Web Date: February 12, 2008
Schwartz Leaves NIEHS
David A. Schwartz, the embattled director of NIH's National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), has jumped ship to the National Jewish Medical & Research Center (NJMRC), in Denver.
"I believe that our institute would be more successful with new leadership and that I would have a greater impact in environmental health by working as a physician-scientist," Schwartz said in a Feb. 8 e-mail announcing his resignation to the NIEHS staff. The institute is located in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Schwartz had temporarily stepped down from his post as the head of NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program in August 2007 amid probes into his management and ethics by Congress and the Department of Health & Human Services (C&EN, Sept. 3, 2007, page 9). Schwartz is under investigation for possible violations of ethics rules, conflict of interest guidelines, and federal spending limits. Sources on Capitol Hill and at NIH tell C&EN that results of the investigation into Schwartz are expected sometime in March.
In his e-mail, Schwartz said, "I remain proud of the research and training programs that we've developed and the progress that we've made in protecting the health of the public.
"However, I also recognize that our community has not universally embraced the scientific direction or strategies that I have implemented during my tenure as director. In my enthusiasm to bring new science and opportunities to our field, it appears that I have inadvertently disenfranchised segments of our community. I sincerely apologize for the pain this may have caused," he wrote.
NJMRC announced on Feb. 8 that Schwartz will lead a program dedicated to understanding the genetics of complex lung and immune-mediated conditions. He will also direct the institute's pulmonary and critical care division and lead a new center for genetics and therapeutics.
"David's expertise and his vision for genomics and the coming era of personalized medicine made him an ideal candidate," said Michael Salem, president and CEO of NJMRC.
Samuel H. Wilson, who has been acting director at NIEHS since late 2007, continues in that capacity.
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