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HHS Secretary Becerra Establishes ARPA-H within NIH, Names Adam H. Russell, D.Phil. Acting Deputy Director

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra today announced the formal establishment of the Advanced Research Project Agency for Health (ARPA-H) as an independent entity within the National Institutes of Health and the appointment of Adam H. Russell, D.Phil., as acting deputy director. Currently, Dr. Russell is the Chief Scientist at University of Maryland's Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS). He spent more than a decade as a Program Manager, first at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and then at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Dr. Russell will begin his new role in June.

With broad technical and management experience across several disciplines, ranging from cognitive neuroscience and physiology to cultural psychology and social anthropology, Dr. Russell will guide the early stages of building the administrative structure of the agency and oversee the hiring of initial operational staff to ensure the agency is stood up as effectively and efficiently as possible. President Biden will appoint an ARPA-H Director who will be responsible for administration and operation of ARPA-H and will report to the HHS Secretary.

"We are ecstatic that Dr. Adam Russell has accepted the challenge to help launch ARPA-H, President Biden's bold, new endeavor to support ambitious and potentially transformational health research in this country," said Secretary Becerra. "ARPA-H will have a singular purpose: to drive breakthroughs in health, including the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes."

Dr. Russell joined DARPA as a Program Manager in July 2015. His work there focused on new experimental platforms and tools to facilitate discovery, quantification and "big validation" of fundamental measures in social science, behavioral science and human performance.

Before joining DARPA, he was a Program Manager at IARPA, where he developed and managed a number of high-risk, high-payoff research projects for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Prior to IARPA, Dr. Russell was in industry, where he was a senior scientist and principal investigator on a wide range of human performance and social science research projects and provided strategic assessments for a number of different government organizations.

Dr. Russell holds a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University, and an M.Phil. and a D.Phil. in Social Anthropology from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

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