Alan Edward Guttmacher, M.D., was the Acting Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) from August 2008 to 2009, helping to oversee the institute's efforts in advancing genome research, integrating the benefits of genome research into health care, and exploring the ethical, legal, and social implications of human genomics.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Guttmacher received an A.B. degree in 1972 from Harvard College and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1981. From 1982 to 1985, Dr. Guttmacher completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston. In 1985, he earned a two-year National Research Service Award from the U.S. Public Health Service as a fellow in medical genetics at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School.
In 1987, Dr. Guttmacher became director of the Vermont Regional Genetics Center at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. While there, he launched a series of public health genetics programs. In addition, Dr. Guttmacher directed the Vermont Cancer Center's Familial Cancer Program, the Vermont Newborn Screening Program, Vermont's only pediatric intensive care unit, and an NIH-supported initiative that was the nation's first statewide effort to involve the general public in discussion of the Human Genome Project's ethical, legal, and social implications.
While in Vermont, Dr. Guttmacher developed a busy practice in clinical genetics, conducted research, and was a tenured associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Vermont. He is currently a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and a member of the Institute of Medicine.
In 1999, Dr. Guttmacher joined the NHGRI as Senior Clinical Advisor to the Director. In that role, he established a dialogue with health professionals and the public about the health and societal implications of the HGP. He has given hundreds of talks to physicians, consumer groups, students and the lay public about genetics and its impact on health, health care and society.
Dr. Guttmacher also has played a critical role in guiding the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics [nchpeg.org] (NCHPEG), a non-profit coalition that promotes health-professional education and access to information about advances in human genetics. The NHGRI partnered with the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association to establish NCHPEG in 1996. For its first three years, NCHPEG operated from within the genome institute. Dr. Guttmacher oversaw the maturation of NCHPEG into a freestanding entity with 120 member organizations and its own executive director.
Dr. Guttmacher also oversees the NIH's involvement in the U.S. Surgeon General's Family History Initiative, an effort to encourage all Americans to learn about and use their families' health histories to promote personal health and prevent disease.
On August 2, 2008, Dr. Guttmacher assumed the role of Acting Director of NHGRI.
On December 1, 2009, he became the Acting Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
On August 1, 2010, he became the Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
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Last Reviewed: June 20, 2013