Freedom of Information Act Office
IC Directors' Meeting Highlights
June 16, 2004
|From:||Director, Executive Secretariat|
|Subject:||IC Directors Meeting Highlights—April 28, 2004|
I. HHS policies on International Visitors and Staff Foreign Travel
Dr. Gottesman announced that the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness recently reviewed departmental practices related to hosting foreign visitors and to foreign travel by HHS personnel. As a result, the Secretary has asked that the Department formalize new security procedures. NIH has been asked to develop a plan on how it would implement such procedures. Dr. Gottesman, with input from IC Directors, and in close consultation with FIC, DDM, and ADRS, will develop NIH's response to present to OS by mid May.
Dr. Lenfant stressed that LRP application reviews are not scientific reviews. Dr. Hanson suggested rewording the announcement to clarify that we are reviewing the scientific potential of the candidates. Dr. Lenfant also feels strongly that the entire process should be as open as possible and therefore that the national advisory councils should participate in the reviews in some way, although there is no absolute requirement for them to do so. After some discussion, the group concluded that the language (distributed with the meeting agenda) referring to "Council review"should be changed to "presented to Council" and that the quotation marks should be removed from around the word openness.
II. Steering Committee (SC) Update
Dr. Kington noted that the SC has met three times since he last reported.
- At the March 4 meeting, members discussed the placement of employees who had not been selected for the MEO and decided that until such placement the employees would remain in their home ICs.
- At the March 18 meeting, the SC addressed the current under use of FTES and agreed that ICs can hire in FY04 subject only to their FY05 levels–all other restrictions have been lifted. Mr. Turman and Ms. Barros will determine if there should be any FTE reallocation among ICs.
- At the April 15 meeting, the SC discussed the recommendation of the Blue Ribbon Panel on the Future of Intramural Clinical Research Final Report (January 2004) that NIH intramural clinical research oversight structure be revised by 1) creating a single, high-level oversight committee to replace all existing governing bodies that have oversight in this area; 2) creating an external advisory committee analogous to an IC's Board of Scientifc Counselors to biennially evaluate clinical research across the entire NIH; and 3) creating a new position of Deputy Director of Clinical Research in the OIR. The Steering Committee requested that there be clarification and alteration of certain points made in the Charter that was presented for the new oversight committee. There was also a suggestion that the appointment of a Deputy Director of Clinical Research be revisited in the total context of clinical research activities at the NIH.
lll. Outside Activities Update
Dr. Kington noted that the NIH Ethics Advisory Committee (NEAC) that he and Dr. Gottesman co-chair meets regularly, and he commended the members who are dedicating a tremendous amount of time and expertise to this effort. He also noted that in order to gain historical perspective on the current conflict of interest issues, Dr. Zerhouni would soon make a request for voluntary disclosure of certain past compensation amounts.
lV. Blue Ribbon Panel on Conflict of Interest (BRP) Update and Follow-up Hearings
Dr Skirboll announced that the BRP's final report would be presented to the Advisory Committee to the Director on May 6 and urged everyone to attend this meeting.
Mr. Smolonsky reported that Dr. Zerhouni and the co-chairs of the BRP, Dr. Alberts and Mr. Augustine, are scheduled to appear May 12 before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and that the following week on May 18, additional NIH and HHS representatives are scheduled to appear before the same Subcommittee.
V. PART and GPRA Updates
Dr. Skirboll and Dr. Zerhouni emphasized the importance of these two OMB-driven activities at NIH.
- The FY04 PART assessment is focused on NIH's extramural activities. Dr. Skirboll has been told informally by OMB that next year will focus on intramural, building and facilities, and training activities.
- The FY04 GPRA efforts are well under way throughout the ICs, and Dr. Skirboll praised the contributions of IC policy, planning, and program staff who do an amazing amount of work.
Dr. Skirboll noted that OSP and OB are working closely with CIT to develop a Web-based intranet site on which to gather IC input on both these activities.
cc: OD Staff