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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

In Memoriam - Sally M. Anderson, PhD


NIAAA shares the sad news that Sally M. Anderson, Ph.D., passed away on September 14, 2023. For more than two decades, Dr. Anderson was integral to the leadership of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (ICCFASD). NIAAA Director Dr. George F. Koob said, “Sally made major and seminal contributions to our efforts in FASD. Our thoughts go out to all her family, friends, and colleagues.”

Photo of Dr Sally Anderson

Dr. Anderson joined NIAAA in 2002 as Deputy Director of the Division of Basic Research, and subsequently served as the interim Acting Director of the newly created Division of Neuroscience and Behavior.  In 2005 Dr. Anderson was appointed the ICCFASD Scientific Coordinator and Executive Secretary, and in 2016 she became a Special Advisor to the ICCFASD Leadership, a position she held until her retirement in 2021.  Through her work with the ICCFASD, Dr. Anderson served tirelessly and with great dedication in facilitating collaboration across federal agencies and worked to accomplish major milestones in the FASD field. She was instrumental in guiding the publication of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Guide for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and in the final development of a consensus statement on Recognizing Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder in Primary Health Care of Children.  Her contributions also helped to pave the way for  the addition of  Neurobehavioral Disorder-Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (ND-PAE) to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.  

Prior to her career at NIAAA, Dr. Anderson conducted research on the relationships between brain chemistry and behavioral effects.  Her long research career spanned three decades at multiple research institutions, including the University of Colorado, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. 

Dr. Anderson was an esteemed colleague, mentor, and member of the NIAAA family.  Her drive to increase awareness of FASD, and her desire to help address the real-life challenges faced by individuals with FASD has benefited the individuals affected and their families.  She will be deeply missed.

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