False: Anthony Fauci’s wife is in charge of ethical oversight at the National Institutes of Health

By: Sam Doak
January 16 2023

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False: Anthony Fauci’s wife is in charge of ethical oversight at the National Institutes of Health


The Verdict False

At no point was Dr. Christine Grady responsible overseeing the work of her husband, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Claim ID 6134ccc4


Since December 2022, a discussion has increased online concerning the role of Dr. Christine Grady at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This discourse is largely due to Dr. Grady being married to Anthony Fauci, the public health official that advised Presidents Trump and Biden on responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Elon Musk is one of the most prominent figures to have commented on the relationship between Dr. Grady and Fauci. On December 28, Musk stated on Twitter, "Almost no one seems to realize that the head of bioethics at NIH – the person who is supposed to make sure that Fauci behaves ethically – is his wife."

Musk's tweet picked up significant traction in the days after it was posted, being retweeted over 49 thousand times and liked by over 127 thousand accounts. Outside of Twitter, Musk's remarks were reported by numerous fringe outlets, including Conservative Brief. 

In Fact

Dr. Christine Grady is currently Chief of the Department of Bioethics at the NIH's Clinical Center. This does not, however, mean that she is in charge of ethical approval or oversight at the NIH. The "about us" section on the website of the Department of Bioethics makes it clear that it is primarily centered around research and training, rather than oversight. 

According to its website, "the Department of Bioethics is a center for research, training, and service related to bioethical issues. The Department conducts conceptual, empirical, and policy-related research into bioethical issues; offers comprehensive training to future bioethicists and educational programs for biomedical researchers and clinical providers; and provides high quality ethics consultation services to clinicians, patients, and families of the NIH's Clinical Center and advice to the NIH IRBs, investigators, and others on the ethical conduct of research."

To understand Dr. Grady's role, it is important to note that the NIH Clinical Center is contained within the NIH. As such, to say that the Chief of the Department of Bioethics at the Clinical Center has oversight over this area for the entirety of the NIH is patently false. 

Even if Dr. Grady's role were centered on oversight, not research and training, she would not be responsible for her husband's work. Dr. Anthony Fauci was the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). According to Forbes and other outlets, the NIH Clinical Center plays no role in granting ethical approval to the NIAID, and in cases that concern human subjects, this is processed via independent review boards. 

The Verdict

Dr. Christine Grady's role as Chief of the Department of Bioethics at the NIH's Clinical Center did not put her in a position of oversight relating to the work of her husband, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Claims to the contrary are based on a misunderstanding relating to her role and the work of the department she oversees. This claim has therefore been marked as false. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.

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