Congress questions acting NIEHS director

linkurl:Samuel Wilson,;http://www.niehs.nih.gov/about/od/ad/index.cfm acting director of NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said today that he intends to restore cuts to NIEHS programs that focus on disease prevention, long-term epidemiological research, education and outreach. His comments came at a congressional hearing held by the linkurl:House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy.;http://domesticpolicy.oversight.house.gov/ linkurl:Dennis Kucinich;http://kucinich.house.gov/

By | September 26, 2007

linkurl:Samuel Wilson,;http://www.niehs.nih.gov/about/od/ad/index.cfm acting director of NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said today that he intends to restore cuts to NIEHS programs that focus on disease prevention, long-term epidemiological research, education and outreach. His comments came at a congressional hearing held by the linkurl:House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy.;http://domesticpolicy.oversight.house.gov/ linkurl:Dennis Kucinich;http://kucinich.house.gov/ (D-OH), chair of the subcommittee, and linkurl:Darrell Issa;http://issa.house.gov/ (R-CA), ranking member, questioned Wilson about NIEHS cuts, most of which were made under the direction of former NIEHS director linkurl:David Schwartz,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53502/ who was asked to step down from his post late last month while allegations of his mismanagement of the agency are reviewed by federal and outside management experts. Wilson responded that he fully intended to restore funding to the programs including reestablishing the budget of EHP, saying that, "prevention is a priority of my own and indeed all the NIH." As Wilson is only acting interim NIEHS director, however, his ability to enact these measures is unclear. Kucinich and his cross-aisle colleague stressed that NIEHS appeared to be focusing too heavily on the treatment side of environmental diseases at the expense of programs that seek to prevent such maladies. At the hearing, Kucinich gave several examples of these cuts, which were also detailed in an internal subcommittee memo circulated on Monday. The most substantial cuts included this year's discontinuation the National Children's Study program, which followed the health and development of more than U.S. 100,000 children from before birth to age 21, an almost one million dollar drop from the 2005 to the 2007 budget of NIEHS's journal linkurl:__Environmental Health Perspectives,__;http://www.ehponline.org/ and the elimination of the community based participatory research in environmental health program, which received $4.7 million in the 2004 budget. The subcommittee members made mention of NIEHS's linkurl:2006-2011 strategic plan,;http://www.niehs.nih.gov/about/od/director/strategicplan/index.cfm crafted in part by Schwartz, which outlines a vision to "focus our research on scientific questions that form the basis for identification and prevention of hazardous exposures and that lead to improvements in health," as Schwartz writes in the introduction to the plan. Kucinich and Issa agreed that NIEHS's cuts to preventative research and community outreach programs undermined this balanced approach, tipped the funding balance and research direction too far towards disease treatment at the agency, and compromised public health. Stay tuned to __The Scientist's__ daily news service for updates on this story.

Popular Now

  1. Thomson Reuters Predicts Nobelists
    The Nutshell Thomson Reuters Predicts Nobelists

    According to citation statistics, researchers behind programmed cell death pathways and CRISPR/Cas9 are among those in line for Nobel Prizes this year.

  2. How Plants Evolved Different Ways to Make Caffeine
  3. Sequencing Reveals Genomic Diversity of the Human Brain
  4. What Sensory Receptors Do Outside of Sense Organs
RayBiotech