Hats Off to the NIA Leadership and Staff

While the 24/7 news cycle keeps us constantly informed of events unfolding globally, it sometimes prevents us from fully appreciating important events along the way. One such event relates to the recent federal government shutdown. Although short-lived by most measures (three days), the shutdown carried the potential of causing enormous disruption in the aging research arena as it overlapped with the three-times-per-year meeting of the 16-member National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA).

The NACA advises the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the director of the National Institutes of Health, and the director of National Institute on Aging on its mission, considers applications for research and training, and recommends funding for promising applications. The January meeting was set for January 23 and 24 (with experts traveling in on January 22), meaning the federal government shutdown would have forced cancellation of the meeting and disrupted the forward progress of important research.

With this possibility on the horizon, NIA leadership took definitive action, convening an emergency conference call meeting of the NACA on Friday, January 19. The NACA addressed the most critical time-sensitive issues on their agenda including the review of applications, consideration of RFA/RFP concept clearances, and review of the intramural research program. With this accomplished, NIA staff would be prepared to continue their important work in supporting the essential aging research enterprise when the federal shutdown ended.

Congratulations to the NIA leadership and staff for being so proactive and nimble to ensure the work of thousands of researchers would be able to continue, and thank you to NACA members who made themselves available on short notice to work through a busy agenda. The aging research community is grateful.

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