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Thread: Bush's NIH pick praised at U.S. Senate hearing

  1. #1

    Bush's NIH pick praised at U.S. Senate hearing

    Bush's NIH pick praised at U.S. Senate hearing

    By Joanne Kenen

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dr. Elias Zerhouni, an Algerian-born doctor and medical school administrator tapped to head the National Institutes of Health, sailed through his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday and the full Senate is likely to approve him shortly.

    The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension committee will vote on the nomination Wednesday and chairman Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, predicted easy approval by the full Senate, perhaps in just a few days.

    Nominated by President Bush in March, Zerhouni received nothing but praise from senators in both parties for his scientific and entrepreneurial achievements. He is executive vice dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and has an extensive background in radiology and biomedical engineering.

    The NIH director helps set the national medical research agenda while managing a $27 billion budget, a sprawling campus consisting of more than two dozen institutes, centers and offices, and a 13,000 strong work force encompassing everything from its Nobel laureates to its own fire department.

    As director, he must also confront bioethical decisions that often have a political component, such as the current debates about stem cell research and cloning.

    Zerhouni promised to provide objective, scientific data to policymakers as these ethical debates evolve.

    "I believe disease knows no politics," he said. "I believe the NIH and its director should not be or be made to be factional but must always remain factual."

    At Hopkins, he established a stem cell research center, which earned him opposition of some staunchly anti-abortion rights groups. He said in his testimony that Bush's policy on stem cells set last August was an "important advance" allowing federal funding on a limited number of existing stem cell lines derived from fertility clinics.

    He said his priorities at NIH would include recruitment and retention of a diverse body of top scientists, and seeking ways to move more swiftly from basic scientific research into clinical research for patients. He also said he would work with Kennedy to improve protections for people who volunteer to be subjects in clinical trials.
    04/30/02 12:53 ET

  2. #2


    This guy settles in I think he'll be good for us.


    Onward and Upward!

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