June 27, 2006 at 05:00 AM EDT
NIH Director Cites Roadmap for Future at ENDO 2006, Annual Meeting of The Endocrine Society

BOSTON, June 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Dr. Elias Zerhouni, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spoke at ENDO 2006 the Annual Meeting of The Endocrine Society to address "the perfect storm" impacting researchers throughout the country. This storm is marked by a large increase in demand for research funding coupled with NIH's decline in available funds.

The NIH budget, Dr. Zerhouni noted, doubled from 1998 to 2003, rising from $13.7 billion to $27.1 billion. The fiscal 2006 allocation is $28.6 billion. However, grant awards have declined due to a lack of continued growth in the NIH budget and the fact that much of its funding is tied to existing grants and programs and the level of uncommitted funds has not grown.

Speaking to about 900 people at the Society's Annual Meeting, Dr. Zerhouni, said the increase in demand was legitimate: "The scope of the complexity in science today is such that it requires us to have more scientists than we did before. And, he added, "My main concern as the director of the National Institutes of Health is that we do not lose the next generation of young scientists."

To combat the NIH's inability to grant all research requests, Dr. Zerhouni called on the private sector to work with the NIH in close partnership to accomplish the medical community's research needs.

    His plan is for the NIH to adhere to four principles:
    1. Protect its core values of discovery and generation of core knowledge
    2. Protect the future
    3. Focus on the key issue (supply/demand balance in research requests and
       funding)
    4. Proactive communications about the value of the NIH investment in
       issues such as cardiovascular disease,

Dr. Zerhouni explained that medicine must convert from a curative paradigm to a preventive paradigm and he outlined what he called the "four P's" of medicine that compose NIH's vision for the future: Predictive, Personalized, Preemptive and participatory.

"Our vision is to transfer medicine and health through discovery ... because if we do not, our society will suffer," Dr. Zerhouni said.

Recognizing the need to continue supporting the endocrine research community -- particularly during these challenging funding climates -- the Society developed a half million dollar Bridge Grant Program. The program will offer up to 10 researchers a one year grant designed to enable the continuation of meritorious research while full support is being sought from outside agencies.

Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest, and most active organization devoted to research on hormones, and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society's membership consists of over 12,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 80 countries. Together, these members represent all basic, applied, and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society, and the field of endocrinology, visit our web site at http://www.endo-society.org.

Source: The Endocrine Society

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