President Bush announced yesterday (December 13) that he has nominated Mike Leavitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to be the next secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which has oversight over the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Several scientists who have worked with Leavitt, the former three-term governor of Utah, praised him yesterday as a man who loves science, who grounds his policy decisions firmly in scientific evidence, and who includes people with opposing views in those deliberations. "He loves science and scientists," Martin Apple, president of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, told The Scientist. "He's, I find, a terrific guy to deal with."

Leavitt's unexpected nomination to replace outgoing Secretary Tommy Thompson caught some scientific organizations unprepared. "He wasn't on the list of people who we thought were likely candidates," said Howard Garrison, spokesman for the Federation of American...

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