We support the inclusion of the following language in the report to accompany the Labor/HHS FY 10 appropriations bill.
“Translational Research has been identified by the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a road map initiative. The committee supports this effort and encourages NIH to integrate such research as a permanent component of the research portfolio of each institute and center. The committee urges NIH to begin discussions to determine how best to facilitate progress in translating existing research findings and to disseminate and integrate these findings at the practice level. Translational research should also include the discovery and application of knowledge within the practice setting using such laboratories as practice-based research networks. This research spans biological systems, patients, and communities, and arises from questions of importance to patients and their physicians, particularly those practicing primary care. The Committee requests that the Director of NIH include a progress update in next year’s Budget Justification.”
Historically, much of the work that has been done at NIH has not been open to the kinds of questions that family medicine researchers have been concerned about – questions that arise from their practices. We are encouraged by the development of the NIH Roadmap and the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA), along with the establishment, in statute, of a funding stream for the common fund that NIH is moving to becoming a more fertile arena for family medicine and other primary care research. However, there are major strides we believe NIH needs to make to ensure that the promise of bench to bedside research truly becomes bench to bedside to community – and back. We were able to achieve report language similar to what is included above, in the Senate FY07 Labor/HHS appropriations bill, to help define the complexity of translational research, but a continuing resolution was passed instead, so that language went no further.
President Obama requested NIH be funded at a level of $32.08 billion. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and the Senate Appropriations Committee both funded NIH at $32 billion, but both Appropriations bills have yet to pass the full House or Senate.