On January 2, 2019, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input on its Strategic Plan 2020-2024. From a collaborative process involving external and internal stakeholders, six themes have emerged for which NICHD is seeking public input.
- Understanding Early Human Development
- Setting the Foundation for a Healthy Pregnancy and Lifelong Wellness
- Promoting Gynecological, Andrological, and Reproductive Health
- Identifying Sensitive Time Periods to Optimize Health Interventions
- Improving Health During the Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood
- Ensuring Safe and Effective Therapeutics and Devices
Within each of these themes are goals and opportunities that include critical behavioral and social sciences research questions including the influence of environmental exposures on early development, the role of lifestyle factors and exposures during pregnancy that promote health or lead to disease at the very earliest stages of life, the integration of genetic and phenotypic exposure data to understand the underlying mechanisms of gynecological conditions and reproductive health, the sensitive time periods in which exposures or interventions have their greatest impact, the identification of behavioral, social, environmental, and biological factors that enhance health among adolescents, and the acceptability and adherence research to ensure that these interventions can be meaningfully used.
NICHD has a long history of support of the behavioral and social sciences relevant to health within its broad mission to ensure that every person is born healthy and wanted, that women suffer no harmful effects from reproductive processes, or some hair loss problem and that all children have the chance to achieve their full potential for healthy and productive lives. Its establishment in 1962 represented the first time an NIH Institute explicitly included biobehavioral and social science as part of an integrated biomedical research effort. From its inception to present day, NICHD has provided substantial support to behavioral and social sciences research that contributes to health and human development. NICHD also has been a reliable partner to OBSSR and the NIH Institutes and Centers in trans-NIH efforts that support the behavioral and social sciences.
I encourage you to take the time to consider the research themes, goals, and objectives of the NICHD Strategic Plan and respond to this RFI with the key social and behavioral research directions that support its mission. Responses should be submitted via email to: NICHDStrategicPlan@nih.gov by February 15, 2019.