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