The National Institutes of Health tapped a prominent Boston-area physician and businessman to sit on a board responsible for setting policy at the federal health research agencies.
James Thrall, radiologist-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital, was one of three people named to the board on April 3.
The advisory committee to the director at the NIH is a powerful position. The 20-person board reports directly to the secretary of the federal Health and Human Services Dept., as well as the NIH director on policy matters.
But the real carrot may be the ability to recommend applications for grants and research projects and influence which programs the NIH’s 27 agencies fund. The term lasts four years and board members meet twice a year, according to NIH bylaws.
Thrall, born in 1943, has a lengthy resume that includes the Juan Taveras Professor of Radiology chair at Harvard Medical School. He started at Mass. General in 1988 after serving as chair of the Department of Radiology at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He received his medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1968 and was assistant chief of nuclear medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital in Washington, D.C., from 1973 to 1975.
He’s also a member of several physicians’ organizations, including the board of chancellors of the American College of Radiology.
Thrall’s also been successful in the business world; he’s chairman of Mobile Aspects Inc., a Pittsburgh-based company that makes RFID tracking products for the healthcare industry, and a principal at RCG Healthcare Consulting, a Boston-based management and IT consulting firm that provides services to hospital radiology departments, private practices and freestanding imaging centers.
The $244 million merger netted Thrall about $1 million, according to filings with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
Thrall has published more than 240 scientific articles and reviews.