NIH 1999 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 14Ç0916.
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 Institutes 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 institutes 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 Childrens Diagnostic and Study Branch. The
reorganization also brought the NICHD administrative structure into line with that of the
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 Governments 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
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
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 institutes 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 countrys first research
centers to combine the biomedical and behavioral sciences to focus specifically on
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.
November 16, 1990--Congress established the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) to conduct and support programs for the rehabilitation, health, and well-being of individuals with physical disabilities.
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.
1994--NICHD launched the Back to Sleep Campaign, an education campaign to teach parents and caregivers the importance of putting babies on their backs to sleep to help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
January 1, 1994--In response to the need for appropriate drug therapy for pediatric patients, the NICHD established the Pediatric Pharmacology Research Units (PPRU) Network. The mission is to facilitate and promote pediatric labeling of new drugs or drugs already on the market to help lead to the safe and effective use of drugs in children.
September 1996--Two NICHD scientists, Drs. John Robbins and Rachel Schneerson, received the 1996 Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award for the landmark development of a polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccine for Hemophilus
influenzae type b (Hib).
1997--NICHD launched the Milk Matters Calcium Education campaign designed to educate children, teens, parents, and health professionals about the importance of getting enough calcium during the childhood and teenage years to help prevent osteoporosis and fragile bones in adulthood.
October 1998--To help advance research in women's reproductive health, 12 centers were established to support early research careers in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. The centers provide universities and hospitals with the opportunity to build national programs for developing new investigators in women's health research.