ODP Strategic Plan

The ODP Strategic Plan 2014–2018 (PDF) includes activities to carry out our mission and vision, strengthen existing programs, and develop new initiatives to advance prevention research and improve public health.

Our January 2017 Mid-Course Review (PDF) provides an overview of the accomplishments of each Strategic Priority and future opportunities.

Strategic Priority I

Systematically monitor NIH investments in prevention research and assess the progress and results of that research.


  • Objective I.1: Establish a taxonomy for prevention research that the ODP can apply to analyze the NIH prevention research portfolio.
  • Objective I.2: Develop, test, and implement portfolio analysis tools to classify NIH awards based on the taxonomy for prevention research.
  • Objective I.3: Develop and implement a process to regularly assess the progress and results of NIH investments in prevention research.

Spotlight on Progress

Prevention Abstract Classification Tool (PACT)/Taxonomy Project

The ODP developed new methods to better characterize the NIH prevention research portfolio, and as of early 2018, ODP staff has manually coded and classified more than 15,000 NIH grant abstracts across a variety of funding mechanisms awarded during Fiscal Years 2012–2017.

In 2013 and 2014, the ODP created a prevention research taxonomy and accompanying protocol to enable detailed and standardized classification of prevention research projects funded by the NIH. The taxonomy is a framework for classifying research and includes nearly 130 non-mutually exclusive topics grouped into six categories. The ODP developed a team-coding approach to apply the taxonomy to research grant abstracts. Custom software, called the Prevention Abstract Classification Tool (PACT), was created to record individual and team coding and calculate inter-rater reliability.

Additionally, the ODP collaborated with the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis (OPA) to develop a novel machine learning (ML) approach and automate the coding process. Using ML algorithms to characterize prevention research funding at the NIH is an efficient way to help inform the agency's funding priorities. Work is also underway to refine and train the ML algorithms to identify specific details of individual prevention research grants based on the ODP taxonomy, such as the health condition(s), study population(s), research design(s), and type(s) of prevention research.

These efforts will help the ODP describe trends in NIH-funded prevention research and identify gaps in the NIH prevention research portfolio that could benefit from additional investments.

Strategic Priority II

Identify prevention research areas for investment or expanded effort by the NIH.


  • Objective II.1: Work with stakeholders to identify needs in prevention research.
  • Objective II.2: Compare those needs to the current NIH portfolio to identify gaps in prevention research (i.e., those areas that are not being addressed or have insufficient funding).
  • Objective II.3: Coordinate activities across the ODP and with NIH Institutes and Centers to identify prevention research gaps and opportunities for investment or expanded effort.

Spotlight on Progress


Read more about our progress in the August 2015 Director's Message.

Strategic Priority III

Promote the use of the best available methods in prevention research and support the development of better methods.


  • Objective III.1: Develop a list of existing NIH and other federal resources pertaining to prevention science methodology.
  • Objective III.2: Provide training in prevention science methods to NIH program and review staff and to extramural investigators.
  • Objective III.3: Develop NIH Funding Opportunity Announcements that encourage innovative and improved approaches to prevention science.
  • Objective III.4: Work with stakeholders to identify and disseminate "best practices" in prevention science methods.

Spotlight on Progress

  • The ODP developed and launched a website that provides resources on research methods related to experiments that randomize groups or clusters or that deliver interventions to groups. The website includes a calculator to estimate sample size requirements for group- or cluster-randomized trials.
  • To enhance the quality of prevention research, the ODP sponsors monthly Methods: Mind the Gap webinars that explore research design, measurement, intervention, data analysis, and other methods of interest in prevention science.
  • The ODP continues to maintain a list of NIH Training Opportunities in Prevention Research Methods on the ODP website. These training opportunities focus on study design, intervention design, data analysis, and measurement methods and include an online training course, developed by Dr. Murray, on Group Randomized Trials.
  • The winner of the 2018 ODP Early Stage Investigator Lecture was Dr. Jacob Bor, who discussed his research which applies the analytical tools of economics and data science to the study of population health, with a focus on HIV treatment-as-prevention in southern Africa. This lecture was developed to recognize early-career prevention scientists who have not competed successfully for a substantial NIH-supported research project, but who have already made substantial, outstanding research contributions to their respective fields and are poised to become future leaders in prevention research.
  • The ODP announced that the recipient of the 2018 Robert S. Gordon, Jr. Lecture in Epidemiology is Ana V. Diez Roux, M.D., M.P.H., Dean and Distinguished University Professor of Epidemiology at Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health. Dr. Diez Roux is internationally known for her research on the social determinants of population health and the study of how neighborhoods affect health. She will present her lecture on May 23, 2018, on the NIH main campus.
  • In fall 2017, the ODP released an updated version of the Prevention Research Expertise Survey (PRES), which provides researchers the opportunity to add their methodological and content expertise in prevention science to an electronic directory that NIH staff can use to find qualified reviewers for NIH study sections. The updates include more than 30 new topics and two new expertise categories so respondents can provide a clearer picture of their experience and interests. By helping review staff better identify individuals with appropriate methodological and content expertise to serve as peer reviewers, the ODP aims to improve the quality of prevention research supported by the NIH.

Strategic Priority IV

Promote collaborative prevention research projects and facilitate coordination of such projects across the NIH and with other public and private entities.


  • Objective IV.1: Identify, document, and share best practices for research collaborations within the NIH and with other stakeholders.
  • Objective IV.2: Establish or promote infrastructures and processes to foster research coordination and collaboration across the NIH and with other public and private entities.
  • Objective IV.3: Coordinate NIH Funding Opportunity Announcements to address areas of need in prevention research.

Spotlight on Progress

  • In 2016, the ODP created five new trans-NIH scientific interest groups (SIGs) organized around prevention topics not already covered by existing NIH groups. The current Prevention SIGs include: Screening in Children; Screening in Adults; Genetics of Prevention; Evaluating Environmental, Policy, and Systems-Level Interventions; and Interventions to Prevent or Delay the Onset of Comorbid Diseases.
  • The SIGs have already produced four funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) related to e-cigarette prevention research (R21R01) and their health effects (R21R01). Additionally, their work has led to the release of two FOAs related to physical activity.
  • The ODP provides co-funding for a range of prevention research efforts. In 2017, we supported meetings, workshops, and conferences on topics including cardiovascular disease and stroke, alcohol-related suicide, and genomics and precision health.
  • The ODP helps strengthen prevention components of NIH Institutes and Centers by providing comments on strategic plans and helping develop and refine FOAs. In 2017, the ODP offered recommendations to the Office of Research on Women's Health and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities for their strategic plans, as well as to the NIH-wide Nutrition Research Task Force.

Strategic Priority V

Identify and promote the use of evidence-based interventions and promote the conduct of implementation and dissemination research in prevention.


  • Objective V.1: Identify evidence-based interventions for disease prevention and present them in an organized structure.
  • Objective V.2: Enhance partnerships to promote the dissemination of evidence-based interventions for disease prevention.
  • Objective V.3: Enhance partnerships to promote research on dissemination and implementation of evidence-based interventions in prevention.

Spotlight on Progress


To help bridge the gap between research and practice, the ODP recently developed a collection of resources for dissemination and implementation (D&I) researchers. This section includes:

The ODP has and continues to develop partnerships that improve the understanding of the D&I landscape at the NIH and in the extramural community. In 2017, the ODP participated in three funding opportunity announcements for D&I research with 17 other NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices. The ODP also supported and reviewed applicant abstracts for the Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health , and assisted in planning, reviewing abstract submissions, and co-funding the 2017 Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health .

Strategic Priority VI

Increase the visibility of prevention research at the NIH and across the country.


  • Objective VI.1: Increase the availability of information about prevention research through the use of traditional and digital communication tools.
  • Objective VI.2: Increase communications and collaborations with stakeholders to coordinate communications about disease prevention.
  • Objective VI.3: Support Strategic Priorities I–V via the ODP website and other communication tools.

Spotlight on Progress

  • To promote prevention research and improved research methods, the ODP maintains a list of NIH prevention-related funding opportunity announcements. Since January 2017, the ODP has added more than 220 active prevention-related grants to the ODP website.
  • In March 2017, the ODP launched a new website for the latest Pathways to Prevention (P2P) Workshop: Methods for Evaluating Natural Experiments in Obesity, putting everything attendees need in one place. This year, the ODP is also hosting the first-ever P2P poster session and is conducting targeted outreach and promotion efforts to increase participation in this new opportunity.
  • The ODP developed a comprehensive promotion plan for its inaugural Early-Stage Investigator Award in May, including an NIH Record article, promotional materials, social media posts, and targeted emails to researchers and other relevant organizations. The ODP recorded the research presentations the awardees gave at the NIH and made the videos available for viewing on the ODP website.
  • The ODP recently developed an extensive collection of resources, references, and interactive tools for investigators conducting prevention-related dissemination and implementation (D&I) research, and is encouraging stakeholders to spread the word about these D&I resources [link to spread the word].
  • To learn more about the Office’s upcoming programs and events, join the ODP mailing list . You can also follow the ODP on Twitter at @NIHprevents  and subscribe to the ODP YouTube  channel.