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Strategic Directions

NIH's priorities in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias: Let your voice be heard!

Research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD) is an important component of the NIA’s mission. In recent years, Congress has provided a significant amount of additional funding beyond our typical appropriation for us to accelerate research on the basic biology, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care related to this devastating group of diseases. With this additional funding comes the responsibility to plan and set priorities for the funds’ use.

NIA's updated strategic directions: A roadmap for progress

At the National Institute on Aging, our shared vision is one in which all Americans enjoy robust health and independence with advancing age. Although we have come far in 40 years of supporting and  conducting research, we in the scientific community will need to think broadly, creatively, intelligently—and strategically—to pursue this goal most effectively. I am proud to let you know that an updated version of NIA’s Strategic Directions, Aging Well in the 21st Century, is now available.

What are your priorities for aging research?

At NIA, we share an ambitious goal with our colleagues in the research community: To understand the nature of aging and the aging process and diseases and conditions associated with growing older in order to extend healthy, active years of life for all Americans. But the basic biologists, clinicians, behavioral research specialists, demographers, and experts in dozens of other scientific specialties supported by NIA will necessarily have different interests, concerns, and strategies toward achieving that common goal.

Building the next generation of biomedical researchers

The Grant Support Index. At the moment, if you bring up these words around NIH, you are guaranteed an extended conversation, meetings that run long and late, and strong emotions bubbling throughout. I suspect much the same is happening on many campuses.

Strategic Directions for Research on Aging

Like many other Institutes at NIH, the NIA assesses and updates its research directions every few years. This exercise is an important one, resulting in a Strategic Directions document that helps set and communicate priorities for the Institute and for aging research. We are updating our Strategic Directions, and I am seeking your input.

Working with Congress

The NIA recently hired someone new, Melinda Kelley, to help us work with Congress, outside groups, and others who would like to interact with NIA leadership. The person who previously filled this role, the wonderful Tamara Jones, retired at the beginning of the year.

Government agencies like the NIA must have a point of contact for Members of Congress and their staff. Legislation, including appropriations, affects all aspects of biomedical research. We communicate with Congress about programs and policies, providing information about new initiatives and developments in research. We also provide technical assistance when requested. This is not the responsibility of NIA alone: researchers all over the country are a powerful voice helping Congress understand the value of medical research to its constituents.