Long-time special populations NIDA leader Lula A Beatty, PhD retires

Dr. Beatty has retired from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, but will continue working to improve the health of those affected by drug abuse and to reduce health disparities

Nora D. Volkow, MD
Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

It is with mixed emotion that I inform you that Lula A Beatty, PhD has retired from NIDA. Dr. Beatty has been a singular presence at NIDA and her inspiration and leadership will be missed. At the same time, we know that Beatty will continue working to improve the health of those affected by drug abuse, to reduce health disparities between majority and minority populations and to enhance the training needs of the special populations that she so ably represented. Therefore, we celebrate Lula’s contributions to NIDA and NIH and we wish her well in her future endeavors. 

Beatty served as director of NIDA’s Special Populations Office from 1993 to Sept. 30th, 2012. During that time she conceptualized, developed and implemented a science-based strategic plan for NIDA’s special populations research programs; developed the Institute’s Health Disparities initiative; enhanced NIDA’s relationships with national organizations; administered the Office’s Diversity Programs including the Diversity Supplement Program, the Diversity Institutions Drug Abuse Research Program (DIDARP), the Summer Research program; and initiated and Chaired a host of racial/ethnic minority workgroups including The African-American Research and Scholars, American Indian/Alaska Native Workgroup, Asian-American/Pacific Islander Workgroup, the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse, the Consortium on Minority Concerns and the Health Disparities Committee. 

In February 2002, while on an assignment with the NIH National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Beatty developed a five-year strategic plan for the Office. The plan is comprehensive and forward looking. It recognizes the complexity of drug addiction, its uniqueness as a brain disease, its impact on minority communities and it offers a way forward that is both realistic and strategic. Under Lula’s leadership, the office has supported the research efforts of many minority scientists through its research supplement program, has encouraged high school and undergraduate students to pursue scientific careers through its summer research program, and has increased the visibility of health disparities as well as the needs of special populations through a colloquium series that features invited scientists from the extramural community. 

Prior to directing the Special Populations Office, Beatty served as a psychologist/health scientist administrator in NIDA’s Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research. Before joining NIH, Beatty was the director of research at the Institute for Urban Affairs and Research, Howard University. Most recently, she was on special assignment to the American Psychological Association where she served as senior advisor on health disparities.
In expressing our gratitude, we recognize that NIDA has benefitted enormously by Beatty’s dedication to the NIDA mission. Moreover, thanks to Beatty’s efforts, NIDA’s reach has been extended to those populations in challenging circumstances that might otherwise have been overlooked.

Please join me in thanking Beatty for her many contributions and wishing her a wonderful next phase of her career.