Portrait of NIJ Directory Nancy Rodriguez

Howard Spivak, MD, NIJ Acting Director (Biography)

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The NIJ Director

The Director is appointed by the President to lead the National Institute of Justice and establish the agency's objectives, guided​ by the needs of the field and the priorities of the ​U.S. Department of Justice.

The current Acting Director is Howard Spivak.

Follow the NIJ Director through their entries from the "Director's Corner" below. You also may

Director's Corner

July 12, 2017 — Equipment Guidance From NIJ and Our Expanding Standards Program

In our personal lives, most of us do some research before we buy a new tool or piece of equipment. We want to make sure that what we buy works as it is supposed to and that we get our money’s worth. When criminal justice agencies purchase equipment, the stakes are higher. Equipment is costly, budgets are tight, and most importantly the lives of officers and the public often depend on that equipment functioning as promised. For more than four decades, NIJ has offered guidance for the procurement and use of technology and equipment for the law enforcement and public safety community. Read the Acting Director's message on equipment guidance and standards.

May 30, 2017 — Valuing and Communicating Science That Advances Justice

The value of criminal justice research is inextricably tied to the extent to which it informs and improves policy and practice. If a research project fails to address the field’s priority questions, or if the results of research are never effectively communicated to criminal justice practitioners, the relevance and utility of that research is severely diminished. Read the Director's message on the importance of communicating research findings.

May 15, 2017 — Keeping Officers Safe – We Rely on Officers to Keep Us Safe, and They Can Rely on Us

Our nation’s law enforcement officers are put in dangerous and stressful situations every day as they protect and serve their communities. Some of these dangers, such as gun violence, are obvious; whereas others, such as officer fatigue, are a hidden yet significant risk to an officer’s well-being. Read Dr. Spivak's full message.

April 3, 2017 — Supporting Forensic Science Is a Priority at the National Institute of Justice

I have dedicated my life to understanding and preventing violence. From my training as a physician, working on violence prevention at the Centers for Disease Control, and now at NIJ, I have seen the contribution of science to our understanding of how to prevent and address violence and its consequences. Read Dr. Spivak's complete message on NIJ's commitment to the forensic sciences.

March 23, 2017 — Extending the Application Deadline for Two Priority-Area Solicitations

In February’s Director’s Corner, I discussed the importance of our work and our ongoing commitment to the relevance, reach, and impact of the research we fund. To help meet that commitment, we are extending the application deadline for two of our open solicitations. Read my message to learn more.

March 10, 2017 — On the Passing of Ray Paternoster

We at NIJ join the rest of the criminal justice research community in mourning the loss of Ray Paternoster, Ph.D., who has passed away.

Paternoster, a Distinguished Professor in the department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, College Park, dedicated his career to advancing our understanding of and pursuit of justice. Among his recent work, Paternoster was studying decision-making among adult offenders and nonoffenders and the effects of collateral consequence laws on the rates of returns to prison.

In addition to his scientific contributions, Paternoster was a role model and mentor to young scholars.

You may read more about Paternoster’s life and work in a tribute on the University of Maryland’s website.

February 6, 2017 — Supporting Research With Relevance, Reach, and Impact: NIJ’s Fiscal Year 2017 Solicitations

I am honored to serve as the Acting Director of NIJ. In this, my first message from the Director’s Corner, I want to discuss our current funding opportunities with a focus on relevance, reach, and impact.

NIJ is committed to bring together the best minds from across scientific disciplines and justice professions to address the many issues faced by the criminal justice system. Read Dr. Spivak's message.

Date Modified: July 12, 2017