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Biosketch of the Acting NICHD Director

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Catherine Y. Spong, M.D.

Dr. Catherine SpongDr. Catherine Spong is currently the Acting Director of NICHD. In this role, she oversees the Institute's research on pediatric health and development, maternal health, reproductive health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and rehabilitation medicine, among other areas. These efforts include overseeing a staff of approximately 1,400 people and an annual budget of approximately $1.2 billion. She serves as an ambassador and spokesperson for NICHD.

Prior to this appointment, Dr. Spong served as the NICHD Deputy Director. She also was the inaugural NICHD Associate Director for Extramural Research and Director of the NICHD Division of Extramural Research. Prior to these positions, she served for more than a decade as Chief of NICHD’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch. 

Dr. Spong received her M.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) in 1991. After serving as Chief Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, she began her career at NICHD as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellow, including clinical work at Georgetown University, and then became a Clinical Associate and subsequently a Senior Staff Fellow in NICHD’s intramural research program. Among Dr. Spong's areas of expertise are maternal and child health, emphasizing prematurity, fetal complications, and improving child outcomes. One of her major research interests has been the developing fetus. She holds several patents for neuroprotective agents that help prevent fetal injury.

Dr. Spong is board-certified in maternal-fetal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. She is an Editor of William’s Obstetrics, Management of High Risk Pregnancy, Protocols of High Risk Pregnancy, and Stillbirth: Prediction, Prevention and Management. She has received numerous research awards, including the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Achievement Award, the UMKC Alumnus of the Year Award, and a Surgeon General’s Certificate of Appreciation for her work on prematurity. She has published more than 270 peer-reviewed papers and been featured on national television and radio, including The CBS Early Show, the Diane Rehm Show, NPR’s All Things Considered, CNN, and Voice of America, discussing women’s health and pregnancy topics.

Last Reviewed: 09/30/2015
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