publication date: Mar. 27, 2015

“All Pull; No Push”—Varmus Describes his Reasons for Leaving in Farewell Town Hall

In a farewell town hall meeting March 24, NCI Director Harold Varmus reflected on statements he made during his first day on the job, July 12, 2010, summarizing the proceeding four-and-three-quarter years; listing goals met and lamenting work left unfinished.

After Varmus steps down March 31, he will be replaced by Deputy Director Douglas Lowy, who will become the acting director.

Varmus’s remarks ranged from his reasons for leaving NCI—“All pull; no push”—to the accomplishments of the institute during his tenure, and lessons learned from obstacles unforeseen.

He discussed his Provocative Questions initiative and sequestration; the RAS initiative and the Frederick National Lab; as well as the formation of the National Clinical Trials Network and the completion of the National Lung Screening Trial.

Varmus organized the talk around five points, comparing the institute’s state today to what he encountered in 2010.

• What he proposed to do, and what he did.

• What he proposed to do, but feels he did not finish.

• What he should have envisioned, but didn’t.

• Unforeseeable crises, and the institute’s reactions.

• The future of the NCI and its role in the research community—either immediately, in the hands of soon-to-be Acting Director Lowy, or in the years to follow.

“Ambitions that I set on July 12, 2010, don’t seem long ago to me,” Varmus said.

“On day one, at … Continue reading 41-12 Varmus Describes his Reasons for Leaving in Farewell Town Hall

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