In the Spring of 1980, Congressman Henry Waxman proposed to reorganize biomedical research programs in the federal government,
including a restructuring of NIH extramural research grants. Fredrickson mobilized opposition to this restructuring among
scientists and academics. This created tensions with Secretary of Health and Human Services Patricia Harris and her staff,
who wanted to direct the department's response to Waxman's initiative, not have the NIH director act independently.
These tensions were reflected in a speech Harris gave at NIH on March 21, 1980 in which she stated that Fredrickson, absent
on a visit with President Jimmy Carter to the site of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, "prefers to meet a raging volcano
than the Secretary." Rumors of Fredrickson's imminent resignation as NIH director resulting from these tensions proved
unfounded, and his relationship with Secretary Harris was soon repaired.
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1980-05-22 (May 22, 1980)
Fredrickson, Donald S.
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NIH Director, 1975-1981: Biomedical Research in a Time of Trial