Pursuing the Mission of NIH

The activities of the NIH are overseen by the Public Health Service, which, in turn, is directed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, the mission, goal, and activities of NIH distinguish it as a unique federation of biomedical research institutes. In pursuit of its broader mission, the specific goal of the NIH is to acquire biomedical knowledge that will enable researchers and practitioners to prevent, control, detect, and treat disease and disability. To achieve this goal, the NIH directs a number of programs and activities, including: (1) conducting research at the facility; (2) supporting scientific explorations of investigators in other settings (e.g., clinical: related to hospitals, clinics, and universities, medical schools, clinical centers) nationwide and internationpatient care ally; (3) providing training for researchers; and (4) fostering the dissemination of medical information. The Office of the Director (OD) sets policy for planning, managing, and coordinating these programs and activities.

Within the OD is the Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis (OLPA). OLPA is responsible for making sure that the results of all of this research inform public policy and public health laws. To this end, the OLPA supervises legislative analysis and policy development, and also acts as a liaison between the NIH and Congress. As a result of the OLPA's participation in congressional hearings, for example, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was authorized in 1993. Consequently, the NIH established the Office of Dietary Supplements to conduct and coordinate research relating to dietary supplements and their impact on the health of the public.

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