Underpinning the four cornerstones of the strategic plan are crosscutting needs to address health disparities, to develop new technologies, to foster application of findings, to train investigators, and to reach out to the Institute's stakeholders.
One of the central features of contemporary society is its increasing diversity. However, not all of our citizens benefit equally from the tremendous progress the Nation has made in understanding, treating, and preventing infectious and immunologic diseases. More knowledge is needed to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease with equal facility, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic status, and geography. In every facet of its research portfolio, NIAID is concerned about how biomedical research can mitigate differences in susceptibility to infectious and immunologic diseases and in response to drugs and vaccines, as well as how it can reduce cost and improve ease of administration. To address these important issues, NIAID has developed a separate strategic plan on health disparities. Currently, the health disparities strategic plan targets disparities in the health status of minority Americans. Eventually, the plan will expand to address disparities for other groups.
Many of the goals in this draft plan are based on new insights and approaches made possible by DNA sequence information and the capability to manipulate that information with complex computational systems. By revolutionizing approaches to pathogenesis, microbial physiology, and epidemiology of infectious diseases, and by radically advancing the understanding of immune activation and regulation, genomic research will markedly accelerate the development of new diagnostic, treatment, and prevention strategies. Other technologies, including computer-assisted means to visualize molecules, have had a profound impact on immunology and infectious disease research as well.
The path from basic research to health care is a long one, involving many steps and considerable interactions with other organizations. To ensure that the benefits of basic research are realized, NIAID initiates research-planning activities, supports and conducts applied research, and undertakes various technology transfer efforts.
Intellectual talent propels the research enterprise and must be sustained, not only to replace retiring investigators, but also to reflect the changing needs of science. In addition, NIAID is committed to helping improve the representation of minorities in research.
The full benefit of NIAID research can be realized only when new knowledge is disseminated, not only to other scientists, but also to health care providers and the public. Also, the interests and concerns of the public and other stakeholders must be integrated into the research planning process. NIAID is committed to executing a strong public liaison function in both respects.
back to top
Last Updated January 29, 2002