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NIH Seeks New Leadership for its Clinical Center

The US National Institutes of Health is changing up the leadership of its embattled Clinical Center, NPR reports.

The changes come on the heels of contamination and loose oversight concerns at the center. Last year, fungal contaminants were found in two vials of albumin manufactured by the center's Pharmaceutical Development Service, leading the center close for a time and triggering an inspection by the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA found a number of deficiencies, including insects inside clean room light fixtures and inadequately trained staff.

The NIH itself commissioned a taskforce. That inspection led to the closing of two additional labs at the Clinical Center, again over contamination issues. That taskforce also recommended that the agency establish a research support and compliance office, develop systems to oversee safety and quality standards, and improve clinical research leadership.

Following on those recommendations, NPR reports that the NIH is creating three new leadership positions, including a CEO post to oversee the Clinical Center.

"NIH will begin a nationwide search for a physician CEO with proven experience in management of a complex inpatient and outpatient facility," the agency says in a statement.

That means, NPR adds, that Clinical Center Director John Gallin — who has overseen the center for more than 20 years — is out.