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.
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.
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.
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.