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Executive Secretariat

DIR & DEPD Official Files


The NIH Director's Official Files are located within the Executive Secretariat (ES), which is organizationally located within the Immediate Office of the Director (IMOD), NIH. ES Records Management (RM) Staff maintain a complex filing system in which documents are indexed according to subject matter and date. Less than one-third of the materials received during the NIH Director's course of business are retained for legal and historical purposes for more than five years. And, only a fraction of those documents are deemed of historical value and are eventually transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) External Web Site Policy at the appropriate time. Other non-permanent records are destroyed once they have been retained for the appropriate amount of time, as directed by NARA.

The ES RM Staff is responsible for maintaining the official records of the NIH Director and the Principal Deputy Director. In most cases, document requests relating to disease-specific topics should be coordinated with the Institute or Center (IC). Document requests involving litigation should be requested through the Office of the General Counsel (OGC). Private citizens should request all document searches through the NIH Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Office.

Search Guidelines

Depending on the age of a document, searches can be challenging. Therefore, it is essential that the requester provide as much specific information as possible to ensure the ES conducts a broad and thorough search.

To request a search of the NIH Director’s and Deputy Director’s official files, email a written request to the ES Records Management staff describing the scope of the search request. Please include specific subject matter, dates, and the names of persons or offices involved, and any other information you deem relevant. Designate the alternate point-of-contact if someone else should be contacted with questions or with the search results.

The ES Records Management staff will provide responsive documents in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). In the case of extensive search results, the ES will provide an index of all responsive documents for review with further instructions on how to request specific documents.

Provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 restrict the disclosure personnel records. Some documents in the NIH Director’s Official Files must be protected and only disclosed pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of (e.g., attorney-client privilege), the individual to whom the records pertains. Exceptions include disclosures for law enforcement purposes and Congressional investigations.

A-Z Glossary of Records Management Terms

This page last reviewed on April 9, 2021

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