Posted on September 26, 2017
In September, Catherine B. McClave, M.S., retired after 44 years of government service. For the past two decades, Ms. McClave has supported the senior leadership of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG). In her most recent role as Senior Advisor for Division Operations, she provided scientific and administrative leadership for scientific reporting, strategic planning, and budget formulation for DCEG.
“Throughout her tenure at DCEG, Cathy has been instrumental in directing the Division’s complex operations, from scientific reporting to budget,” said Division Director Stephen J. Chanock, M.D. “She has provided expert support to nearly every Branch and investigator, and her efforts will be sorely missed.”
Ms. McClave began her career at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the Laboratory of Biochemistry, then transferred to the Office of Research Services, Office of the Director, NIH. She later returned to NCI as part of the Administrative Career Development Program, joining the NCI Budget Office at the completion of the program. From there, she transferred to the Office of the Director within the NCI Division of Cancer Etiology. She made her final move to the Office of the Director within DCEG shortly after NCI established the Division in 1995, joining her mentor Dr. Susan Sieber, who became the first Deputy Director of DCEG.
“When Dr. Sieber eventually left the Division, she remarked that one of the best things she had done for DCEG was to bring Cathy with her,” said Shelia Zahm, Sc.D., Scientific Advisor. “I remember her words to this day, because they indeed predicted Cathy’s remarkable contributions to the Division. She has been an incredible source of wisdom, organization, writing, editing, and management in support of the Division’s scientific and administrative activities.”
Ms. McClave served as the Division liaison to the NCI Institute Review Office for site visit coordination and other activities involving the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors and the National Cancer Advisory Board. She was the Executive Secretary for the DCEG Promotion and Tenure Review Panel and the Technical Evaluation of Protocols Committee, and managed the formal process for the promotion of DCEG tenure-track investigators to NIH tenure. She was responsible for preparation of the Division’s scientific narratives for the Congressional Budget Justification and programmatic responses to inquiries from NIH, PHS, DHHS, Congress, other federal agencies, and the public.
Ms. McClave oversaw Division communications activities and content preparation for the Division newsletter, as well as responses to Freedom of Information Act inquiries, review of intramural/extramural letters of collaboration, official duty and outside activity inquiries, and the appointment process for the Special Studies Institutional Review Board.
Ms. McClave is the former Chief of the DCEG Office of Communications and Special Initiatives, a position she held from 2008-2015. She has received two NIH Merit Group Awards: one in 1998, for upgrading the DCEG database of intramural research projects, and one in 2011, for exceptional scientific reporting and communications activities.
“Cathy came to DCEG at a critical time just as we attained Division status as a major component of the intramural research program at NCI and NIH,” said founding DCEG Director Joseph F. Fraumeni, Jr., M.D. “We were immediately confronted with a series of challenges in managing an expanding scientific portfolio. We came to depend on Cathy for her remarkable ability to see the big picture and take care of every little detail. There was never a deadline that she didn’t meet or a project that wasn’t done to perfection. She has been an indispensable leader in the Division, as well as a terrific colleague and friend to all of us.”