Welcoming a New Deputy Director

Woman sitting at desk.

Dr. Alison Cernich

I am very pleased to announce that after a national search, we have selected Alison Cernich, Ph.D., as our new Deputy Director. Since 2015, Dr. Cernich has served as the director of NICHD’s National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR).

She is a national leader in rehabilitation medicine who has worked with multiple federal agencies to coordinate and optimize research resources in this field. She brings to her new position broad experience in research program development and portfolio management.

Read more about Dr. Cernich’s appointment.

We will launch a national search to find a new NCMRR Director. I am grateful that in the interim, Theresa Cruz, Ph.D., a health scientist administrator in NCMRR, has agreed to serve as Acting Director.

Advancing Phase Two of PRGLAC

Meetings to advance phase two of the Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women (PRGLAC) were held on August 22 and 23. The group’s charter has been extended to March 2021. Task Force members assembled into four working groups to plan implementation for 13 of the 15 recommendations submitted to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The working groups will continue through the fall and convene on February 3 and 4, 2020, to present their plans.

Publishing the NICHD Strategic Plan

Finally, I am looking forward to the public debut of NICHD’s Strategic Plan later this month. The plan will be officially presented to the NICHD Advisory Council on September 18. After that, we will make a PDF version of the plan available for download from our website. We will also promote the document on our social media feeds, so if you don’t follow us, now is the time to do so!

After more than a year of discussion, substantial public feedback, and planning, I am grateful that we will finally be able to share this plan with the world.

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