Biosketch of the NICHD Deputy Director

Alison Cernich, Ph.D.

Alison Cernich headshot.Alison Cernich, Ph.D., became the deputy director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in September 2019. In this role, she assists the NICHD Director in overseeing the institute’s programs supporting research on child development, developmental biology, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, intellectual and developmental disabilities, population dynamics, women's health, reproductive biology, contraception, pregnancy, and medical rehabilitation. She also represents NICHD on wide-ranging National Institutes of Health initiatives in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; maternal health; data science; neuroscience; behavioral and social science; and social determinants of health and pain.

Dr. Cernich is a recognized and sought-after collaborator for federal efforts and leads or contributes to Department of Health and Human Services working groups on reproductive health care access, maternal health, and patient-centered outcomes. Prior to serving as NICHD Deputy Director, Dr. Cernich was the director of NICHD's National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, where she championed efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities and managed a research portfolio aimed at achieving these same goals.

She previously served in the Department of Veterans Affairs both as a clinician, researcher, and policy maker and was detailed as a liaison to the Department of Defense to coordinate efforts in traumatic brain injury and psychological health between the Departments. Dr. Cernich received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University and is a board-certified neuropsychologist.

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