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NLM Director Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan Appointed Interim NIH Associate Director for Data Science

The National Institutes of Health announces that National Library of Medicine Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD will assume an additional role as NIH Interim Associate Director for Data Science. Her appointment begins immediately.

The Associate Director for Data Science (ADDS) and team provide input to the overall NIH vision and actions undertaken by each of the 27 Institutes and Centers in support of biomedical research as a digital enterprise. Among other duties, the office oversees the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, stimulating the best developments in the data science community.

This year will see the transition of trans-NIH data science initiatives to NLM, with the operational oversight of the BD2K initiatives being housed within the Common Funds programs in the Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives ( This change builds on the recommendations by the NLM Working Group Report to the NIH Director, makes concrete steps towards the vision of NLM’s future proclaimed in the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director’s report — that the National Library of Medicine become the “epicenter of data science for the NIH.”

“I believe the future of health and health care rests on data—genomic data, environmental sensor-generated data, electronic health records data, patient-generated data, research collected data,” Dr. Brennan observed. “The data originating from research projects is becoming as important as the answers those research projects are providing.”

“NLM must play a key role in preserving data generated in the course of research, whether conducted by professional scientists or citizen scientists,” she continued. “We know how to purposefully create collections of information and organize them for viewing and use by the public. We can extend this skill set to the curation of research data. We also have the utilities in place to protect the data by making sure only those individuals with permission to access data can actually do so.”

“NLM is well positioned to add these new functions to its research portfolio,” the NLM Director observed. “In this new year and the years to follow, we welcome these exciting opportunities and challenges.”

Since its founding in 1836, the National Library of Medicine has played a pivotal role in translating biomedical research into practice and is a leader in information innovation. NLM is the world's largest medical library, and millions of scientists, health professionals and the public around the world use NLM services every day.