Raynard Kington, M.D., M.B.A., Ph.D., a government health leader with deep ties to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), was tapped last month to become the next president of Grinnell College, a liberal arts college in Iowa.
Kington is currently the principal deputy director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and will assume his new position in August.
Kington’s ties to the Foundation date back to 1985, when he became an RWJF Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Since then he has served on National Advisory Committees for three programs supported by the Foundation.
The RWJF Clinical Scholars program was the first step on a journey that took Kington from medicine to the fields of science, public policy, and academia. “The Clinical Scholars program acknowledges that physicians can contribute to society in many different ways,” he said in a recent interview. “It encouraged me to think out of the box.”
Kington has indeed found many ways to use his medical background for the benefit of society. After completing the Clinical Scholars Program in 1987, he earned a doctorate degree and a master’s in business administration at the University of Pennsylvania.
He then worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and at the RAND Corporation and taught medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Kington joined the NIH in 2000 and served as the institution’s acting director from November, 2008, to August, 2009. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2006.
The Clinical Scholars program “set a trajectory for me that was based on the notion that I should do what interests me and what is valuable and important,” he said, “and took me away from thinking I had to go in one particular groove in my career.”