Wilma Peterman Cross, M.S.

Wilma Peterman Cross

Deputy Director, Office of Disease Prevention

Ms. Peterman Cross serves as the Deputy Director of the ODP. She is an adviser to the NIH Associate Director for Prevention regarding scientific, programmatic, and policy issues and provides ongoing information, interpretation, and advice on disease prevention and health promotion activities and related public health issues. 

Ms. Peterman Cross oversaw the formulation and completion of the first strategic plan for the ODP. She designed an extensive and inclusive engagement process involving NIH colleagues, the broader scientific community, and interested members of the public to gather information related to pressing needs in prevention research. The plan received praise from colleagues across the NIH and has helped to promote interactions with a variety of internal and external stakeholders. The plan charts new directions for the ODP and represents a significant shift in office activities, elevating the visibility of the Office and the importance of disease prevention research at the NIH.

Before joining the ODP, Ms. Peterman Cross served as the Deputy Director of the Office of Science Policy and Planning at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, where she facilitated a number of strategic planning and program evaluation activities. She also worked very closely with representatives from patient and professional organizations and congressional staff to advance the understanding of the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases.

Ms. Peterman Cross received a B.S. Ed. with a concentration in sports medicine from the University of Virginia and an M.S. in biomechanics and exercise physiology from Springfield College. She is a graduate of the NIH Senior Leadership Program and she attended the Senior Executive Fellows program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her commitment to the NIH has been recognized by numerous awards, including multiple NIH Director’s Awards.

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