WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 5, 2021 — In response to today’s announcement that Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., would be stepping down as director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Nancy Brown, chief executive of the American Heart Association, and Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA, president of the American Heart Association and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, issued the following statement:

“Over the course of his astounding career, Dr. Collins has been a dedicated public servant, advancing science to improve the lives of countless people across the globe. Dr. Collins’ own involvement in the genome project led to one of history’s greatest scientific breakthroughs in the understanding of human health. As a champion for science and an ardent defender of facts, Dr. Collins has helped oversee the NIH’s critical response in the face of the historic COVID-19 pandemic.

“During his tenure as the director of the NIH, he has worked above the political fray to increase support on both sides of the aisle for unprecedented investments in medical research. Under his 12-year leadership, the NIH’s budget grew by 38%, helping to preserve America’s standing as the global leader in scientific discovery. The American Heart Association is grateful for Dr. Collins’ support of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and others, along with critical initiatives such as the Brain Initiative and more recent efforts to address discrimination and workplace harassment and improve diversity and inclusion in the scientific workforce.

“We look forward to continuing our work with the NIH in the years to come and wish Dr. Collins all the best in his return to conducting research.”


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For media inquiries please contact:

Arielle Beer: 202.785.7902; arielle.beer@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org