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Tony Fauci

Testifying in the Senate for Next Year’s NIH Budget

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Lawrence Tabak, DDS, PhD, Acting Director NIH
It was an honor to testify on the President’s FY 2023 NIH budget before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Committee. Also testifying from NIH were five institute directors: Richard Hodes, National Institute on Aging; Nora Volkow, National Institute on Drug Abuse; Gary Gibbons, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Tony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Josh Gordon, National Institute of Mental Health. The hearing took place on May 17, 2022 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Testifying Before House Subcommittee

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A group of people with microphones sit at a long table

On May 11, I was pleased to appear before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies to discuss NIH’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2023. Joining me (left to right) were leaders of several NIH institutes: Nora Volkow, National Institute on Drug Abuse; Tony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Diana Bianchi, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Doug Lowy, National Cancer Institute; and Gary Gibbons, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 


NIH Welcomes HHS Leaders to Campus

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On November 4, NIH was visited by U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm. It was my pleasure to join in welcoming them to our Bethesda, MD campus and sharing some of the exciting research conducted here. In this photo, Secretary Becerra (front left) and Deputy Secretary Palm (standing beside him) visit a lab in NIH’s Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center (VRC) for a briefing on coronavirus vaccine development. Speaking to everyone is Nancy Sullivan (front right), VRC senior investigator. In front of me, joining in the briefing are (from left to right): Tony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); John Mascola, VRC Director; and Richard A. Koup, VRC Deputy Director. Credit: NIH

Testifying Before Senate Subcommittee

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On May 26, I testified in person before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Service (HHS), Education, and Related Agencies. The hearing was titled: National Institutes of Health’s FY22 Budget and the State of Medical Research. Joining me were several NIH institute directors, including Tony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Diana Bianchi, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Ned Sharpless, National Cancer Institute; Gary Gibbons, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and Eliseo Perez-Stable, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Learning from History: Fauci Donates Model to Smithsonian’s COVID-19 Collection

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Not too long after the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic reached the United States, museum curators began collecting material to document the history of this devastating public health crisis and our nation’s response to it. To help tell this story, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History recently scored a donation from my friend and colleague Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Widely recognized for serving as a clear voice for science throughout the pandemic, Fauci gave the museum his much-used model of SARS-CoV-2, which is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This model, which is based on work conducted by NIH-supported electron microscopists and structural biologists, was 3D printed right here at NIH. By the way, I’m lucky enough to have one too.

Both of these models have “met” an amazing array of people—from presidents to congresspeople to journalists to average citizens—as part of our efforts to help folks understand SARS-CoV-2 and the crucial role of its surface spike proteins. As shown in this brief video, Fauci raised his model one last time and then, ever the public ambassador for science, turned his virtual donation into a memorable teaching moment. I recommend you take a minute or two to watch it.

The donation took place during a virtual ceremony in which the National Museum of American History awarded Fauci its prestigious Great Americans Medal. He received the award for his lifetime contributions to the nation’s ideals and for making a lasting impact on public health via his many philanthropic and humanitarian efforts. Fauci joined an impressive list of luminaries in receiving this honor, including former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and General Colin Powell; journalist Tom Brokaw; baseball great Cal Ripken Jr.; tennis star Billie Jean King; and musician Paul Simon. It’s a well-deserved honor for a physician-scientist who’s advised seven presidents on a range of domestic and global health issues, from HIV/AIDS to Ebola to COVID-19.

With Fauci’s model now enshrined as an official piece of U.S. history, the Smithsonian and other museums around the world are stepping up their efforts to gather additional artifacts related to COVID-19 and to chronicle its impacts on the health and economy of our nation. Hopefully, future generations will learn from this history so that humankind is not doomed to repeat it.

It is interesting to note that the National Museum of American History’s collection contains few artifacts from another tragic chapter in our nation’s past: the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. One reason this pandemic went largely undocumented is that, like so many of their fellow citizens, curators chose to overlook its devastating impacts and instead turn toward the future.

Multi-colored artificial flowers
An NIH staff member created these paper flowers from the stickers received over the past several months each time he was screened for COVID-19 at the NIH Clinical Center. Credit: Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum

Today, museum staffers across the country and around the world are stepping up to the challenge of documenting COVID-19’s history with great creativity, collecting all variety of masks, test kits, vaccine vials, and even a few ventilators. At the NIH’s main campus in Bethesda, MD, the Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum is busy preparing a small exhibit of scientific and clinical artifacts that could open as early as the summer of 2021. The museum is also collecting oral histories as part of its “Behind the Mask” project. So far, more than 50 interviews have been conducted with NIH staff, including a scientist who’s helping the hard-hit Navajo Nation during the pandemic; a Clinical Center nurse who’s treating patients with COVID-19, and a mental health professional who’s had to change expectations since the outbreak.

The pandemic isn’t over yet. All of us need to do our part by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and taking other precautions to prevent the virus’s deadly spread. But won’t it great when—hopefully, one day soon—we can relegate this terrible pandemic to the museums and the history books!

Links:

COVID-19 Research (NIH)

Video: National Museum of American History Presents The Great Americans Medal to Anthony S. Fauci (Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.)

National Museum of American History (Smithsonian)

The Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum (NIH)



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