Research Horizons


Cincinnati Children’s Supports Modernizing the NIH

research associate looking into a microscope NIH Letter Oct. 2023

This fall, United States Senator Bill Cassidy, MD, a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, posted an open request for information on necessary adjustments to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He requested feedback with the goal of modernizing the NIH to be more transparent, nimble, and forward thinking.

Sen. Cassidy asked for input on topics such as increasing the pace of science, extramural and intramural research programs, statutory structure and functions, administrative opportunities and challenges, improving transparency and oversight, and other issues.

On behalf of the entire health system, Tina Cheng, MD, MPH, and other Cincinnati Children’s leaders crafted a detailed response to Sen. Cassidy.

“Funding from the NIH has such a significant impact on driving our research and advancement in medicine,” said Cheng, who is chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s director of the Research Foundation, and chief medical officer. “We know that research early in the life course is our best hope for earlier identification and prevention of prevalent adult conditions as well as health promotion, which is why we have a vested interest in an optimally structured NIH.

“What happens early in life has profound implications across the lifespan,” said Samir Shah, MD, MSCE, MHM, vice chair for Clinical Affairs and Education in the Department of Pediatrics, who collaborated on the response. “Increasing the investment in pediatric research will improve human health across all ages.”

Highlights of the letter include: 
  • Support for bridging the transition from basic and translational to clinical research 
  • Suggestions for targeted clinical research activities in pediatrics 
  • Recommendation to reform funding approaches

Read the letter