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NCCAM Appoints Dr. John Killen, Jr., to Direct the Office of International Health Research

© National Institutes of Health

BETHESDA, MARYLAND -- Following a nationwide search, John Y. Killen, Jr., M.D., has been appointed director of the Office of International Health Research (OIHR) of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

Established in 1998, NCCAM is 1 of 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NCCAM is the lead Federal agency supporting scientific research on complementary and alternative medical (CAM) practices, training CAM researchers, and disseminating research findings to the public and health professionals.

OIHR was created in 2001 to identify promising international CAM practices and encourage their rigorous scientific assessment and development through international scientific collaborations, training of researchers, and dissemination of authoritative information to the public and professionals.

In announcing this new appointment, Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director, said "Dr. Killen's global experience in the study of HIV/AIDS and cancer make him the ideal person to take on this job. NCCAM, its fellow NIH Institutes, and the entire CAM research community are fortunate to have Dr. Killen assume this new role."

As director of the OIHR, Dr. Killen will develop a multifaceted portfolio of research examining the safety, efficacy, and mechanisms underlying interventions that have evolved over centuries in other cultures, many of which are increasingly used in the United States. He will also serve as senior advisor to NCCAM's Director and Deputy Director as the primary resource on NCCAM's international activities relating to CAM and traditional medicine.

"It was my distinct pleasure to work with Dr. Killen when he directed the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and more recently in his position with the Office of Biodefense," said Margaret Chesney, Ph.D., NCCAM Deputy Director. "In both capacities, he demonstrated his deep respect for multidisciplinary research, as well as his sensitivity and compassion to cultural and clinical issues faced by patients confronting debilitating chronic conditions."

Dr. Killen's 21-year NIH career has focused on designing, implementing, and managing multidisciplinary research programs in cancer, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, and on the ethics of clinical research. Most recently (2002-present) he was head of the Office of Biodefense Research at NIAID. Prior to that, he served as Associate Director for Research Ethics, NIAID, and also headed the International Research Section in the Department of Clinical Bioethics (2001-2002) at the Warren Magnuson Clinical Center of the NIH. From 1993 through 2001, Dr. Killen served as director, after serving as deputy director (1987-1993), of the Division of AIDS, NIAID. In this position he was responsible for a broad array of scientific, ethical, regulatory, and policy issues that emerged in domestic U.S. and international research programs during the early years of the epidemic. At a global level, this involved collaborative projects with the World Health Organization, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the Pan American Health Organization, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other multinational health organizations. He began his NIH career at the National Cancer Institute, working with multicenter clinical trials and anticancer drug development.

Dr. Killen also represented the NIH in numerous international workshops and task forces regarding all aspects of multinational clinical investigation, with a particular focus on the problem of HIV/AIDS in the developing world.

Dr. Killen received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Kenyon College, Gambier, OH. He received his M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, and completed a residency in internal medicine and clinical oncology fellowship training at the Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC. He is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology and has pursued additional training in palliative/end-of-life medicine. Among his many honors and awards, Dr. Killen is a recipient of the NIH Director's Award, the Public Health Service Special Recognition Award, the PHS Superior Service Award, and the Senior Executive Service Meritorious Executive Rank.

"I am very excited to be joining NCCAM in this new position. It presents a unique opportunity to explore promising approaches to better health that are drawn from traditional or alternative systems of healing. It also builds naturally on my career-long interests in clinical research, chronic illness, and global health," said Dr. Killen.

Dr. Killen officially assumes his duties at NCCAM on September 21, 2003.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative medical (CAM) practices in the context of rigorous science, training CAM researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM's Clearinghouse toll free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCAM Web site at nccam.nih.gov.

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