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 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 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'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 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 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'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 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 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 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 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 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 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'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'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 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 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'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'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 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
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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
National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
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 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
National Library of Medicine
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 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
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):
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
- 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.)
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.
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 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 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.