Identifying research gaps can lead to new research that ultimately improves the public health. With Strategic Priority II, the ODP identifies prevention research areas for investment or further expansion by the NIH.
Strategic Priority II in our Strategic Plan addresses this goal through several ongoing activities, including the 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 evidence reviews of health care 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. The ODP helps close these research gaps by identifying them and by promoting activities that address our nation’s prevention research needs.
Our partnership with the HHS 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. The recently published Midcourse Review for Healthy People 2020 details the progress that has been made toward meeting many Healthy People 2020 goals and objectives. The ODP represents the NIH on the Healthy People Federal Interagency Workgroup, the principal advisory body for the overall development and implementation of the initiative. The ODP also contributes to the development of Healthy People 2030 by participating in meetings of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030.
We also address gaps in research by hosting a workshop 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.
The most recent P2P workshop was Advancing Research to Prevent Youth Suicide, which was held in March 2016. On December 5–6, 2017, we will convene the P2P Workshop: Methods for Evaluating Natural Experiments in Obesity. The ODP follows each workshop with a Federal Partners meeting to review panel recommendations, identify actionable items, and explore possible opportunities for collaboration to close research gaps. Past P2P workshops and their subsequent final reports can be found on the ODP website.
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