AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, and Chief Scientific Officer Ross McKinney Jr., MD, issued the following statement today on the announcement that Francis Collins, MD, PhD, will step down from his role as director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by the end of the year:
“The AAMC congratulates Dr. Collins on more than 12 years as director of the National Institutes of Health. During his tenure, he has provided extraordinary leadership at the NIH, working with researchers, patient advocates, academic institutions, and policymakers to advance discovery in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases that impact the lives of people across the nation and around the world. Thanks to his leadership, the NIH has been at the forefront of improving the health of all people.
Dr. Collins’ bold vision throughout his time at the NIH has helped to push the boundaries of science toward game-changing discoveries in the areas of cancer prevention and treatment, COVID-19 vaccine development, genomic mapping, the understanding of brain diseases, and so much more. His ability to communicate the value of science to policymakers and the public has been essential in engaging diverse voices in medical research, and his support from policymakers on both sides of the aisle has laid a strong foundation for the future of the NIH. Perhaps most important, Dr. Collins’ commitment to building a diverse and inclusive research workforce and inspiring a new generation of scientists will strengthen science and improve the health of our nation for decades to come.
Our nation and the world have been very fortunate to have a physician-scientist of Dr. Collins’ experience, knowledge, and vision as a leader of the world’s foremost biomedical and behavioral research enterprise. As he returns to his lab within the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute, he leaves the NIH well-positioned to thrive under new leadership and in the very capable hands of the many talented institute and center directors. The AAMC looks forward to continuing to work with everyone at the NIH to create a healthier future for all.”