Dr. Monica Bertagnolli takes the helm as NIH Director

Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D., started today as the 17th director of the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s biomedical research agency and largest public funder of biomedical research in the world. She is the first surgeon and the second woman to hold the position. Nominated by President Biden, Dr. Bertagnolli was confirmed on a bipartisan basis by the U.S. Senate on November 7. She transitioned from her role as the 16th director of the National Cancer Institute, a position she has held since October 2022. NCI Principal Deputy Director Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., will serve as the NCI acting director until President Biden appoints a new director.

In his nomination announcement earlier this year, President Biden stated: “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. Dr. Bertagnolli is a world-class physician-scientist whose vision and leadership will ensure NIH continues to be an engine of innovation to improve the health of the American people.”

Growing up in rural Wyoming, Dr. Bertagnolli experienced and saw firsthand the challenges faced by rural communities to access medical care and participate in medical research. Due to that lived experience, equity is a core value that drives all her efforts, which includes ensuring NIH research is equitable and accessible to all people from all walks of life regardless of income or zip code.

“As a physician-scientist for more than 30 years, I have seen the transformative power of NIH research to produce results that save lives, including my own treatment for breast cancer,” said Dr. Bertagnolli. “As NIH director, I look forward to ensuring that NIH continues to be the steward of our nation’s medical research while engaging all people and communities in the research effort that includes informing medical practice that drives equitable access to health care for all.” 

NIH Director, Dr. Monica Bertagnolli

NIH Director Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D.

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This page was last updated on Thursday, November 9, 2023