WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Finance Health Care Subcommittee, praised Senate confirmation today of Dr. Monica M. Bertagnolli to be the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. Senator Cardin shared the following remarks with his colleagues prior to the vote.
“I rise today to express my support for Dr. Monica M. Bertagnolli, whom President Biden nominated to serve as the next Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As current director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and a distinguished professor and surgeon, Dr. Bertagnolli certainly possesses the experience that will make her an effective leader for our Nation’s preeminent research center.
“The NIH serves as the pinnacle of biomedical and behavioral research in the United States and provides valuable insights that are used around the world for saving lives and improving people’s health. Whether we know it or not, the NIH and the research done there has touched all of our lives by giving our healthcare professionals the resources they need for success. We in Maryland are proud to have the NIH headquartered in Bethesda, with so many in our State contributing to its important mission.
“Thanks to Dr. Bertagnolli’s decades of experience as a physician-scientist, she has obtained a well-rounded view of medical research that I am confident will properly inform her decisions as NIH Director. Her work to better understand the development and treatment of various types of cancer highlights the diligence and effectiveness that qualify Dr. Bertagnolli for this position.
“As NCI Director, Dr. Bertagnolli has demonstrated her leadership capabilities alongside her efficacy as a researcher, working with the Biden administration to reignite the Cancer Moonshot, which aims to reduce cancer mortality by 50 percent over the next 25 years. This ambitious goal reflects the determination of our cancer research professionals and President Biden’s continued commitment to investing in programs, consortia, and research projects that aim to end cancer as we know it. The NCI, along with spearheading the Cancer Moonshot initiative, has also partnered with the Biden administration to address disparities in cancer outcomes for Americans living in low-income areas, working to implement community-based programs in locations facing persistent poverty.
“Just a few weeks into her tenure as director of NCI, Dr. Bertagnolli’s work became much more personal as she was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer following a routine mammogram. She was forced to balance her new role as our Nation’s leading cancer researcher with her own personal battle with the disease. I cannot commend Dr. Bertagnolli enough for the strength she has shown to continue her service to Americans in the face of such a daunting challenge.
“If the Senate confirms Dr. Bertagnolli today, I would encourage her to take aim at some of the most pressing health care issues facing our country. As things stand, significant health disparities exist in the United States, with many Americans not receiving equitable access to care. Dr. Bertagnolli’s confirmation provides her with the chance to utilize the NIH’s National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities to work toward solutions for underserved populations that aren’t receiving the care they need. Her new role would also empower her to build a stronger, more diverse healthcare workforce, one that would be well-equipped to face the challenges of today.
“Dr. Bertagnolli will be tasked with addressing many crucial and complex issues as Director of the NIH, but I am confident that she is up to the challenge.
“I ask my Senate colleagues to join me in recognizing Dr. Bertagnolli for the outstanding work she has done as a researcher and surgeon, to support her confirmation, and to wish her well in her new role should she be confirmed.”