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Executive Secretariat

Secretary Briefing Memoranda


The Office of the Secretary (OS) may ask the NIH to prepare briefing materials for the Secretary, HHS. These materials are to inform the Secretary about an upcoming meeting, social event, or other issue, which involves NIH matters. The NIH Executive Secretariat (ES) may request that the relevant Institute/Center (IC) or OD Office (OD) prepare the briefing package. The package must include a memorandum (memo) to the Secretary from the Director, NIH, and may require attachments to provide extensive background information.

Preparing a Briefing Package

A briefing package for the Secretary, HHS, should include information on who will participate in the event, if the NIH has provided monetary support to any of the non-government individuals or organizations involved, and any sensitive or controversial issues associated with the participants or organizations—for example, if an affiliated researcher is under investigation for scientific misconduct.
The Office of the Secretary (OS) has updated the 2012 briefing memo guidance and template for preparing briefing memoranda to the Secretary. The OS Guide to Preparing Secretarial Correspondence also provides extensive guidance on preparing briefing packages.
In short, keep these points in mind:

  • Shorter is better. Try to limit the memo to two pages. More extensive materials should be in an attachment or Tab that is cited in the memo.
  • The preparing office is responsible for finding out who will participate in the event and what their concerns or interests are.
  • If the memo or any of its attachments include budget information, the ES will obtain clearances within the OD, especially from the Office of Budget.
  • A summary statement is not needed with a briefing package.
  • Forward the draft package to the ES in DDRMS no later than the date requested in your DDRMS assignment.
This page last reviewed on April 14, 2017

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