Retired US Navy Captain Pius Aiyelawo Named New COO of NIH Clinical Center

The nation’s largest hospital devoted to clinical research has named retired US Navy Captain Pius Aiyelawo as new chief operating officer.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center—the nation’s largest hospital devoted to clinical research—just named their new chief operating officer (COO): retired US Navy Captain Pius Aiyelawo.

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, Virginia—will report directly to the chief executive officer (CEO) James K. Gilman, MD, while overseeing the 200-bed NIH campus facility located in Bethesda, Maryland. While there, he will manage most clinical and administrative tasks.

Dr. Gilman was originally named the first CEO of the hospital in January 2017. Last year, the Center reported 5,000-plus inpatient admissions and 100,000 outpatient visits, with every admitted patient being on a research protocol.

Aiyelawo’s clinical background, which also includes having served as a chief operating officer/deputy commander at the Naval Medical Research & Development Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland, drove his appointment to the NIH role, Dr. 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,” Dr. Gilman said.

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, Maryland, 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 1 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 premier research hospital in the world,” Aiyelawo said.

A previous version of this article has appeared on MDMag.com.