Rosa L. DeLauro

10/05/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/05/2021 07:35

DeLauro Thanks Dr. Francis Collins for 28 Years of Leadership at the National Institutes of Health, Including 13 Years as NIH Director

NEW HAVEN - House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) issued this statement thanking Dr. Francis Collins for 28 years of leadership at the National Institutes of Health, including 13 years as NIH Director across three administrations:

"I want to thank Dr. Francis Collins for three decades of groundbreaking service at the National Institutes of Health, including mapping the human genome, and commend him on his steadfast leadership of the NIH for the past 13 years.

"There is a reason Dr. Francis Collins is the only Presidentially appointed NIH director to serve in more than one administration. His steadfast leadership guided by both reason and faith has changed the course of biomedical research around the world and challenged the boundaries of science.

"Dr. Collins changed the realm of possibility for treatment of a number of diseases. In addition to guiding the Human Genome Project, his own research laboratory discovered several important genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington's disease, a familial endocrine cancer syndrome, genes for type 2 diabetes, and the gene that causes Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a rare cause of premature aging.

"As an ovarian cancer survivor, I know I am only here today by the grace of God and because of biomedical science. The scientific and medical breakthroughs supported by NIH have allowed millions of Americans, myself included, to live healthier and longer lives. Dr. Collins is to thank for so many of the breakthroughs we have had in both the identification and treatment of life-threatening diseases.

"He was also a trusted partner in the fight to address gender difference in preclinical trials. I am so proud that we worked together to ensure our research efforts aligned with the reality that diseases present themselves and evolve differently in women. Dr. Collins understood that women respond to treatments in different ways, and he knew that balance in research was critical to ensuring women are treated on an equal playing field with men.

"In 2006, I was thrilled to invite Dr. Collins to share his writings and faith with Members of Congress who had gathered at my home. As a Catholic, I was grateful to have his voice leading the conversation about the nexus of faith and reason. That evening, Dr. Collins proved that he truly is prime evidence that the two do not have to be in conflict. At the end of the night, he sang and played his guitar for us, his brilliance beyond science and religion on full display for the group.

"With Dr. Collins' departure, we are not just losing someone with unparalleled expertise from the highest role at the NIH, but I am losing a trusted voice and a dear friend. I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Collins for the rest of the year and cannot wait to see what new and exciting challenges he will embark on beyond his time at NIH."

In addition to serving as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, DeLauro chairs the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee which is charged with funding and overseeing the NIH.