Begun as a one-room Laboratory of Hygiene in 1887, the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) today is one of the world's foremost medical
research centers. An agency of the Department of Health and Human Services,
the NIH is the Federal focal point for health research.
NIH is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the
Nation. Its mission is science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about
the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that
knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and
disability. The goals of the agency are as follows: 1) foster fundamental
creative discoveries, innovative research strategies, and their applications
as a basis to advance significantly the Nation's capacity to protect and
improve health; 2) develop, maintain, and renew scientific human and physical
resources that will assure the Nation's capability to prevent disease;
3) expand the knowledge base in medical and associated sciences in order
to enhance the Nation's economic well-being and ensure a continued high
return on the public investment in research; and 4) exemplify and promote
the highest level of scientific integrity, public accountability, and
social responsibility in the conduct of science.
In realizing these goals, the NIH provides leadership and direction
to programs designed to improve the health of the Nation by conducting
and supporting research: in the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and cure
of human diseases; in the processes of human growth and development; in
the biological effects of environmental contaminants; in the understanding
of mental, addictive and physical disorders; in directing programs for
the collection, dissemination, and exchange of information in medicine
and health, including the development and support of medical libraries
and the training of medical librarians and other health information specialists.
NOTE: The 2003 Almanac
is now available on CDROM. E-mail the Online
Information Branch at to request a copy.