|The NIH Public Trust Initiative Launches
the "Partners in Research" Program
The Public Trust Initiative (PTI), an initiative of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), announces the release of a new Request
for Applications (RFA) for the Partners in Research program. The
purpose of this program is to support studies of innovative programs
designed to improve public understanding of health care research
and promote collaboration between scientists and community organizations.
In turn, these studies should help in the development of strategies
to increase the public awareness and trust in both the role of
NIH and the importance of new directions of research for advancing
the public health.
The NIH Partners in Research program is intended to engage the
energy of a diverse group of scientists, community leaders, members
of the public, and patient advocacy groups. It will seek to develop
partnerships between scientific or research institutions and community
organizations, and evaluate a variety of approaches in a range
of target audiences or communities. The goals of the program are
- identify and implement new ways to increase science literacy;
- communicate the research needs and interests of communities;
- encourage understanding of biomedical and behavioral research
by partnering with community-sanctioned organizations, such as
voluntary and professional organizations, health groups, faith-based
groups, and housing organizations.
"Recent advances in health care research have enhanced our
capability to promote health by focusing on disease prevention
and personalized medicine," according to NIH Director Dr.
Elias Zerhouni. "This has allowed medicine and health care
research to shift from a curative to a more preemptive role, an
important goal to improve public health. However, realization of
this goal requires a fuller public understanding of research and
greater engagement of communities. The Partners in Research program
is one step in the NIH effort to build public trust and to move
toward this goal."
"This program is designed to address the practical questions
surrounding the development of true partnerships between researchers
and the public, said Dr. Patricia A. Grady, Director of the National
Institute of Nursing Research and a co-chair of the PTI. "Though
other activities in this arena emphasize partnerships in clinical
research, this program extends the challenge to all types of research
supported by the NIH, including the basic biological, medical,
and behavioral research that informs clinical questions, clinical
research, and, ultimately, clinical practice."
Added Dr. Yvonne Maddox, Deputy Director of the National Institute
of Child Health & Human Development and co-chair of the PTI, "The
public has participated in NIH-supported studies at medical centers
around the country for many years, and their participation has
led to major medical advances that benefit all people. And now
through this Public Trust Initiative, community organizations will
become full partners with researchers, participating in research
that will address the health needs of their communities. These
organizations will also play a key role in communicating health-related
findings back to their communities."
Along with the immediate goals listed above, the long-term objectives
of this program are to: (1) raise the level of public awareness
and understanding of biomedical and behavioral research related
to health, the role of the NIH, the role the public can play in
the research enterprise, and the value of public funding; (2) increase
scientists' awareness of the importance of public engagement; and
(3) develop a range of techniques for researchers and communities
to implement to facilitate the participation of lay communities
in the health research endeavor.
"The research that NIH conducts on our campus and supports
at institutions across the nation represents a large and significant
investment of the American taxpayer," said Dr. Zerhouni. "At
NIH, we take this responsibility to heart. Helping people to understand
the mission of NIH and how research plays a role in improving their
everyday lives will advance the public health across all walks
The NIH Partners in Research RFA is available on the NIH Guide
The mission of NIH's Public Trust Initiative is to enable the
public to understand and have full confidence in the research that
NIH conducts and supports nationally and internationally (see http://publictrust.nih.gov).
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.