A role for public and scientists in NIEHS research plan

A new leader at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) says members of the public, including all scientists, should help direct the future of research on how the environment influences human health, according to a notice posted in the Federal Register. The NIEHS, an environmental health research arm of the National Institutes of Health, set up a website for responses to six questions critical for defining a new strategic plan.

Within a week of assuming his new role as the Director of NIEHS, Dr. David A. Schwartz announced plans to involve researchers and the community in a strategic planning process. NIEHS will use information obtained to determine the most effective ways to study environmental toxins and human health.

"Almost every complex disease, from diabetes, to obesity and heart disease, to many cancers, is, in part, caused by exposures from the environment," said Dr. Schwartz. "NIEHS is uniquely poised to improve the health of this nation. We are not limited by any one organ, system or disease -- we can use the breadth of our knowledge on environmental exposures to understand and intervene in the disease process. We can use science to reduce morbidity, extend longevity and improve an individual's quality of life."

The strategy is expected to focus on four elements: basic research, human health and disease, global environmental health, and training.

"Having these four areas serve as our backbone will allow us to strategically focus on funding the best science that will have the greatest impact on human health," said Dr. Schwartz. "Having a transparent, inclusive and candid process will allow us to work together to identify new opportunities, establish research priorities, determine the best ways to translate our findings to the field and the public." To officially kick off the strategic planning process, the Institute posted a notice in the Federal Register today. "This will ensure tha

Contact: Robin Mackar
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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