Frequently Asked Questions

Can't find an answer to your question? Contact us via our Ask NIH online form.

Health Information

Health conditions — Where can I find information about a specific disease?

The NIH Health Information page provides access to Institute and Center resources based on scientific investigation.

Health information on the Internet — Can NIH offer any advice when searching for health information on the Internet?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has no official role in policing the quality of health information found on the Internet. Nevertheless, we can offer some advice.

  • Web information should not be used as an alternative to seeking professional medical help. Don't use the information you find to make a self-diagnosis.
  • Don't use information found on the Web for self-treatment, especially in cases of serious illness.
  • Use the information you find to become an informed patient. Discuss what you have learned with your medical care providers.
  • When reviewing information you have uncovered, look for dates — how old is the information?
  • Be a critical consumer, ask questions: Has this document been updated? Is there a point-of-contact for the information? Are there any references? Has the information been peer reviewed (critically examined by credentialed professionals)?
  • Remember that the distinction between a paid ad and public service announcements may not be obvious on the Web.
  • Federal, State and even local government often provide health information. Look at the domain name of the site you have found — sites ending in GOV and ORG generally reflect Federal or State sources or non profit organizations.
  • Be particularly cautious when you see claims that a product: cures a wide range of ills, promises a quick fix, or seems too good to be true.

Health and Science Information from NIH — How does NIH tell the public about the science and health information its research uncovers?

As a public agency, NIH is committed to ensuring that accurate information reaches the diverse American public. How NIH Brings Health and Science to the Public explains how NIH communicates science and health information to patients, families, scientists, industry, teachers and students, health professionals, and the press.

Medical advice — Does the NIH provide advice about specific medical conditions?

The NIH Web site does not offer personalized medical advice to individuals about their condition or treatment. The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care and we urge you to work with your medical care providers for answers to your personal health questions.

If you have a medical question, please visit the Health Information on the NIH Web site. You should also visit MEDLINEplus.

If you have questions that relate to specific foods, or prescription, or over-the-counter drugs, you should visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web site.

Medical treatment — Can I receive medical treatment at the NIH?

NIH is a medical research organization. As such, we only enroll patients who are participating in one of our clinical studies. These trials span a wide range of diseases and conditions. For information about clinical trials.

Doctor referrals — Can the NIH recommend medical specialists or hospitals in my area?

No. However, please visit Healthfinder for information on choosing quality care.

Drug information — Where can I go to learn about prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and narcotics?

NIH's National Library of Medicine provides a guide to over 9,000 prescription and over-the-counter medications on its MEDLINEplus Web site. For the latest information on drug approvals and safety warnings, consult the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web site. For information about drug abuse and addiction, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Clinical trials — Where can I go for information about clinical trials?

You can visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You to learn about clinical trial basics, read volunteer and researcher stories, find ways to connect with clinical trials, and locate other educational resources for the public and health care providers.

Alternative Medicine — Where can I find information about alternative medicine?

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines (NCCAM). NCCAM conducts and supports basic and applied research and training and disseminates information on complementary and alternative medicine to practitioners and the public.

The mission of National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health interventions and their roles in improving health and health care.

Healthy volunteers — Can I volunteer for NIH research studies even if I'm healthy?

The NIH Clinical Center provides an opportunity for healthy volunteers to participate in medical research studies (sometimes called protocols or trials). Healthy volunteers provide researchers with important information for comparison with people who have specific illnesses. Every year, nearly 3,500 healthy volunteers participate in studies at NIH. Visit the Clinical Research Volunteer Program to learn about the benefits of volunteering.

Health Statistics — Does NIH provide statistical information on health and disease topics?

Some NIH Institutes have established special on-line areas to provide statistical information. Visit the following links for information on: cancer, complementary and alternative medicine, deafness and communication disorders, dental health, diabetes, digestive diseases, kidney and urologic diseases, obesity, drug abuse, eye disease, and mental health.

Statistics Information from CDC:

Data Tools and Statistics — provided by the National Library of Medicine

Bioterrorism — Where can I go for information about biological agents & other threats and NIH's Biodefense efforts?

You can find information about NIH's bio-defense efforts at the NIAID Biodefense. For general information about emergency preparedness, we recommend, which is operated by our partner agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Grants and Funding

Grants — Where can I find grant information?

Information regarding funding opportunities from NIH may be found on the Grants Page.This page provides information about NIH grant and fellowship programs, policy changes, administrative responsibilities of awardees. Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools provided access to reports, data, and analyses of NIH research activities.

Research Training — Where can I go for information about research training opportunities at NIH and other research institutions?

Visit our Research Training Opportunities page. This site brings together information about the intramural and extramural training opportunities offered by all of NIH's Institutes and Centers.

Loan Repayment — Where can I find information about the NIH Clinical, Pediatric, Health Disparities, and Contraception and Infertility Loan Repayment Programs?

NIH LRPs are a vital component of our nation's efforts to attract health professionals to careers in clinical, pediatric, health disparity, or contraceptive and infertility research. Visit for all the details and to complete an online application for NIH Loan Repayment benefits.

Research Funding — How can I find out how much NIH spends on a particular disease, condition or research area?

Check out NIH's estimates of funding for various research, condition and disease categories.

Research Categories — How does NIH sort its funding projects into different research, condition and disease categories?

You can read about NIH's research, condition and disease categorization process.

News and Events

Research highlights — Where can I find information about the latest research highlights coming out of NIH?

You can read about the latest research advances on the News and Events page. A list of selected research highlights from the previous year is available. A historical list of these research highlights is available from the Office of History.

Event schedules — Where can I find information about NIH-sponsored conferences and events?

The NIH Calendar of Events lists NIH-sponsored meetings and other meetings of interest to both employees and the general public. It is updated daily and the listed meetings are free and open to the public.

Scientific Resources

NIH Image software — Where can I find information about the NIH Image software package?

NIH Image is a public domain image processing and analysis program for the Macintosh. It was developed at the Research Services Branch (RSB) of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Research standards — Who is responsible for the assurance of proper conduct of research?

The HHS Office of Research Integrity (ORI) promotes integrity in biomedical and behavioral research supported by the U. S. Public Health Service (PHS) at about 4,000 institutions worldwide. ORI monitors institutional investigations of research misconduct and facilitates the responsible conduct of research through educational, preventive, and regulatory activities.

Stem cells — Where can I locate information about stem cell research?

Visit the NIH Stem Cell information page.

About NIH

Mission — What is the National Institutes of Health?

Founded in 1887, the National Institutes of Health today is one of the world's foremost medical research centers, and the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States. The NIH, comprising 27 separate Institutes and Centers, is one of eight health agencies of the Public Health Service which, in turn, is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Simply described, the goal of NIH research is to acquire new knowledge to help prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat disease and disability, from the rarest genetic disorder to the common cold. The NIH mission is to uncover new knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone. NIH works toward that mission by: conducting research in its own laboratories; supporting the research of non-Federal scientists in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country and abroad; helping in the training of research investigators; and fostering communication of medical and health sciences information.

Organization — Where can I find organizational charts for each of the NIH Institutes and Centers?

Follow this link for a list of organizational charts for each NIH Institute or Center.

Location — Where is the NIH located?

The main campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is located in Bethesda, Maryland. Our main mailing address is:

National Institutes of Health
Building 1
1 Center Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

Information about how to get to NIH.

NIH scientists conduct their research in laboratories located on the main campus in Bethesda, and in several field units across the country and abroad. The NIH also has facilities in the Rockville, Maryland area and the NCI Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center (FCRDC) at Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' main facility is located in Research Triangle Park (RTP) in North Carolina.

Other laboratory facilities include the NIH Animal Center in Poolesville, MD; the National Institute on Aging's Gerontology Research Center in Baltimore, MD; the Division of Intramural Research of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, also in Baltimore; the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, MT, and several smaller field stations.

Visitors — Where can I get information about visiting the NIH?

Maps, driving directions and links to popular campus locations are located on our Visitor page. Information about entering campus and its buildings, parking, using campus transportation and current security measures. To find out if NIH is open, see OPM's Washington, D.C. Area Operating Status Web site.

Mailing address — What is the main mailing address of NIH?

Our mailing address is:

National Institutes of Health
Building 1
1 Center Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

Toll-free number — Does NIH have a toll-free telephone number?

Toll-free Health Info lines may be found at /health-information/health-info-lines. The main number for NIH is 301-496-4000.

Staff directory — How can I locate an NIH employee address, phone number, and e-mail address?

The NIH email and phone directory for NIH employees.

NIH Director — How can I contact the Director of the NIH?

Mailing address:
Director, NIH
9000 Rockville Pike
MSC 0148
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

Web site:

NIH budget —  Where can I find information about the NIH budget?

Links to Congressional Testimonies about the NIH budget are available. More information about the NIH budget can be found on the Office of Budget site.

Business opportunities — Where can I find information about conducting business with NIH?

A number of Web pages have been developed to help you do business with NIH. If you are a small business, bookmark the HHS Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization page to take advantage of monthly seminars on "Conducting Business with NIH." Information about contracts and other business opportunities can also be found at the Office of Acquisition Management and Policy.

FOIA requests — How do I submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request?

Information regarding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Information Quality — Where can I find out about quality of information at NIH?

Our Information Quality site contains guidelines, policy and instructions on requesting a correction.

Jobs at NIH

Jobs — Where can I find information about employment opportunities at NIH?

Information about employment opportunities at NIH may be found at

Internships — Where can I find information about summer internships?

Information about the Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research may be found at

NIH Website

Ownership — Who owns and operates the NIH Website?

The NIH Web site at is maintained by the Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL), which is part of the Office of the Director, NIH. Collectively, large segments of NIH Web space are owned and operated by each of the 27 Institutes and Centers that comprise NIH.

Purpose — What's the purpose of the NIH Website and how does it serve the public?

The purpose of the NIH Web site is to support the mission of our agency. NIH conducts scientific investigation in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems. NIH applies that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. As part of our mission we direct 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. The NIH Web site serves the public by offering ready access to:

  • Clinical studies;
  • Health and wellness information;
  • Information on obtaining research funding;
  • Research resources and library resources;
  • News, events, and educational activities related to NIH and its mission;
  • Scientific program, policy, and planning documents;
  • General information about the agency, its history, organizational structure, staff, and facilities.

More Information — Where can I find more information about the NIH Website?

For more information about the NIH Web site, contact the
OD OCPL Digital Communications Branch
Phone: 301-435-2932

Privacy — Does NIH have a privacy notice posted online?

Yes, NIH does have a privacy notice, it can be found at

Updates — How often is the NIH Website updated?

The NIH Web site is not just one site but a large collection of sites — over 150 servers. Some areas are updated daily while others may not be updated for weeks or months.

Copyright — Is the content on our Website copyrighted or free to use?

Most of the information on our site is in the public domain and can be used without charge or restriction.

There are a few exceptions. For example, some resources, such as the Interactive Health Tutorials found on NIH's National Library of Medicine Website, as well as images on the NIH Web site have been licensed by a third party and are restricted in their use. Generally, copyrighted materials will include a copyright statement. If in doubt, please write to the contact point for that site.

In addition, the word mark NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Another item restricted in its use is the NIH logo. The NIH logo is designed to signify official NIH products, activities, events, representatives, and facilities. It should never be used to promote or suggest endorsement of non-NIH products, events, or services. It should never be used by outside parties to misrepresent the purpose, character, policies, or mission of our agency.

Also, some materials that can be ordered from our site are subject to cost-recovery fee; however, in most cases, a single copy of any NIH publication can be ordered for free.

While you can reuse content found on our site, please note that many of our on-line health publications are continually updated as we learn more about that specific disease or condition. Occasionally, sites that copy and re-post our materials fail to check for updates, which results in out-of-date information being offered to users. For that reason, we urge you to link to our resource documents rather than re-posting. If you do re-post, please check back periodically to see if there are revisions.

NIH logo — What is the policy for using the NIH logo?

The NIH logo is designed to signify official NIH products, activities, events, representatives, and facilities. It should never be used to promote or suggest endorsement of non-NIH products, events, or services. It should never be used by outside parties to misrepresent the purpose, character, policies, or mission of our agency. For more information about the NIH logo, contact

Linking to NIH — May I link to the NIH Website?

Unless noted otherwise, it is safe to assume that information posted on public Web sites within the "NIH.GOV" domain are considered to be "in the public domain." As such, you are free to establish links to NIH on-line resources. In establishing such links, we do ask that you avoid creating the impression that NIH is endorsing or promoting any particular product or service.

Links from NIH — Will the NIH link to my Website?

As a Federal agency, NIH cannot endorse or promote commercial or individual interests or services. This includes adding links and logos from non-NIH entities. In some cases, where the information serves the public good and is consistent with our mission, we may include an outside link to an external resource; however, these need to be examined on a case-by-case basis. In general, the web developer of each particular site determines when links to outside entities are justified.

NIH Photographs — Where can I find NIH photographs?

Please visit our Image Gallery.

Health Campaigns — Where can I find information about NIH health campaigns?

A list of Selected NIH Education and Awareness Campaigns is available at

This page last reviewed on May 9, 2024