Biden nominating Monica Bertagnolli as NIH director

 May 16, 2023

President Joe Biden announced his nomination for the next director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Monday.

Biden is nominating Dr. Monic Bertagnolli, the current director of the National Cancer Institute.

Biden's statement

“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,” Biden stated.

“As Director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Bertagnolli has advanced my Cancer Moonshot to end cancer as we know it. She has brought together partners and resources from different sectors to launch groundbreaking efforts in cancer prevention and early detection, a national navigation program for childhood cancers, and additional programs to bring clinical trials to more Americans,” he continued.

Her background

"The nominee would be replacing former NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, who held the post for 12 years before stepping down in December 2021, and acting director Dr. Lawrence Tabak, who stepped in for Collins," the Epoch Times reported.

"If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the second woman to hold the position of permanent director of the NIH, which is one of the world’s foremost biomedical research institutions," it added.

"Bertagnolli is likely to face difficult questions from senators about the agency’s COVID-19 response and its spending priorities. Biden’s 2024 budget request proposed $51.1 billion for the NIH," according to the Hill.

"She may also face questions about drug pricing. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recently told the White House he would oppose any health nominee who does not commit to fighting for lower drug prices," it added.

The key health position came to prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Collins, who previously led the NIH, was part of many criticisms related to health concerns during the time.

Bertagnolli has been part of Biden's cancer "moonshot" program designed to help greatly reduce the cancer death rate over the next 25 years.

Her potential move to the NIH would place her in an even higher role in the Biden administration as he seeks to strengthen support ahead of the 2024 election.


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