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NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NICHD/      

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development : Important Events in NICHD History


January 12, 1961--The report of the Task Force on Health and Social Security called for establishing, by administrative action of the Surgeon General, a National Institute of Child Health within the NIH.

January 30, 1961--The DHEW general counsel declared that existing legislation (enacted in 1950) limited the creation of new institutes to those focusing on a disease or group of diseases, and that new legislation would be required to establish the institute called for in the task force report.

February 17, 1961--A Center for Research in Child Health was established by the Surgeon General in the Division of General Medical Sciences.

October 17, 1962--Public Law 87-838 authorized establishment of the NICHD.

January 30, 1963--Secretary of HEW Anthony J. Celebrezze approved establishment of the NICHD, with provision that the Center for Research in Child Health and the Center for Research in Aging (established in 1956) be transferred from the Division of General Medical Sciences to the new institute.

May 14, 1963--Members of the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council were appointed by the Surgeon General.

November 14, 1963--The first meeting of the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council was held November 140916.

December 2, 1965--A major NICHD reorganization, approved by the Surgeon General, gave emphasis to four program areas: reproduction, growth and development, aging, and mental retardation. At the same time, significant additions were made to the intramural program with the transfer to the NICHD of the National Heart Institute’s Gerontology Branch in Baltimore and the major part of the National Cancer Institute"s Endocrinology Branch located in the Clinical Center.

April 18, 1967--A second reorganization of the NICHD approved by the Surgeon General acknowledged the institute’s intramural research programs by separating responsibility for intramural and extramural research and creating seven intramural laboratories: Gerontology Research Center (Baltimore) Developmental Biology Branch Social and Behavioral Sciences Branch Reproduction Research Branch Laboratory of Biomedical Sciences Behavioral Biology Branch and Children’s Diagnostic and Study Branch. The reorganization also brought the NICHD administrative structure into line with that of the other institutes.

June 15, 1968--The $7.5 million, four-story Gerontology Research Center building located at and operated in cooperation with the Baltimore City Hospitals, Baltimore, Md., was officially opened.

August 9, 1968--The Center for Population Research was established by the DHEW secretary within the NICHD. The center is responsible for a contract and grant program in population and reproduction research and has been designated by the President as the Federal agency primarily responsible for population research and training.

May 27, 1975--The Center for Research for Mothers and Children was established. It is the Federal Government’s focal point for research and research training on the special health problems of mothers and children, with responsibility for increasing knowledge about pregnancy, infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood, and for administering grant and contract programs related to these areas.

June 30, 1975--The Adult Development and Aging Branch and the Gerontology Research Center, with their programs for support and conduct of research in the field of aging, were transferred from the NICHD to the new National Institute on Aging.

July 1, 1975--Congress endorsed the major research programs of the Center for Research for Mothers and Children, a mechanism initiated by Dr. Kretchmer to promote and support research in perinatal medicine in areas not sufficiently addressed. Such areas include maternal diabetes, premature labor, low birth weight infants, and developmental conditions contributing to sudden infant death syndrome.

September 20, 1982--NICHD celebrated its 20th anniversary at the 58th meeting of the National Child Health Advisory Council. Dr. Aldrich, the first NICHD director, was a featured speaker.

Four former patients and their families who have benefitted from medical advances resulting from NICHD-supported research also attended. Their case histories illustrated two decades of research progress in: prevention of mental retardation by early identification of certain metabolic disorders through routine screening of newborns; diagnosis and treatment of male infertility; diagnosis, treatment and reversal of precocious puberty; and management of multiple medical problems of infants born prematurely or of low birth weight.

1985--NICHD formed research networks of Neonatal Intensive Care Unites and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units. The centers, which perform large clinical trials, provide NICHD with a faster, more effective system of evaluating neonatal intensive care and maternal-fetal treatments.

September 21, 1987--NICHD celebrated its 25th anniversary at the 73rd meeting of the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council meeting. Dr. Alexander presented the institute’s past directors--Drs. Aldrich, Harting, LaVeck and Kretchmer--who spoke about research high-lights and anecdotes of their tenure at NICHD.

Dr. Robert E. Cooke, who was the prime mover behind the creation of NICHD, reflected on the "Conceptualization, Gestation, and Birth of a New Institute." Dr. Alexander presented plaques of appreciation to three of NICHD's long-term grantees: Nobelist Dr. Stanley Cohen, a biochemist at Vanderbilt University; Dr. Maria New of Cornell University Medical Center, a pioneer researcher in congenital adrenal hyperplasia; and Dr. John Money of Johns Hopkins University, a specialist in psychosexual development.

December 1989--NICHD announced establishment of the country’s first research centers to combine the biomedical and behavioral sciences to focus specifically on learning disabilities.

September 1990--The institute began a congressionally initiated national program of Child Health Research Centers. Their goal is to expedite the application of findings from basic research to the care of sick children.

September 1991--NICHD funded four new centers, two to foster the development of new contraceptive technology and two to develop improved treatments for infertility.

September 1992--The National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research funded its first research grants. These were in the areas of improving mobility, the study and enhancement of reproductive function of persons with physical disabilities, and the development of technological devices to improve the quality of the lives of people with disabilities. These grants join the portfolio of research training grants previously funded by the center.


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