Institutes and Research Divisions
National Institute of Nursing Research


The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) supports basic and clinical research to establish a scientific basis for the care of individuals across the life span—from management of patients during illness and recovery to the reduction of risks for disease and disability and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. According to its broad mandate, the NINR implements programs of research to understand and ease the symptoms of acute and chronic illness, to prevent or delay the onset of disease or slow its progression, to find effective approaches to achieving and sustaining good health, and to improve the clinical settings in which care is provided. This research extends to problems encountered by patients’ families and caregivers. It also emphasizes the special needs of at-risk and underserved populations. These efforts are crucial in translating scientific advances into cost-effective health care that does not compromise quality.

NINR programs are conducted primarily through grants to investigators across the country. The NINR intramural program will be revitalized in 1997, with an initial focus on the factors that contribute to wound healing.

NINR fosters collaborations with many other disciplines in areas of mutual interest such as long-term care for older people, the special needs of women across the life span, bioethical issues associated with genetic testing and counseling, biobehavioral aspects of the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, and the impact of environmental influences on risk factors for chronic illnesses.


Important Events in NINR History

November 10, 1985--P.L. 99-158, the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 became law, overriding a presidential veto. Among other provisions, the law authorized the National Center for Nursing Research at NIH.

April 18, 1986--Health and Human Services Secretary Otis R. Bowen, M.D., announced the establishment of NCNR at NIH.

December 3, 1986--Members of the NCNR Advisory Council were appointed by the HHS secretary.

February 17, 1987--The first meeting of the NCNR Advisory Council was held.

May 30, 1988--NCNR Advisory Council was renamed the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research.

June 10, 1993--P.L. 103-43, the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993, became law. Among other provision, it changed the center to an NIH institute.

June 14, 1993--DHHS Secretary Donna Shalala signed the Federal Register notice establishing the National Institute of Nursing Research.


NINR Legislative Chronology

November 10, 1985--P.L. 99-158, the Health and Research Extension Act of 1985 became law. Its provision included the establishment of NCNR to support research and research training related to patient care.

1986--A series of continuing resolutions (P.L. 99-500, P.L. 99-599) established NCNR as a separate NIH appropriation.

June 10, 1993--NCNR was redesignated as an NIH institute under a provision in P.L. 103-43, the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993.

Director's of NINR

NameDate of Birth Dates of Office
Doris H. Merritt (Actg)192319511959
Ada Sue Hinshaw193919591968
Suzanne S. Hurd (Actg).........................Sept. 1, 19681973
Patricia A. Grady.........................May 31, 1974Feb. 1, 1981

Biographical Sketch of NINR Director

Patricia A. Grady, Ph.D., R.N.

Dr. Grady became the institute’s second director on April 3, 1995. She earned her undergraduate degreee in nursing from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She continued her graduate education at the University of Maryland receiving a master’s degree in nursing from the School of Nursing and a doctorate in physiology from the School of Medicine. She held several academic positions and served concurrently on the faculties of the University of Maryland Schools of Nursing and Medicine.

An internationally recognized stroke researcher, her scientific focus has primarily been in stroke, with emphasis on arterial stenosis and cerebral ischemia. She has authored or coauthored numerous articles and papers on hypertension, cerebrovascular permeability, vascular stress, and cerebral edema. She is a member of the editorial board of Stroke, and has served as a reviewer for the journal, Science.

In 1988, Dr. Grady joined NINDS as an extramural research program administrator in the areas of stroke and brain imaging. Two years later, she served on the NIH Task Force for Medical Rehabilitation Research, which established the first long-range agenda for the field of medical rehabilitation research. In 1992, she assumed the responsibilities of NINDS assistant director. From 1993 to 1995, she was deputy director and acting director of NINDS. Recently Dr. Grady was appointed to the Clinical Center Board of Governors.

Dr. Grady is a member of several scientific organizations, including the Society for Neuroscience, the American Academy of Neurology, and the American Neurological Association. She is also a fellow of the American Heart Association Stroke Council.

She has been recognized with several prestigious honors and awards for her leadership and scientific accomplishments. She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 1996. That same year she received the honorary degree of doctor of public service from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Grady also presented the first Rozella M. Schlotfeld distinguished lecture in 1996 at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. The Council on Cardiovascular Nurses of the American Heart Association selected her their 1995 Excellence in Nursing Lecturer. In 1995 she received a PHS Superior Service Award for her exceptional leadership as NINDS acting director.


Major Programs Extramural Research Programs

The NINR extramural program invites investigator-initiated applications containing innovative ideas and sound methodology in all aspects of nursing research consistent with the institute mission. A program priority is the integration of biological and behavioral research. Three dimensions--promoting health and preventing disease, managing the symptoms and disability of illness, and improving the environments in which care is delivered--cut across the following six areas.


Research Training and Career Development

This activity assures that there will be an adequate pool of well-trained nurse scientists to meet future research needs. This is accomplished through national research service awards for pre- and postdoctoral individual and institutional support, as well as senior fellowships for experienced investigators.

For career development, NINR offers a “Mentored Research Scientist Development Award--Nursing,” which is available to doctorally prepared students who need a mentored research experience with an expert sponsor to gain expertise in an area new to the candidate or to demonstrably enhance the candidate’s scientific career.


Intramural Division

As noted above, the NINR intramural program will be revitalized in 1997, with an initial focus on factors that contribute to wound healing.