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Biennial Report of the Director
National Institutes of Health Fiscal Years 2006 & 2007

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Appendix B:
Priorities and Plans of the Institutes and Centers and the Program Offices in the Office of the Director

This appendix provides brief descriptions of the missions of the NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) and the program offices in the Office of the Director. Links to strategic plans (or strategic planning Web sites) are embedded in the names of the ICs and offices. The ICs are presented in the order in which they appear on the appropriation table in the Congressional Justification. The mission statements and strategic plans presented here classify and justify NIH priorities.

NIH Institutes and Centers
National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI leads a national effort to reduce the burden of cancer. The National Cancer Act of 1971 broadened the scope and responsibilities of NCI and created the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports basic and clinical biomedical research; training; health information dissemination; and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer and HIV/AIDS; rehabilitation from cancer; and the continuing care of cancer patients and their families. NCI aims for a future in which we can prevent cancer before it starts, identify cancers that do develop at the earliest stage, eliminate cancers through innovative treatment interventions, and biologically control those cancers that we cannot eliminate so they become manageable, chronic diseases.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). NHLBI provides leadership for a national research program in diseases of the heart, blood vessels, lung, and blood; sleep disorders; and blood resources management. The Institute plans, conducts, fosters, and supports an integrated and coordinated program of basic research, clinical investigations and trials, observational studies, and demonstration and education projects. In addition, NHLBI plans and directs research in the development and evaluation of interventions and devices related to the prevention of diseases and disorders within its purview and the treatment and rehabilitation of patients who suffer from them. Also, the NHLBI oversees management of the NIH Women's Health Initiative.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). NIDCR's mission is to improve oral, dental, and craniofacial health through research, research training, and the dissemination of health information. The Institute accomplishes its mission through basic and clinical research; training and career development programs that ensure an adequate number of talented, well-prepared, and diverse investigators; coordination across all sectors of the research community; and the timely transfer of knowledge gained from research and its implications for health to the public, health professionals, researchers, and policymakers.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). NIDDK conducts and supports basic and applied research and provides leadership for national programs in diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases and nutrition; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases. Several of these diseases are among the leading causes of disability and death and all can seriously affect the quality of life of those who have them.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). NINDS aims to reduce the burden of neurological diseases and disorders. To accomplish this goal, the Institute conducts and supports basic, translational, and clinical research on the normal and diseased nervous system, fosters the training of investigators in the neurosciences, and seeks to better understand, diagnose, treat, and prevent neurological disorders. The NINDS research portfolio encompasses hundreds of neurological disorders, from diseases such as stroke that affect millions of people and are among the leading causes of death and disability, to rare disorders that individually affect a few people but collectively have an enormous impact on patients and families.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). NIAID's mission is to conduct and support research to understand, treat, and prevent infectious and immune-related diseases. Infectious diseases include well-known killers such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria; emerging or reemerging threats such as influenza and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB); and “deliberately emerging” threats from potential agents of bioterrorism. Immune-related disorders include autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis as well as asthma, allergies, and problems associated with transplantation.

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). NIGMS supports basic biomedical research that increases the understanding of life processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. The Institute's programs encompass the areas of cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, bioinformatics, computational biology, and minority biomedical research and training.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). NICHD conducts and supports research on all stages of human development, from preconception to adulthood, to better understand the health of children, adults, families, and communities. This includes research on fertility, pregnancy, growth, developmental disabilities, and medical rehabilitation.

National Eye Institute (NEI). NEI conducts and supports research that helps prevent and treat eye diseases and other disorders of vision. This research leads to sight-saving treatments, reduces visual impairment and blindness, and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. NEI-supported research has advanced our knowledge of how the eye functions in health and disease.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The mission of NIEHS is to reduce the burden of human illness and disability by understanding how the environment influences the development and progression of human disease.

National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA leads a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. The Institute provides leadership in aging research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs relevant to aging and older people and serves as the primary Federal agency on Alzheimer's disease research.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). NIAMS supports research to address the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). NIDCD conducts and supports biomedical research and research training on normal mechanisms as well as diseases and disorders of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language. In addition, NIDCD conducts and supports research and research training related to disease prevention and health promotion; addresses special biomedical and behavioral problems associated with persons who have communication impairments or disorders; and supports efforts to create devices that substitute for lost and impaired sensory and communication function.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH's mission is to reduce the burden of mental illness and behavioral disorders through research on the mind, brain, and behavior. Mental disorders are brain disorders and that means that achieving progress requires a deeper understanding of the brain and behavior. To fulfill its mission, NIMH conducts and supports research and training on advancing the integrative science of brain and behavior; developing more reliable, valid diagnostic tests and biomarkers; defining the genetic and environmental risk architecture for mental disorders; developing interventions to prevent occurrence and/or reduce relapse of mental disorders; developing more effective, safer, and equitable treatment; conducting clinical trials that will provide treatment options to deliver more effective personalized care across diverse populations and settings; and creating improved pathways for rapid dissemination of science to mental health care and service efforts.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). NIDA's mission is to lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction. This charge has two critical components. The first is the strategic support and conduct of research across a broad range of disciplines. The second is ensuring the rapid and effective dissemination and use of the results of that research to significantly improve prevention and treatment, and to inform policy as it relates to drug abuse and addiction.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). NIAAA supports and conducts research focused on improving the treatment and prevention of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems to reduce the enormous health, social, and economic consequences of this disease. NIAAA conducts and supports research in a wide range of scientific areas including genetics, neuroscience, epidemiology, health risks and benefits of alcohol consumption, prevention, and treatment; coordinates and collaborates with international, national, State, and local institutions, organizations, agencies, and programs engaged in alcohol-related work; and communicates research findings to health care providers, researchers, policymakers, and the public.

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). NINR promotes and improves the health of individuals, families, communities, and populations through nursing research and research training. NINR's research foci encompass health promotion and disease prevention, quality of life, health disparities, and end-of-life care. NINR seeks to extend nursing science by integrating the biological and behavioral sciences, applying new technologies to research questions, improving research methods, and developing the nurse scientists of the future.

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). NHGRI's mission has expanded since the initiation of the International Human Genome Project to encompass a broad range of studies aimed at understanding the structure and function of the human genome and its role in health and disease. A critical part of the NHGRI mission continues to be the study of the ethical, legal, and social implications of genome research. NHGRI also supports the training of investigators and the dissemination of genome-related information to the public and health professionals.

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). NIBIB's mission is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. The Institute is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance research and medical care.

National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). NCRR provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the environments and tools needed to make biomedical discoveries, translate these findings to animal-based studies, and then apply them to patient-oriented research. NCRR connects researchers with one another and with patients and communities across the Nation. These connections bring together innovative research teams and the power of shared resources, multiplying the opportunities to improve human health. Together, NCRR's four integrated and complementary divisions—biomedical technology, clinical and translational research, comparative medicine, and research infrastructure—accelerate and enhance research along the entire continuum of biomedical science.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). NCCAM is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science; training complementary and alternative medicine researchers; and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. To fulfill its mission, NCCAM supports a broad-based portfolio of research, research training, and educational grants and contracts, as well as various outreach mechanisms to disseminate information.

National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD).1 NCMHD promotes minority health and leads, coordinates, supports, and assesses NIH efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. In this effort, NCMHD supports and partners with other ICs to support basic, clinical, social, and behavioral research, promote research infrastructure and training, foster emerging programs, disseminate health information, and reach out to minority and other communities that suffer from disparities in health.

John E. Fogarty International Center (FIC). FIC strengthens human and institutional capacity to confront complex global health challenges through innovative and collaborative research and training programs. It builds the knowledge and skills of developing country foreign scientists, identifies crucial gaps in global health research, and supports and advances the NIH mission through international partnerships.

National Library of Medicine (NLM). NLM is the world's largest research library of the health sciences, serving scientists, health professionals, and the public by collecting, organizing, and providing access to biomedical information. NLM also carries out programs designed to strengthen existing and develop new medical library services in the United States. It conducts research in health communications, supports medical informatics, and provides information services and sophisticated tools in the areas of molecular biology and toxicology/environmental health. NLM creates Web-based services for the general public containing information from NIH and other reliable sources. (Also see “The Library” in the section on “Providing the Platform for Discovery,” in Chapter 1.)

NIH Clinical Center. The Clinical Center is the NIH facility that provides the patient care, medical services, and environment necessary for NIH scientists to conduct clinical research. Clinical and laboratory research is conducted shoulder-to-shoulder at the Clinical Center and this tandem approach drives all aspects of its operations. (Also see “The Clinical Center” in the section on “Providing the Platform for Discovery” in Chapter 1)

Center for Information Technology (CIT). CIT incorporates the power of modern computers into NIH's biomedical and behavioral research programs and administrative procedures by focusing on three primary activities: conducting computational biosciences research, developing computer systems, and providing computer facilities. (Also see “Information Technology” in the section on “Providing the Platform for Discovery” in Chapter 1.)

Center for Scientific Review (CSR). CSR carries out peer review of the majority of research and research training applications submitted to NIH; serves as the central receipt point for all such Public Health Service applications; makes referrals to scientific review groups for scientific and technical merit review of applications and to funding components for potential award; and develops and implements innovative, flexible ways to conduct referral and review for all aspects of science. (Also see “NIH Peer Review Process” under the section on “The Extramural Research Program” in Chapter 1.)

Office of the Director
Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI). DPCPSI is a new structure within the NIH OD, mandated by the NIH Reform Act of 2006. DPCPSI incorporates functions of the Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (which has primary responsibility for trans-NIH research initiatives based on NIH-wide portfolio assessment, strategic planning, evaluation, and assessment) and most responsibilities of the four OD Program Offices (which are responsible for stimulating and coordinating specific areas of research across NIH). See “Strategic Planning and Roadmap 1.5,” in Chapter 1, for further information on DPCPSI, the Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives, and the activities they support. See Appendix C for the Common Fund Strategic Planning Report, FY 2008.

The four OD Program Offices are in the areas of disease prevention; behavioral and social sciences research; women's health; and AIDS research.

Office of Disease Prevention (ODP). ODP fosters, coordinates, and assesses research in prevention research that seeks to improve public health in the Nation and throughout the world. ODP collaborates with other Federal agencies, academic institutions, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and international organizations in the formulation of research initiatives and policies that promote public health, and advises the NIH Director on these topics. There are three offices within ODP: Office of Rare Diseases (ORD), Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), and Office of Medical Applications of Research (OMAR):
  • ORD stimulates and coordinates research on rare diseases to respond to the needs of approximately 25 million patients who have one of the 7,000 known rare diseases. (Also see the section on the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network in Chapter 4, which addresses NIH Centers of Excellence.)
  • ODS promotes and supports, through collaboration with the ICs, basic and clinical research to increase understanding of the impact of dietary supplements (e.g., plant extracts, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, hormonal extracts) on disease prevention and health maintenance.
  • OMAR is the focal point for evidence-based assessments of medical practice and state-of-the-science conferences—key mechanisms for translating and disseminating the results of biomedical research to improve the delivery of health services to the public.
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). OBSSR coordinates and stimulates behavioral and social sciences research throughout the NIH and integrates it more fully into the NIH research enterprise. The Office provides leadership on matters relating to research on the roles of human behavior and the social environment in the development of health, prevention of disease, and therapeutic intervention, as well as in training, continuing education, and dissemination of research findings to the broader scientific community and the general public.

Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH). ORWH serves as a focal point for women's health research at NIH. ORWH promotes, stimulates, and supports efforts to improve the health of women through biomedical and behavioral research. The Office works in partnership with the NIH ICs to ensure that women's health research is part of the scientific framework at NIH and throughout the broader scientific community.

Office of AIDS Research (OAR). OAR is responsible for the scientific, budgetary, legislative, and policy elements of the NIH AIDS research program. This includes responsibility for developing an annual comprehensive plan and budget for all NIH AIDS research and supporting trans-NIH Coordinating Committees to assist in these efforts.

1 The NIH Health Disparities Strategic Plan for 2004-2008 has been approved by the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities, but is awaiting formal clearance.