May 16, 2023
Monica Bertagnolli, MD, FACS
On Monday, President Biden nominated Monica Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, a world-renowned oncologic surgeon and cancer researcher, to lead the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). She would be the first surgeon to serve in this role, as well as the second woman.
Dr. Bertagnolli currently is the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)—the first woman to serve in that role—to which she was appointed in 2022. There, she has worked to advance the Administration’s Cancer Moonshot, improve cancer prevention and early detection, and allow additional opportunities for Americans to participate in clinical trials.
The NIH Director must be confirmed by the Senate. Issues to be discussed during Dr. Bertagnolli’s Senate confirmation hearings are expected to include lowering prescription drug pricing and the agency’s COVID-19 response. If confirmed, she will fill a role that has been vacant since the December 2021 departure of former NIH Director Francis Collins, MD. Lawrence Tabak, DDS, PhD, has been performing the duties of NIH Director in the interim.
Previously, Dr. Bertagnolli served as the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery in surgical oncology at Harvard Medical School, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment and Sarcoma Centers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, all in Boston, Massachusetts.
She has decades of experience in clinical research and executive leadership in oncology and cancer policy, including her role as chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, a clinical trials cooperative group funded through NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network.
An ACS Fellow since 1996, Dr. Bertagnolli delivered the Commission on Cancer Oncology Lecture at Clinical Congress 2011. She also is a past-president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.