When I came to the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) in October 2012, I was excited at the prospect of leading a new strategic planning effort, developing new programs, strengthening partnerships within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and with other federal agencies, and expanding our dissemination efforts. I am pleased to report our progress to date, with much more to come in the future.
A major project for ODP staff has been the development of our first strategic plan. This plan will guide the work of the Office for the next 5 years, from 2014 to 2018. We have gathered input from interested parties across the NIH, other federal agencies, academia, the nonprofit community, and the public. We expect to post a draft of the full plan for public comment in October.
As the strategic plan develops, we are busy with our existing programs and developing several new ones. The largest new program is the Tobacco Regulatory Science Program (TRSP). The TRSP coordinates the trans-NIH effort with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products to conduct research to support the FDA’s regulatory authority over tobacco products. The TRSP was created after the passage of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act, which gave the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products. These are new dollars for tobacco research, focused on regulatory science, and complementary to the existing tobacco research at the NIH. The TRSP has been very busy this summer, releasing new Request for Applications (RFAs) for both career development awards and research grant awards. For more information about the TRSP and the RFAs, please see the TRSP Funding Opportunities page.
Another new initiative is a review of the Office’s working definition of prevention research. In collaboration with the NIH Prevention Research Coordinating Committee, the ODP is revising the current definition to more clearly focus on primary and secondary prevention. This revised definition will guide future work to develop more effective tools for analysis of the NIH prevention research portfolio.
The Office is also working to strengthen the connection between research supported by the NIH and the work of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The USPSTF has become increasingly important in American healthcare with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The ODP is the NIH liaison to the USPSTF and will be working with NIH Institutes and Centers to ensure that timely input and feedback are provided to inform the development of the Task Force’s evidence reports and recommendations.
Many of the existing programs in the Office continue to support and promote prevention research at the NIH. This year, we co-funded 26 projects at a variety of NIH Institutes and Centers as well as other federal partners, including the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We have planned many lectures for the year, including the 2014 Robert S. Gordon, Jr. Lecture in Epidemiology on September 25 and several Medicine: Mind the Gap seminars, which cover topics from smoking cessation to experimental design.
One of the most important developments at the ODP has been the focus on dissemination efforts and the complete update to our website, implemented over the last year. The website will continue to develop rapidly over the summer and fall of 2013, in part driven by our strategic planning process. To learn more about ongoing prevention research at the NIH and the latest news in prevention research across the federal government, visit the Research Highlights and In the News pages, respectively.
David M. Murray, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Prevention
Director of the Office of Disease Prevention