Comment on the US NIH Strategic Plan

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The US NIH requests public comments on their strategic plan

The United States National Institutes of Health wants feedback from you on their proposed strategic plan for the next 5 years.
Jennie Spotila at Occupy CFS explains why this is important:

One of the major weakness of the plan is that it leaves all the disease-specific planning to the Institutes. But for diseases like ME/CFS which have no Institute home, this structure guarantees that we will be left out of all plans. NIH uses a silo structure, and this plan does not sufficiently break down those barriers.
The other major weakness is that there is absolutely no role for the voices of patients at NIH. Clinical trials and outcome measures creation are moving solidly in the direction of increasing patient participation, and this is also the case in treatment choices in healthcare. Yet NIH remains walled off from patients, and is not coming to terms with how to shift. Including burden of disease as a factor in priority setting is a step in the right direction, but NIH is struggling with that as well.

Public comments on the strategic plan will be accepted until August 16th, 2015. For a sample comment and more discussion on how ME/CFS patients and organizations might respond, see Jennie Spotila’s post “A New Strategic Plan”


NIH-wide Strategic Plan Framework

Overview

This section will include a discussion on subjects such as the NIH mission, the status of and opportunities in biomedical research, the current NIH-supported research landscape (i.e., basic and applied research, extramural and intramural research, ICOs with their own strategic plans, Common Fund, challenges), and constraints confronting the community in the face of lost purchasing power

Areas of Opportunity that Apply Across Biomedicine
  • Promote Fundamental Science
    • Basic science is the foundation for progress
    • Consequences of basic science discoveries are often unpredictable
    • Advances in clinical research methodologies stimulate scientific progress
    • Leaps in technology often catalyze major scientific advances
    • Data science increases the impact and efficiency of research
  • Improve Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
    • Importance of studying healthy individuals
    • Advances in early diagnosis/detection
    • Evidence-based interventions to eliminate health disparities
  • Advance Treatments and Cures
    • Unprecedented opportunities on the basis of molecular knowledge
    • Breakdown of traditional disease boundaries
    • Breakthroughs need partnerships and often come from unexpected directions
Unifying Principles

Setting NIH Priorities – NIH sets priorities by incorporating measures of disease burden, understanding the need to foster scientific opportunity through nimble and adaptable methods, supporting opportunities presented by rare disease research, and considering the value of permanently eradicating a pandemic.
Enhancing Stewardship – NIH enhances stewardship of the research enterprise by recruiting and retaining an outstanding biomedical research workforce, enhancing workforce diversity, encouraging innovation, optimizing approaches to guide how decisions are made, enhancing partnerships, promoting scientific rigor and reproducibility, reducing administrative burden, and employing risk management strategies in decision-making.

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