Observers question whether the institute will find a chief who can match Thier's record of progress in establishing IoM's credibility

WASHINGTON--Samuel Thier's decision last month to leave the Institute of Medicine (IoM) after six years as president for a university presidency represents a significant loss to the organization that has only recently become an important voice in health care policy debates, say institute members and others who are familiar with this affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

But they predict that the institute will prosper under his successor because Thier has made IoM bigger, wealthier, and more credible than at any time since its founding in 1970.

"Sam will be difficult to replace, and I'm very sad to see him go," says cardiologist Robert Levy, an IoM member and president of Sandoz Research Institute of Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Inc. in East Hanover, N.J. "At the same time, what he's...

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