Spong named first NICHD associate director for extramural research

Alan Guttmacher, M.D., Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) announced that Catherine Y. Spong, M.D., has been named Associate Director for Extramural Research at the NICHD after a rigorous national search. Dr. Spong previously has served as the Chief of NICHD’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch.

“Dr. Spong’s demonstrated leadership skills and ability to think broadly and deeply about science and medicine will make her a superb leader for NICHD’s extramural research programs. In addition to being a recognized national and international expert in the field of maternal and fetal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology, she brings a deep understanding of the NIH and its role in supporting high quality research,” Dr. Guttmacher said. In this new position, Dr. Spong will oversee the Institute’s extramural research programs and manage scientific activities in maternal and child health, family health and well-being, and medical rehabilitation. The Institute’s extramural research activities include more than 3,100 projects and involve 130 staff members. Dr. Spong will also serve as the NICHD Director’s principal advisor on extramural scientific and policy issues.

“This is an exciting time at NICHD, and I feel privileged to be part of it,” said Dr. Spong. “I am eager to play a wider role in advancing the NICHD mission.”

Dr. Spong joined the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch in January 2000 and was selected branch chief in 2001. She is board certified in maternal-fetal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. She has received numerous awards and much recognition for her outstanding work, including the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine Achievement Award. Most recently, the Society for Clinical Trials selected the NICHD-sponsored Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS), of which Dr. Spong is a co-author, its Trial of the Year.

Dr. Spong received the NIH Director’s Award in 2004 for advancing research in maternal-fetal medicine and in 2012, for the Management of the Myelomeningocele Study.

Dr. Spong received her M.D. degree from the University of Missouri–Kansas City in 1991 and was chief resident in obstetrics and gynecology at the Harbor-UCLA Center prior to joining NICHD. In addition to being a prolific author of numerous scientific publications and textbooks, she is an associate editor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and William’s Obstetrics, and also serves as a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at INOVA Alexandria hospital.


About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation.  For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/.

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