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A Message from the Acting NIH Director

Closeup of Dr. Lawrence Tabak in a suit


Each year, our nation observes Women’s History Month throughout March to commemorate women’s contributions to our history and progress as a Nation. At NIH, we proudly celebrate the accomplishments of all women, including those who identify as transgender, who help make our agency the foremost supporter of biomedical research. This year, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) will lead the celebration of women by highlighting the power of representation with the theme Representation Matters.

The theme of representation speaks to our need to lift up voices, recognize perspectives, and value diverse experiences that too often may be missing from discussions highlighting an agency’s or organization’s work and achievements. Representation can make a long-lasting difference in workplaces across all fields, influencing future individual and enterprise-wide directions. Women who serve in key leadership roles as decision-makers, innovators, and advisors illustrate why representation matters in the workplace.

Dr. Ruth Kirschstein made history as the first woman appointed to lead an NIH institute when she became the NIGMS Director in 1974. Women now comprise 41% of NIH’s Institute and Center (IC) Directors. The recent installation of current IC Director photos in Building 1 (see below) highlights this diversity and helps to inspire and empower the next generation of leaders. NIH continues working toward increased recruitment of women in its workforce to strengthen our representation and serve as an example of our organization-wide commitment to inclusion.

NIH Institute & Center Directors; 10 portraits of NIH directors hanging on a patterned wall

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I invite you to visit the EDI webpage to gain insight, awareness, and inspiration on the impact of representation. For more information about EDI’s Women’s History Month campaign, please contact the Women’s Employment Portfolio Strategist, Joy Postell (she/her), at

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Acting Director, NIH

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