As director of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, I am responsible for oversight of all Division activities, which cover programs in basic and clinical research as well as training and career development. Division activities address clinical and observational studies on liver and biliary diseases; pancreatic diseases; gastrointestinal disease, including neuroendocrinology, motility, immunology, absorption, and transport in the gastrointestinal tract; nutrient metabolism; obesity; and eating disorders.
I served as chairman of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases. The Commission developed a long-range research plan for digestive diseases entitled “Opportunities and Challenges in Digestive Diseases Research: Recommendations of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases.” This research plan guides the NIH and scientific and lay communities as they pursue important research avenues for combating digestive diseases. As part of the research plan, the Commission assessed the state of the science in digestive diseases and the related NIH research portfolio, with a view toward identifying areas of research challenge and opportunity. The NIDDK is implementing this plan to improve overall health by addressing diseases of the liver, biliary tract, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract.