US Navy Vet Pius Aiyelawo Appointed COO of NIH Clinical Center


The 27-year Navy veteran will assume clinical and administrative roles with the country's largest clinical research-focused hospital.

Pius Aiyelawo

Pius Aiyelawo

Retired US Navy Captain Pius Aiyelawo has been named as the new chief operating officier of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center, in a role that will expand to management of both clinical and administrative tasks.

Aiyelawo — who most recently served as assistant deputy director of research and development at the US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Falls Church, VA — will be reporting directly to chief executive officer James K. Gilman, MD, while overseeing the 200-bed NIH campus facility in Bethesda, MD.

Gilman was originally named the first chief executive officer of the NIH Clinical Center in January 2017. The center is currently the largest clinical research-devoted hospital in the US, having made headlines in October 2014 after a patient was successfully treated for the Ebola virus.

The center reported 5,000-plus inpatient admissions and 100,000 outpatient visits last year, with every patient admitted the center being on a research protocol.

Aiyelawo’s clinical background, which also includes a chief operating officer/deputy commander position at the Naval Medical Research & Development Command at Fort Detrick, MD, drove his appointment to the NIH role, Gilman said in a statement.

“After a very competitive national search, I am convinced he is the right person to help us raise the bar ever higher in delivering safe, high quality patient-centric care,” Gilman said.

Congratulations to Pius Aiyelawo, a retired Navy captain, who became chief operating officer at @NIHClinicalCntr today. His responsibilities as the hospital's COO include management of most clinical as well as administrative areas.

— NIH Clinical Center (@NIHClinicalCntr) April 2, 2018

Since retiring from the US Navy in 2013, Aiyelawo has worked as the senior program director at the General Dynamics Health Solutions in Silver Spring, MD, as well as an adjunct assistant professor of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics at the F. Edward Herbert School of Medicine in Bethesda.

For his military service, Aiyelawo was awarded the Legion of Merit with 2 gold stars, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal with 2 gold stars, the Navy Commendation Medal with one gold star, the Navy Achievement Medal, among others. He is also an American College of Healthcare Executives fellow, and a board member of the Directors for HelpAge USA.

Aiyelawo’s newest appointment — one that puts him at the forefront of clinical development — may be among the most humbling.

“I am grateful to the NIH senior leadership and Dr. Gilman for this opportunity and truly humbled to be selected as the Chief Operating Officer of the finest and premiere research hospital in the world,” Aiyelawo said.

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