Yesterday, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins announced the appointment of Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan as the next director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world’s largest medical library and a component of NIH. Dr. Brennan comes to NLM from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is the Lillian L. Moehlman Bascom Professor, School of Nursing and College of Engineering. She will be the first woman and first nurse to lead NLM. Dr. Brennan is expected to assume her post in August.
“Dr. Brennan brings her incredible experience of having cared for patients as a practicing nurse, improved the lives of home-bound patients by developing innovative information systems and services designed to increase their independence, and pursued cutting-edge research in data visualization and virtual reality,” said Dr. Collins.
NLM, based on the campus of NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, was founded in 1836 and has earned a reputation for innovation and public service. ALA has had the pleasure of working with a number of NLM staffers, and we look forward to collaborating with Dr. Brennan and her team.
The previous director, Dr. Donald Lindberg, led NLM from 1984 until his retirement in 2015. Among his many achievements was the founding of the National High-Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) Office in 1992 and his service as its first director for three years. Establishing the HPCC Office was an important early milestone in the development, growth, and institutionalization of advanced information technology within and across federal agencies. I mention HPCC as it was my employer (though now evolved and re-named to the National Coordination Office for Networking Information Technology Research & Development) prior to coming to ALA.