New Director at NIDCD: Debara Tucci
NIH welcomes Debara L. Tucci as the new director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Tucci, who joined NIH in September 2019, was previously a professor of surgery and the director of the cochlear-implant program in the Division of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina). Her clinical research interests are addressing barriers to hearing health care for older adults and establishing a network of academic and community-based research sites to conduct clinical research in hearing and balance disorders. While at the NIH, and as co-chair of the Lancet Commission on Global Hearing Loss, she will continue her work addressing hearing loss as a global public-health problem.
“Dr. Tucci’s rich experience melds basic and clinical research in communication disorders with an impressive clinical and surgical practice in otology and neurotology,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins in May 2019, when he announced her selection as director. “This experience, combined with her leadership roles for numerous scientific and professional organizations, as well as serving previously as an advisor at NIH, makes her ideally suited to lead the NIDCD into the future.”
As the new director, Tucci will oversee NIDCD’s annual budget of approximately $459 million and lead the institute’s research and training programs in hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. Discoveries in these areas can have a dramatic impact on the lives of the tens of millions of people with deafness and other communication disorders.
Tucci earned her M.D. from the University of Virginia School of Medicine (Charlottesville, Virginia); completed residencies in general surgery at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital (Ann Arbor, Michigan) and otolaryngology in head and neck surgery at the University of Virginia; and did a fellowship in the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan). She had been on the faculty of the Duke University Medical Center since 1993, where she co-founded the Duke Hearing Center. She has received continuous NIH funding since beginning her academic career. Tucci also led NIDCD grants to train and mentor the next generation of clinician investigators in otolaryngology and communication sciences.
Tucci is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS). She has served on the AAO-HNS Research Advisory Board, Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and several subcommittees. She has served as president of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, the American Otological Society, and the American Neurotology Society and is active in many other professional societies. She also served on the National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council from 2013 to 2017 and the NIDCD Board of Scientific Counselors from 2017 to 2019.
Collins also extended his appreciation and gratitude to NIDCD Deputy Director Judith Cooper, who served as the acting director after long-time NIDCD director James F. Battey Jr. retired in May 2018.
This page was last updated on Thursday, March 31, 2022