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James Gilman to Run NIH Clinical Center

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins has tapped James Gilman, a retired Army major general and cardiologist, to run the agency's Clinical Center. He is to be the center's first chief executive officer.

While in the Army, Gilman was the commanding general of the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in Fort Detrick, Md., and ran several Army hospitals, including Fort Sam Houston in Texas and the Walter Reed Health Care System in Washington, DC, according to NIH. After retiring from military life, he served as executive director of the Johns Hopkins Military & Veterans Institute in Baltimore.

"Gilman is a cardiologist and highly decorated leader with rich experience in commanding the operations of numerous hospital systems," Collins says in a statement. "His medical expertise and military leadership will serve the NIH Clinical Center well as it continues to strive for world-class patient care and research excellence."

The chief executive officer position at the clinical center was established as part of a plan to shake up its leadership following concerns about contamination and lax oversight there. The center's drug-manufacturing facility was shut down in 2015 after fungal contaminants were discovered in two vials of albumin. This incident led to an inspection by the US Food and Drug Administration that uncovered a number of deficiencies.

An internal review by NIH subsequently found an additional contamination concerns this past spring that suspended work at two more labs. That taskforce, led by former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine, suggested NIH make changes to reinforce safety and quality, and to strengthen leadership and responsibility.

Gilman is to start in January 2017.