Identifying research gaps can lead to increased efforts and new research that ultimately improve public health. To achieve this aim, the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) is identifying prevention research areas for investment or expanded effort by the NIH.
Strategic Priority II in our Strategic Plan addresses this goal through several ongoing activities, including ODP’s partnership with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF). The USPSTF and CPSTF conduct systematic reviews of healthcare services in clinical and community settings, respectively. Often, these reviews do not yield sufficient evidence to make a recommendation for or against a preventive service. We help close these research gaps by identifying, promoting, and supporting activities that address our nation’s prevention research needs.
Our partnership with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) is another important collaboration. Together we support national health initiatives, including Healthy People 2020, a 10-year plan to improve the health of all Americans. We provide advice on numerous Healthy People activities to ensure that NIH input is provided, and we serve on the Healthy People Federal Interagency Workgroup, the principal advisory body for the overall development and implementation of the initiative.
We also address gaps in research by hosting a program called Pathways to Prevention (P2P). The purpose of this program is to identify prevention research gaps and develop recommendations to move fields of research forward through reports written by independent panels.
In 2014, we hosted two P2P workshops: The Role of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain and Advancing the Research on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As follow-ups to these workshops, the NIH will convene federal partners meetings to review panel recommendations, identify actionable items, and explore possible opportunities for collaboration to close research gaps.
All of these partnerships and programs are key objectives in our Strategic Plan and priorities for our office. They also facilitate the larger goal of improving health and wellness by focusing on prevention.
David M. Murray, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Prevention
Director of the Office of Disease Prevention