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Freedom of Information Act Office

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

August 27, 2003

To: IC Directors
From: Director, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors Meeting Highlights—July 17, 2003

Discussion Items

I. NIH Obesity Research Task Force

Dr. Spiegel updated the group on the NIH Obesity Research Task Force that Dr. Zerhouni established and asked Dr. Lenfant and him to co-chair in April 2003. The charge to the Task Force, which comprises members from a number of ICs and OD offices, is

develop an NIH strategic plan for obesity research by identifying areas of greatest scientific opportunity,
monitor and report on the plan's implementation, and
serve as the NIH point of contact on this issue with external agencies.

Dr. Spiegel elaborated on three research goals that the Task Force has identified :

evaluate the effectiveness and ensure translation of strategies to maintain healthy weight in children and adults through behavior change that can be applied in the home, school, and workplace environments;
use knowledge of regulation of energy storage and food intake to develop new therapeutic modalities to complement life style interventions; and
use knowledge of mechanisms whereby obesity increases risk for co-morbidities to develop potential therapeutic approaches for ameliorating these conditions independent of weight loss.

The Task Force will establish a strategic plan to maximize collaboration among NIH ICs and capitalize on their expertise and interest. It has sought and will continue to seek external input from extramural scientists, lay leaders, and the public. The NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research, along with Scientific Directors from several ICs, is developing a coordinated intramural obesity research program. After giving numerous examples of FY 2004 Obesity Initiatives, Dr. Spiegel listed the FY 2005 Obesity Initiative Concept Proposals as follows:

neurobiologic basis of human obesity,
genetics and genomics of obesity and progression to co-morbidities,
prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity in primary care settings, and the built environment and obesity.

Dr. Spiegel said that the task force would welcome additional IC representation. Stressing that communication is critical to fostering synergy and preventing duplication in obesity-related efforts, he recommended bidirectional exchange between Task Force members and their respective IC Directors. Finally, he asked that Directors consider integrating the above initiative concepts into their FY 2005 budget planning.

ll. Engaging the Media

Mr. Burklow led a discussion on recent NIH efforts to engage the media proactively. He urged that IC Directors join the NIH Director in promoting NIH activities through interviews and articles in the print media as well as on radio and television and other media venues. He also advised that in the case of negative stories, it is critical to gather the facts and respond quickly and consistently.

Dr. Zerhouni noted that we have many good stories to tell regarding both our science and our management of science, and he plans to get the full breadth of NIH contributions and successes firmly out in clear view so that any negative stories are read against this bigger picture.

Dale Johnson
cc: OD Staff

This page last reviewed on July 19, 2011

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