New Director Sworn in at NCI

November 09, 2017 by Alec Stone MA, MPA, Former ONS Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy
Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

For the past two years, an acting director has served at the head of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). However, President Trump recently selected Norman E. Sharpless, MD (, as the 15th director of the NCI. Sharpless, an oncologist with research and clinical experience, said he was humbled by the selection and is looking forward to carrying on NCI’s great mission.

NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is comprised of 27 institutes and centers and has a combined $30 billion budget approved annually by Congress. That money is divided through congressional discretion and internal NIH priorities among the different departments, including NCI.

NCI is sometimes referred to as the first among equals (, and its budget is about $6 billion per year. Other department budgets ( help put this in context: the National Institute of Nursing Research receives approximately $145 million annually, the National Human Genome Institute $228 million, and even the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute—the second-highest funded—$1.8 billion. The NCI director, apart from the NIH director, is the only other presidential appointee, so nominating and confirming that person is a formal process that requires U.S. Senate approval.

The NCI recently issued a press release ( about Sharpless’s confirmation and his oncology background. ONS continues to work closely with elected and appointed officials to advocate for oncology nursing ( Learn more about how you can be involved in advocacy ( at the local, state, and national levels.  

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