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/

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

View full profile.


Learn about our editorial policies.

Sep 25, 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,...
id 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.

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?