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BUSH NAMES NIH DIRECTOR
Elias Zerhouni praised for mix of clinical, scientific, and business skills
As expected, last week president George W. Bush announced that his pick to head the National Institutes of Health is radiologist Elias A. Zerhouni, executive vice dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore.
Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said Zerhouni has the "experience creating the kind of research efforts and teams that pursue and find answers to some of the great medical mysteries we face today," including cancer and diabetes.
Bush's decision ends weeks of speculation about who might lead the sprawling health agency.
Bush also announced that he will name Tucson trauma surgeon Richard H. Carmona to be surgeon general. Both nominations need Senate confirmation.
Johns Hopkins University President William R. Brody calls Zerhouni's nomination "outstanding." He says Zerhouni's "mix of clinical, scientific, and administrative abilities is particularly important during this period of significant growth in the NIH budget and rapid advances in biomedical science."
Zerhouni's research has focused on the development of methods for imaging cardiopulmonary disease. For example, he developed the method of computed tomography (CT) densitometry for differentiating benign from malignant pulmonary nodules, high-resolution CT for lung disease, and magnetic resonance tagging for quantifying myocardial function.
Zerhouni is able to "convince people with differing agendas to search for common ground," says Morton Goldberg, director of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. As a clinician, researcher, and businessman--who put together a radiology practice--he says, Zerhouni's "got the whole package."
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