NIH Director to Step Down by Year’s End

The longtime Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, announced on Tuesday that he will be stepping down from his position by the end of 2021, CNN reports.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Collins called it “an incredible privilege to lead this great agency for more than a decade.”

“I love this agency and its people so deeply that the decision to step down was a difficult one,” he added. “I am proud of all we’ve accomplished. I fundamentally believe, however, that no single person should serve in the position too long, and that it’s time to bring in a new scientist to lead the NIH into the future.” Collins gave his thanks to “the NIH staff and the scientific community, whose extraordinary commitment to lifesaving research delivers hope to the American people and the world every day.”

After serving in the position for 12 years and under three different presidents, the 71-year-old Collins will leave his post at the end of the year, although he will remain in charge of his research laboratory at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Collins has served as Director of the NIH for longer than anyone else in the agency’s history, a factor which may have contributed to his decision. In a previous interview with the Washington Post hinting at his own retirement, Collins said that “there comes a time where an institution like NIH really benefits from new vision, [and] new leadership.”

The NIH is the largest biomedical agency in the world, with a budget of $52 billion, over 6,000 scientists employed at its headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, and spending at least $42 billion per year for medical research efforts. Included in the NIH’s wide-ranging jurisdiction is the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is run by Anthony Fauci. Other agencies run by the NIH include the National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, among others.

About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: UNITED STATES - MAY 26: Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, arrives for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies hearing on the NIH FY2022 budget and the state of medical research, the in Dirksen Building on Tuesday, May 26, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

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