The mission of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is to conduct and support medical research and research training and to disseminate science-based information on diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutritional disorders, and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases, to improve people’s health and quality of life.
Message from Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P., Director, NIDDK
As the NIDDK's Director, I want to underscore the Institute's commitment to vigorous, multi-pronged research efforts. In particular, I want to respond to two questions I have been asked in recent meetings with NIDDK constituency groups: How will NIDDK research move forward now and in the future? How will the Institute meet the challenges of the current budget landscape?
Clearly, at all levels of the NIDDK organization, we will continue to pursue the most compelling research to combat the many debilitating and costly chronic diseases within our mission: diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases, liver and other digestive diseases, nutritional disorders, obesity, kidney and urologic diseases, and hematologic diseases. Moreover, we will remain firmly committed to basic, translational, and clinical research; research training and career development; and the dissemination of health information to improve the lives of patients, their families, and those at risk for these diseases.
Together, we in NIDDK will build upon the emerging opportunities that are the fruits of past research investments. Through careful planning and analysis, we will meet the challenge of deploying our precious budgetary resources in the most effective and efficient ways to sustain research momentum and fully capitalize on research achievements. In moving research forward, several overarching principles will guide my leadership and that of the NIDDK extramural division directors.
Maintain a Vigorous Investigator-Initiated Research Portfolio: The innovativeness and problem-solving of individual investigators are crucial for research progress. Therefore, the NIDDK will maintain funding of investigator-initiated grants at the highest possible level. We will also maximize our investments by supporting cross-cutting science that is broadly applicable to many disease-specific research issues. Examples include identification of biomarkers that can aid in the diagnosis of disease and in the assessment of new treatments in clinical trials; the development of cell-based therapeutic approaches for repairing damaged tissues; and the use of cutting-edge research methods--such as high throughput analysis--for identification of new candidate drugs.
Support Pivotal Clinical Studies and Trials: Clinical studies will continue to be an integral component of research on the broad spectrum of diseases for which NIDDK has research responsibility. Because many of these diseases disproportionately affect minority populations, we will continue to seek insights and answers to health disparities. For example, we will continue to ensure substantial minority participation in clinical trials relevant to these diseases. We are also maximizing our investments by expanding the investigative community's access to very valuable research resources accrued in our major clinical trials. We are doing this by funding ancillary studies to these trials and by supporting a central repository for biologic materials from clinical trials.
Preserve a Stable Pool of Talented New Investigators: The ideas and fresh perspectives of new investigators invigorate the research community. Thus, we will strive to ensure that new investigators can realize their potential for contributing to biomedical research, and that today's generation of young scientists will view research as a viable career. We will foster mentorship of new investigators, and promote special consideration for funding of talented new investigators.
Foster Exceptional Research Training and Mentoring Opportunities: Maintaining an NIDDK-focused pipeline of outstanding investigators is critically important to our research progress. We will continue to support significant opportunities at the graduate-student and postdoctoral levels, as well as through research career development awards, and undergraduate research educational opportunities. To ensure that we are deploying our research training resources most productively, we are analyzing data to determine the most effective aspects of training programs so that we can share them with our entire community.
Ensure Knowledge Dissemination Through Outreach and Communications: We are continuing efforts to ensure that the science-based knowledge gained from NIDDK-funded research is imparted to health care providers and the public for the direct benefit of patients and their families. Examples include the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP), the Weight-control Information Network (WIN), and new programs to promote celiac disease awareness and the prevention of obesity and overweight in children.
Importantly, as we plan for the future, we will continue to seek and value external advice from investigators, professional scientific organizations, patient advocates and the public. Key sources of input will continue to be our National Advisory Council, Interagency Coordinating Committees, strategic planning processes, ad hoc planning groups, and scientific conferences and workshops. This input will provide a useful scientific guidepost as we make resource allocation decisions. Active collaboration with other components of the NIH and other federal agencies will also remain a cornerstone of NIDDK planning efforts. Ever-increasing knowledge and the advent of new technologies bring new scientific opportunities for alleviating and conquering the many chronic diseases within the NIDDK's mission. Our continuing goal will be to seize and maximize these opportunities to reduce the burden of disease and improve the public health. To this end, I look forward to working with the NIDDK's many stakeholders now and in the future.