June 7, 2017

Trump keeps Francis Collins on as NIH director

Daily Briefing

    The White House on Tuesday announced that Francis Collins will continue to serve as director of NIH, the Associated Press reports.

    You've filled the position. Now what?

    Former President Barack Obama appointed Collins to the position in 2009. Collins had submitted a letter of resignation and was prepared to step down upon President Trump's inauguration, but NIH in January said Collins "ha[d] been held over by the Trump administration." However, it remained unclear how long Collins would remain in the role. Collins had expressed a desire to keep his post, and several Republican lawmakers had urged Trump to keep Collins in the role.

    According to Politico, Collins currently is leading major HHS projects, such as HHS' cancer "moonshot" and the All of Us Research Program. Collins has spoken out about funding cuts to NIH included in Trump's fiscal year 2018 budget proposal.

    Reaction

    Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) applauded Trump's decision to keep Collins in his post. "This is good news for the country," Alexander said in a statement, adding, "There's nobody better qualified than … Collins to help accelerate the medical miracles that have the potential to help virtually every American family."

    Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in a statement called Collins "a strong partner in making the case for a sustained federal commitment to medical research."

    Collins in a statement said he is "grateful" for Trump's "vote of confidence in [his] ability to continue to lead" NIH and "look[s] forward to continuing to work with [his] colleagues at NIH, HHS, the administration, the Congress, and the broader research and patient community" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/6; Allen, Politico, 6/6; Singh, Reuters, 6/6; Roubein, The Hill, 6/6; Burton, Wall Street Journal, 6/6).

    You've filled the position. Now what?

    Retaining new hires is one of the longstanding challenges in health care. Despite manager and HR efforts, newly hired employees continue to turn over at a rate far above that of more tenured staff members. In fact, new hire turnover is a disproportionate driver of an institution's overall turnover rate. Nationally, employees with less than one year of tenure make up nearly 25 percent of all health care turnover.

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