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HELP Ranking Member Burr Statement on Dr. Francis Collins Stepping Down as NIH Director

Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement on the announcement that Dr. Francis S. Collins will be stepping down as Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) after 12 years in the role:

“I can’t say enough about the incredible contributions Francis Collins has made to public health and the scientific community throughout his career. Dr. Collins is the only NIH director to be appointed by not one, not two, but three presidents - both Democratic and Republican – and his 12-year tenure is nearly twice as long as any other Director in the last 50 years. There’s a reason for it. He’s led the NIH capably and admirably, leaving it better prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century. His outstanding service during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the worst public health crises our country has ever seen, will be long remembered.

“Before leading NIH, Dr. Collins had already cemented his legacy as a world-renowned geneticist by spearheading the Human Genome Project. His innovative research techniques and international collaborations led to the mapping of the human genome, which fundamentally changed how we think about and fight disease.

“As a scientist, physician, and public health official, Dr. Collins has made a remarkable difference, and I want to thank him for his exemplary leadership over the years.”