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Greetings from the new deputy director!

Amy Kelley
Amy KELLEY,
Office of the Director (OD).

I am delighted to be here at the nation’s top agency for the science of aging. As a practicing geriatrician, palliative care physician, and researcher, NIA has long been at the intersection of all my career interests — and many of my personal ones. I’ve worked for decades to improve the lives of older people with serious illness and assist their families and caregivers. I see my new position as the logical next step in my efforts to advance innovation and equity in patient care and research.

In my career, I’ve studied how multiple factors affect treatment intensity in people with dementia and other serious illnesses. I’ve partnered with the NIA IMPACT Collaboratory to improve care and health outcomes for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and to support their caregivers. I’m also dedicated to improving access to (and public awareness of) the comfort and compassion of palliative care, which can be an important addition to disease-focused treatment throughout the entire course of a serious illness.

As a former NIA grantee, and having had support from an NIH R01 grant, the NIA Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers program, a K24 mid-career mentoring award, and training funding, I’m humbled to now be serving alongside so many exemplary and dedicated colleagues. I’ve also served as a study section chair for NIH grant reviews, so I’m well aware of the hard work required on that side of grants management.

Diversity matters for aging research

Many of my top goals as deputy director will revolve around improving health equity and understanding and mitigating the lifelong health impact of differences in social experiences and personal backgrounds. Despite so many advances in medicine, too often health outcomes and the quality of patient care are affected by structural inequities related to a person’s race, ethnicity, or ZIP code, among other factors.

I’ll also be focused on increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) for the extramural and intramural workforce. Supporting different voices and perspectives not only makes for stronger teams, but also fortifies our interdisciplinary science. This applies to underrepresented racial and ethnic populations and gender identities and other groups historically excluded from careers in science.

In the two years prior to joining NIA, I was part of an NIH Common Fund Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Program Cohort U54 grant, which, as part of the NIH UNITE initiative, is committed to building a culture of DEIA by supporting talented early-career investigators. As deputy director, I will continue strengthening NIA’s work with NIH UNITE, which is leading broad efforts to reduce barriers to DEIA throughout the biomedical workforce.

Training the next generation of aging researchers

I was also fortunate to receive a Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging at a crucial point in my career growth. I understand the vital importance of training grants and mentorship for early-career scientists. Studies have shown that scientists who are parents of young children — mothers, in particular — and investigators from minoritized populations, are more likely to have their careers derailed at crucial stages.

Recruiting a broad array of talented new investigators from all disciplines into the field of aging research and providing better support for promising early career scientists will be other areas of emphasis for me. I hope to sharpen our long-term strategy through a DEIA lens to further stimulate interest in science and public health careers among middle, high school, and college students; and to encourage established investigators from other fields to join our efforts to improve the health and well-being of all older adults.

Please reach out

Above all, I just feel lucky to be here doing what I love as part of such a talented team. I look forward to meeting more of you as we build upon the already impressive achievements of NIA. If you have comments or suggestions, please leave a note below!

Comments

Submitted by Carol Mangione on November 30, 2022

Dear Amy,

Reading this was the best news today! Congratulations on this much deserved accomplishment, I cannot think of anyone better for this role. I know that there has been a lot of water under the bridge since you were at UCLA, but we all take pride in your accomplishments. Warmest Regards, Carol

Submitted by Nadia Sutton on November 30, 2022

Dear Dr. Kelley,

Congratulations on this role! As a current awardee of a Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging (as well as a mother of young children), it is truly exciting to hear about your goals in this leadership position. I am looking forward to following news and updates from the NIA!

Sincerely,
Nadia Sutton
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Submitted by Brie Williams on November 30, 2022

Happy to hear about your new role at NIA Amy! Congrats!
Let me know if you ever have interest in hearing more about the need for evidence around the health, and meeting the healthcare needs, of criminal justice-impacted older adults and people with serious life-limiting illness!
My very best,
Brie Williams

Submitted by Maril on November 30, 2022

Welcome. Exciting times.

Submitted by Laura Mosqueda on November 30, 2022

Dear Dr. Kelley,
Thank you for taking on this big job. No doubt your background provides both a deep understanding and empathy that will equip you well. I and my colleagues are here to support, learn, and continue the hard work that the NIA enables us to do.
best wishes,
Laura
Laura Mosqueda MD
Professor of Family Medicine and Geriatrics
Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
Director, National Center on Elder Abuse

Submitted by Mara Schonberg on November 30, 2022

Hi Amy-This is wonderful news! Congratulations on this new role. Mara

Submitted by Jessica R Ryan on November 30, 2022

Congratulations!

Submitted by Vincent Mor on November 30, 2022

Amy:
I am so glad that you are in this critical role at the NIA advocating for all the issues that have been important for you throughout your career. I am so impressed by your dedication to moving the field forward that you are willing to shift from your own research to devote your considerable energies and skills to helping others. All the best; I'm sure our paths will cross.

Vince Mor

Submitted by ALISON A MOORE on November 30, 2022

Amy,
I am thrilled that you are in this role. I am looking forward to all that you will do in this position for older adults and science.
Alison

Submitted by John Haaga on November 30, 2022

Congratulations, Amy, and all best wishes for continued success in your new role. It's a great institution and I am delighted that NIA as well as the whole field will benefit from your expertise and dedication.

Submitted by Liz Goldberg, MD on November 30, 2022

Dear Dr. Kelley,

Congratulations on your new role! As a mother of four, I so appreciate your mission to support a diverse workforce and encourage budding scientists in critical stages of their careers such as during childbearing years. I know my role as a parent and caregiver to aging parents has provided motivation to improve the clinical care we provide in the emergency department for older adults. I've been fortunate to also receive a Beeson award during a critical time in my life. Wonderful to hear of your new role and excited to see how the institute is shaped under your leadership! - Liz Goldberg

Submitted by Melissa Aldridge on December 01, 2022

Congratulations Amy! They are lucky to have you. No doubt you will make major contributions at NIA.

Submitted by Divaker Choubey on December 01, 2022

Dear Dr. Kelley,
Thank you very much for taking a new role at NIA. Congratulations! I believe your expertise and unique experiences in the aging field will allow you to repriortize research at NIA to improve the health and lifespan.

Best wishes,
Divaker Choubey, Ph. D.
Professor
Colleage of Medicine
University of Cincinnati, OH

Submitted by Rebecca Kirch on January 26, 2023

Amy - this move to NIA is picture perfect in your playbook for supporting needs of older adults and the importance of advancing equity. National Patient Advocate Foundation will be thrilled to work with you in your new role, particularly addressing unmet financial and social needs that are a big part of serious illness and distress that follows - especially for patients in limited resourced circumstances. I'm late in welcoming you to your new position, yet it is a headstrong and heartfelt hooray to you for this next chapter!

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