On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted 98-1 to confirm former NIH director Dr. Francis Collins to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Collins, who was first nominated to head NIH in May, has a reputation as a strong advocate for LGBT rights, which he has defended.
He is also known for using social media to push his views.
In April, Collins said he believes that gay men are more prone to mental illness, while in June he wrote a blog post that said gay men “are more likely to be violent.”
The vote to confirm Collins came a day after Collins, along with four other scientists, was forced to resign from the National Institutes of Health following the release of a scathing report accusing the agency of bias against women scientists.
The report cited the agency’s refusal to accept complaints about a former research assistant who allegedly made false claims to the CDC.
Collins and his colleagues were suspended after a second female assistant was accused of sexual misconduct.
A third woman, who had been the assistant for just over a year, was also investigated by the agency and eventually fired, but was not punished.
Collins was the first openly gay individual to lead a federal agency, and he became the first person in the nation to lead the CDC’s National Center for Transgender Equality.
His appointment to the NIH came after years of speculation about the makeup of the agency.
On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a bill that would make it easier for scientists to file complaints against their employers.
She said the bill would give scientists the ability to file claims for retaliation, retaliation that can include “discrimination, demotion, retaliation against scientists or staff members who publicly speak out against discrimination or harassment or who publicly express concern about discrimination or sexual harassment.”
Warren said she was encouraged by Collins’ appointment and said that “his nomination demonstrates that science is not only open, it is also inclusive and fair.”
Read more at Recode: NIH to fire scientist who questioned sexual orientation in ‘Gaybaiting Report’ article The NIH, a nonprofit research agency, oversees the U,S.
government’s medical research programs.
Collins is currently the agency chief.