Our Biggest Health Challenges

Thanks to decades of research, Americans are living longer. Yet Chronic diseases still affect large swaths of the population and are unevenly distributed creating health disparities. These chronic illness are common and costly, and many are preventable. NIH Researchers — Basic, Translation, clinical and community based — are tackling these challenges head on.

Heart Disease and Stroke

Heart disease and stroke still the leading causes of death for both U.S. men and women. NIH-funded scientists currently are looking to the power of precision medicine to better understand and manage these disorders.


Cancer is one of our nation’s most feared diseases, with more than 1.6 million new cases diagnosed each year. But thanks to NIH research, this number is now falling. 

Opioid Addiction

NIH-supported research has led to effective strategies that can be implemented right now to save lives and to prevent and treat opioid addiction. 

Infectious Diseases

NIH scientists are working to better understand how microbes develop resistance to antibiotics, finding new diagnostics that can more quickly detect resistance, and finding new antibiotic drugs and vaccines to prevent and treat bacterial infections. 


Diabetes affects 30 million American adults and children. NIH-funded technological advances offer much promise. 

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This page last reviewed on November 16, 2023