Collins to Stay

Jun 07, 2017
President Donald Trump has announced that he's keeping Francis Collins as director of the US National Institutes of Health, as GenomeWeb reports.

Honored to be selected by @POTUS to continue as #NIH Director. I consider it a privilege to continue to lead this noble enterprise.

— Francis S. Collins (@NIHDirector) June 6, 2017
Collins was appointed to the position in 2009 by former President Barack Obama and was asked to stay on temporarily by the new administration in January. That, the Associated Press says, has now been made permanent, though an NIH spokesperson tells Stat News that Collins continue to serve "at the pleasure of the President."

Collins had indicated in May that he was willing to stay at NIH. He told Yahoo! News' Katie Couric that he was going to "keep it up until somebody tells me to stop."

Stat News adds that some Republican lawmakers had been pressuring Trump to replace Collins because of his stance on embryonic research, though it adds that Collins has had support from many other lawmakers.

"There's nobody better qualified than Francis Collins to help accelerate the medical miracles that have the potential to help virtually every American family," says Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chair of the Senate health committee, in a statement.

According to Stat News, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the ranking Democrat on the House appropriations health subcommittee and breast cancer survivor, jumped up and down when it told her Collins was staying. "The discoveries that they're making and the direction that they're moving in — nothing is as important as what we do there because it's about saving lives," she adds. "Francis Collins gets it, he's there, he's an outstanding scientist and outstanding leader."