The NIH has announced that Susan Shurin will serve as acting director of the NHLBI, replacing Elizabeth Nabel. In October Nabel announced her resignation after being named  the next president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The following information is reprinted from the NHLBI website.
Here is Betsy Nabel’s letter to colleagues at NIH:

November 23, 2009

Dear Colleagues:

As you may know, last month I announced my plans to take a new position as President of Brigham and Women’s/Faulkner Hospitals in Boston.

This morning, Dr. Francis Collins announced (message below) that Dr. Susan Shurin will assume the role of Acting Director of the NHLBI effective December 1, 2009. Dr. Shurin joined the NHLBI as Deputy Director in February 2006, coming from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Susan and I have had the great pleasure of working together with you over the past several years. She is extraordinarily well-equipped to take over the helm and lead this terrific Institute to even greater heights.

It has been my extraordinary privilege and honor to be part of this remarkable Institute and the NIH community for the past 10 years. Please join me in wishing Susan the very best in her new role.

Best regards,

Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D.

Here is NIH director Francis Collins’ message to NIH staff:

Message from Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, NIH, to all NIH staff

I wanted to let all of you know about transitions in the leadership of two of our Institutes. Effective December 1, 2009, Dr. Susan B. Shurin will be Acting Director of NHLBI and Dr. Alan E. Guttmacher will be Acting Director of NICHD.

For further information, please see the memo pasted in below, which I sent a short time ago to the NIH leadership.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.


As we all learned last month, Dr. Elizabeth Nabel will soon be leaving her position as Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Her last day at NHLBI will be November 30, and we all wish her well in Boston. I am pleased to inform you that Susan B. Shurin, M.D., who has been Deputy Director of NHLBI since February 2006, will serve as Acting Director of NHLBI, effective December 1, 2009.

Dr. Shurin is a pediatric hematologist and oncologist who held appointments as Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Oncology at Case Western Reserve University before coming to the NIH and NHLBI in 2006. Her extensive experience in managing large research programs, particularly clinical programs, her research expertise, and her familiarity with and within the Institute all will serve her and the organization well as she guides NHLBI through this period of transition.

Dr. Shurin’s stepping in to guide NHBLI while we conduct a nationwide search for a new permanent director for that Institute leaves vacant the top post at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, where she has been serving as Acting Director since October 1.

Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., has agreed to become NICHD’s new Acting Director, also effective December 1.

Dr. Guttmacher brings a unique combination of expertise and experience to this new role. A highly regarded pediatrician and medical geneticist, he has served in a number of roles at NHGRI since joining the Institute from the University of Vermont in 1999. He became NHGRI’s Deputy Director in 2002 and has served as the Institute’s Acting Director since August 2008. Dr. Guttmacher’s own research has focused in two areas: syndrome identification and delineation, and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. While at the University of Vermont, his activities included directing the Department of Pediatrics’ Vermont Regional Genetics Center and Pregnancy Risk Information Service, serving as the medical director of the Vermont Newborn Screening Program, and founding Vermont’s only pediatric intensive care unit.

I appreciate Susan’s and Alan’s willingness to provide direction for NHLBI and NICHD. And I know that you will join me in offering them full support.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Here is Susan Shurin’s biography posted on the NHLBI website:

Susan B. Shurin, M.D., is Acting Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she oversees an extensive national research portfolio with an annual budget of approximately $3 billion. The NHLBI conducts and supports research to prevent, diagnose, and treat heart, lung, and blood diseases; fosters training of emerging investigators; and communicates research advances to the public. Through the support of research from bench to bedside, Dr. Shurin leads the NHLBI’s effort to transform new scientific knowledge into tangible improvements in health.

As Acting Director, Dr. Shurin represents the NHLBI in a wide variety of activities across the NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services. As part of the NIH’s global commitment, Dr. Shurin oversees the NHLBI’s Global Health Initiative, which includes a network of Collaborating Centers of Excellence in low- and middle-income countries, focused on building sustainable programs to combat chronic cardiovascular and lung diseases.

Dr. Shurin joined the NHLBI as Deputy Director in February 2006, coming from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In her role as Deputy Director, Dr. Shurin has been involved in multiple intramural and extramural activities of the NHLBI and responsible for oversight of the Institute’s clinical research portfolio. In October 2009, Dr. Shurin also assumed the role of Acting Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development(NICHD) while also serving as the Deputy Director of NHLBI.

Before joining the NHLBI, Dr. Shurin was Professor of Pediatrics and Oncology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio; Director of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital; Director of Pediatric Oncology at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Vice President and Secretary of the Corporation at Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Shurin received her education and medical training at Harvard University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her laboratory research focused on the physiology of phagocyte function, recognition and killing of pathogens; mechanisms of hemolysis, red blood cell destruction; and iron overload, a serious chronic condition in which the body absorbs too much iron leading to a buildup in organ tissues.

She has been active in clinical research in many aspects of pediatric hematology-oncology, including participation in the Children’s Cancer Group (CCG), now the Children’s Oncology Group, as well as multiple studies in sickle cell disease and hemostasis. She also served on the Executive Committee of the CCG and founded and chaired the CCG Bioethics Committee.

Among other leadership efforts, Dr. Shurin serves on multiple NIH advisory panels. She has been on the boards or in leadership positions of numerous local and national professional organizations, including the American Board of Pediatrics. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American Society of Hematology; the American Society of Pediatric Hematology‐Oncology; and the American Pediatric Society, where she is currently a member of the APS Council.

Dr. Shurin follows in the footsteps of two celebrated family pediatrician role models. Her maternal grandfather, Park Jerauld White, M.D., was a distinguished pediatrician practicing in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was a social activist and advocate for the interests and needs of children. Her great-aunt, Katherine Bain, M.D., practiced with Dr. White before joining Martha Elliott, M.D., in 1941 at the Children’s Bureau (now the Office of Maternal and Child Health at the Health Resources and Services Administration).

Last Updated: December 1, 2009

At a Nov. 24 scientific symposium to honor Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel (front row, second from left), more than a dozen NHLBI staff discussed the Institute’s successes under her leadership as Director and Scientific Director. Drs. Susan Shurin (front row, far left) and Bob Balaban (second row, second from left) hosted the event.

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