Governance and Guidance

The NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM) Initiative is a trans-NIH effort to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and to enhance pain management. HEAL research includes over 20 distinct projects, led by 12 NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs). The ambitious and cross-cutting nature of the initiative requires ongoing input and engagement from experts across disciplines and sectors.


The director leads coordination of HEAL programmatic activities between the Office of the Director and relevant Institutes and Centers, manages the Office of the NIH HEAL InitiativeSM, including HEAL staff, and oversees management of HEAL governance committees. The director reports to the NIH Director.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee, made up of NIH IC Directors supporting the NIH HEAL Initiative, is co-chaired by the NIH Director and the Directors of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It reviews program and funding plans for HEAL research, ensures coordination among the multiple HEAL projects, and considers the input from the external expert advisory groups described below.

Scientific Teams and NIH Program Officials

Based on scientific topics, HEAL research projects are divided into six teams led by NIH scientific leadership and program officials to communicate HEAL research funding and research plans.

External Advisory Groups

HEAL Multi-Disciplinary Working Group

The HEAL Multi-Disciplinary Working Group of external experts in pain and addiction research includes members of the IC advisory councils, scientific, industry, and patient advocacy communities. The working group provides input on findings about HEAL research for consideration by the NIH advisory councils and NIH Institute and Center Directors on the HEAL Executive Committee. The working group engages leaders in the private sector and academic research community, provide a transparent venue for stakeholders and members of the public to discuss HEAL research, and facilitate exchange of scientific information about HEAL projects.

HEAL Partnership Committee

The HEAL Partnership Committee is a subgroup of the Multi-Disciplinary Working Group that assists NIH in the development of new treatments for pain and addiction through HEAL research. The committee generates defined products to assist HEAL research, such as preliminary recommendations on the design of a template application and evaluation dossier for biopharmaceutical and device-based treatments to be tested through new Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network as part of HEAL. Discussions by the committee will be open to the public through videocast and public meetings, and preliminary findings will be shared for consideration by the HEAL Multi-Disciplinary Working Group.


Public Access and Data Sharing Policy

As part of its response to this crisis, NIH intends to maximize the availability of Publications and the sharing of underlying data for NIH-Supported HEAL research projects. Given the urgency of this crisis as highlighted by the declared public health emergency, rapid availability of Publications and the primary data behind them promotes dissemination of new knowledge, enhances reproducibility, and accelerates the ability of researchers to build upon HEAL research to make new discoveries. Read the full policy


This page last reviewed on August 12, 2019