awarded through almost 50,000 competitive grants to more than 325,000 scientists and research support staff at more than 3,000 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions in every state and around the world. About 10% of the NIH’s budget supports projects conducted by nearly 6,000 scientists in its own laboratories, most of which are on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
Dr. Zerhouni, a well-respected leader in the field of radiology and medicine, has spent his career providing clinical, scientific, and administrative leadership. Since being named by President George W. Bush to serve as the 15th Director of the National Institutes of Health, beginning in May 2002, Dr. Zerhouni has:
Overseen the completion of the doubling of the NIH budget
The National Institutes of Health supports a thriving medical research enterprise. With the historic doubling of the NIH budget from 1998 to 2003, a record number of research grants are being awarded to scientists around the country, more young scientists are receiving training than ever before, and clinical trials — patient studies of new approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases — are receiving unprecedented support.
Initiated the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research
Launched in September 2003, the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, a new research vision to accelerate medical discovery to improve health, focuses the attention of the biomedical research community on new pathways of discovery, research teams for the future and the re-engineering of the clinical research enterprise. It aims to accelerate the pace of discovery and speed the application of new knowledge to the development of new prevention strategies, new diagnostics and new treatments, and, ultimately, to the transfer these innovations to health care providers, and the public.
Established an NIH-wide research initiative to address the obesity epidemic
The Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research is a multi-dimensional research agenda that addresses one of the nation’s most dramatic health challenges. In the U.S. population, recent figures show that 65 percent of adults — or 130 million people are overweight or obese. The strategic plan enhances both the development of new research in areas of greatest scientific opportunity and the coordination of obesity research across the NIH. The plan calls for interdisciplinary research teams to bridge the study of behavioral and environmental causes of obesity with the study of genetic and biologic causes.
Supported the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint
Mental illness, neurological disorders and a range of behavioral disorders are major causes of human suffering and contribute greatly to the burden of disease. These illnesses exact a cost of $500 billion each year. NIH Directors from 17 Institutes and Centers have developed a model of strategic leadership to address several of the most common causes of death and disability, as well as rare disorders that affect the brain, spinal cord, or nerve cells throughout the body. The blueprint leverages the abilities of the Institutes and Centers to create new resources, tackle common scientific problems, and train the next generation of neuroscientists through collaboration and leadership.
Supported the reduction of health disparities and barriers to opportunity for minority individuals
”Broadening the collaborative relationships developed through partnerships between NIH and institutions and researchers from all populations,” is the focus of Dr. Zerhouni’s commitment to eliminating health disparities and disparities in the burden of disease. In 2004, NIH announced the awarding of $65.1 million to support the advancement of health disparities research. This was the most recent in a series of commitments of funds to this research. NIH has made 71 awards under the Centers of Excellence program.
Ensured public access to NIH-funded research results
February 3, 2005, Dr. Zerhouni announced an historic public access policy. For the first time, the public will have access to peer-reviewed research publications that resulted from studies funded by NIH. Dr. Zerhouni has urged maximum participation by investigators, encouraging scientists to submit their publications as soon as possible and within twelve months of publication to the archive.
Committed to earn the public’s trust
Dr. Zerhouni continues to seek advice from the public through the Council of Public Representatives (COPR), a recent public trust workshop, and, more locally, through community liaison efforts. He is committed as well to producing the most scientifically-accurate, useful and accessible health information through public health campaigns, fact sheets, over the Web and through a full complement of outreach efforts with special attention to cultural competence designed to keep the public informed.
Enhanced the leadership of NIH
Since becoming the NIH Director, Dr. Zerhouni named a new NIH Deputy Director (Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D.) and directors for nine institutes and three centers: National Institute of Mental Health (Thomas R. Insel, M.D.), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Ting-Kai Li, M.D.), National Institute on Drug Abuse (Nora D. Volkow, M.D.), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (Story C. Landis, Ph.D.), National Institute of General Medical Sciences (Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D.), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program (David A. Schwartz, M.D.), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D.), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D.), Center for Scientific Review (Antonio Scarpa, M.D., Ph.D.), John E. Fogarty International Center (Roger I. Glass, M.D., Ph.D.), National Cancer Institute (John E. Niederhuber, M.D.) and theNational Center for Research Resources (Barbara M. Alving , M.D.)
Prior to joining the NIH, Dr. Zerhouni served as executive vice-dean of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, chair of the Russell H. Morgan department of radiology and radiological science, and Martin Donner professor of radiology, and professor of biomedical engineering. Before that, he was vice dean for research at Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Zerhouni was born in Nedroma, Algeria and came to the United States at age 24, having earned his medical degree at the University of Algiers School of Medicine in 1975. After completing his residency in diagnostic radiology at Johns Hopkins in 1978 as chief resident, he served as assistant professor in 1979 and associate professor in 1985. Between 1981 and 1985 he was in the department of radiology at Eastern Virginia Medical School and its affiliated DePaul Hospital. In 1985, Dr. Zerhouni returned to Johns Hopkins where he was appointed director of the MRI division, and then was appointed full professor in 1992 becoming the chairman of the radiology department in January 1996.
Since 2000, he has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine. He served on the National Cancer Institute's Board of Scientific Advisors from 1998-2002. In 1988, he was a consultant to the World Health Organization, and in 1985 he was a consultant to the White House under President Ronald Reagan.
A resident of Baltimore, he has won several awards for his research including a Gold Medal from the American Roentgen Ray Society for CT research and two Paul Lauterbur Awards for MRI research. His research in imaging led to advances in Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT scanning) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that resulted in 157 peer reviewed publications and 8 patents.